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When you first started running your own business, you probably had visions of it just being you, with no boss looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do. As time has gone on, however, you have found that you need to get other people involved, and might even have become a ‘boss’ yourself.
Either way, the focus and responsibility have always been on you, and you might have found that what is required in new situations goes way beyond your level of skills and experience. When this happens, you can either try and muddle through yourself or, more intelligently, leave it to the experts.
Software problems and disputes
Regardless of what your business does, there is very little chance that it does not rely on devices and software to get at least some of the job done. That means when they do go wrong, you can have a catastrophic failure on your hands that can cost you serious amounts of money and damage your reputation and relationship with your customers. Examining why it went wrong and who is to blame is going to leave you well out of your depth, so it is time to bring in a software failure expert.
These are people with the knowledge you lack who can sift through highly technical problems like these and let you know who was at fault. This way, you will be ideally placed to get the reparations you need from the software manufacturers, whether it be in the form of a payout or explaining to your customers to prove it was them and not you who was at fault. Should you continue to use that piece of software, you will also know what to watch out for in the future to decrease the chances of it ever happening again.
General IT support
While IT support would have been of very little use in that particular situation, they are all but essential for most other types of IT problems. You might currently be the IT ‘go-to’ person for your business, but there is a good chance that if you carry on that way, you will be swamped pretty quickly. The continual upgrading and improvement of the tech you use, even for a non-tech business, will quickly outstrip what somebody can learn part-time, and you could well find yourself spending more time sorting out problems with your equipment than using it.
This is before you even start looking at the extra tech you need if you are hiring people who will be working for you remotely or on a hybrid basis. Outsourcing all of this is not just a weight off your shoulders, but it could have you getting better solutions faster than before. You are also likely to receive guidance about migrating to the cloud and other important areas of the IT domain as well.
You might have also been trying to take care of cybersecurity as well as the rest of IT, meaning that your current level of coverage is likely to be classed by any sort of expert as ‘not enough’. This is taking the future of your business into your hands, and a decent-sized attack could mean the end for your business overnight. Never think that you are not big enough to bother with, as most cyberattacks happen to small businesses just like yours. If the financial cost to your business does not finish you off straight away, the damage to your reputation will see you off shortly after.
You might get extra help from your IT support and information on upgrading any antivirus measures you have and a firewall. They can also provide all-important end-user education, which will teach both you and anyone who works for you about phishing scams and the threats you see every day that are easily avoidable with a little prior knowledge.
HR and Payroll
This is another area where you should not be attempting to cover all the bases yourself. If you have more than two or three people working for you, especially if they are experiencing issues you are not likely to encounter yourself, you will need help. For just a few people, the first step is to use software packages to fill the gaps in your knowledge and do some of the repetitive tasks like payroll, which can have a huge effect on morale if there is a mistake.
When you expand beyond that, it is almost certainly time to hire in an HR professional or outsource the whole thing to an expert service provider. Either way, your staff will be getting the support they need, which will positively affect their morale, their mental well-being and improve their performance at work.
When you first started, on-the-job training may have consisted of showing your new hire what you did so they could repeat it. Now your business has branched out, a little more extra training is needed to cover so many more aspects of office or manufacturing life. To begin with, you will have a large amount of health and safety information to impart, including issues with manual handling or using screens all day, depending on your type of business.
You can’t cover all of this yourself. While the software will probably again be your first port of call, you should also seriously consider getting in an outside trainer – especially for specialist training like customer service. Investing in training might seem like an unnecessary expense, but having trained staff normally brings benefits in increased morale and less unplanned downtime due to equipment misuse.
Social media marketing
There is no doubting the importance of using social media as a marketing tool, but you do need to be doubting because it has to be you doing it. With so many platforms to consider, you could spend all day creating content and still not cover all the ground you want. There is also nothing to say that the content you are creating is the right type, or being posted on the right platforms at the right times.
Outsourcing your social media output can be one of your wiser decisions, even if you create one piece of content like a video. Let an agency chop, shape, and repurpose it to make it more effective for its posted platform. You might quickly find that instead of looking at stats and trends you don’t understand, you can leave it to somebody who knows what they are doing, and you are likely to get better results in half the time or less.
To wrap everything up
Setting up and running your business can be hard, but knowing when to let go of some of the key areas and leave it to the experts can be even harder. This is especially true in many of the technical parts of your business that have moved on a pace in recent years and where a failure can have major consequences.
You should also look at HR and training so you are not letting the people who work for you down by making sure they have the right support and career progression they need to stay with you for years to come. It can even be in some areas of marketing, which you might have seen as your strong point, but again has moved faster than your ability to keep up.
Once you decide to leave these tasks to the experts, you will see almost instant benefits, the first of which will be that you are left with enough time to start running your own business again.