Do you still remember the precise moment the idea came to you to start your own business? Do you remember the passion, the energy, and the excitement?
Then, the idea became a reality.
Suddenly, you found yourself swimming in a complex world that was never a part of that vision but now seems to have become your new life. There’s all the legal complexity involved with incorporating your business and figuring out contracts. Then, taxes – oh, the taxes! You never wanted to become the world’s foremost expert in QuickBooks, but suddenly you feel like that should be front-and-center on your resume. And the insane mess of web design and marketing – that’s not why you started this business, or how you want to spend all your time! It was a mess of stuff that you never considered yourself good at and didn’t want to be doing in the first place.
But you rolled up your sleeves and did it because you were willing to do whatever it takes to bring your vision into reality. And that’s what it takes to make a fledgling small business succeed, right? You didn’t have enough money to pay for the luxury of hiring others to do this stuff for you. So, “DIY’ing” your back-end operational tasks were your only realistic option, whether you wanted to or not, and whether you were good at this stuff or not. Right?
WHY YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO GROW YOUR OWN GROCERIES
In essence, you were trying to grow your own groceries. Enticed by the logic that water is free and seeds only cost pennies, you set out on a career of farming to grow all the metaphorical food you saw that your business would need to eat to live. You never had farmed before, and that wasn’t really what you wanted to be doing with your time – but a business has to eat, right?
And yet, when you come home, this logic seems to fall apart. You don’t come home to a house you built yourself, then get busy milking your cows and tending to your crops. You buy your groceries from a grocery store just like the rest of us. Why? Because you’re not a farmer. And while you surely could learn that skill and grow your own garden, you’ve somehow done the math in your head to prove that it’s not worth it. In other words, you intuitively knew that the true cost of growing your own food is higher than the prices you pay at the grocery store.
And your intuition is right.
What your home-applicable logic has intuitively discovered that many small-business owners fail to apply to their business is the most critical component to your cost-benefit equation – the value of your time.
You see, every minute you spend trying to “grow your own groceries” is a minute not only spent away from your family, but also a minute you can’t spend working a job that may pay you more than the cost to buy those same groceries from a local store. And every minute you have your head buried in the books trying to figure out payroll taxes for yourself is a minute you can’t be doing something that adds a lot more value to your business than the cost of a $10-$15 per hour bookkeeper who lives and breathes that stuff for a living.
That’s the difference between cheap and efficient.
And that’s why trying to DIY every aspect of your business is one of the costliest mistakes you can make. Instead, the path to profitability for most small businesses requires five essential experts that almost always return value well in excess of their cost.
THE FRACTIONAL C-SUITE
More small businesses are employing a creative new strategy of hiring a “Fractional C-Suite.” As they realize the value of these high-level positions, they outsource them to experts who can fulfill key tasks in half the time of a full-time executive.
Fractional COO: You started your business because you’re an expert at what your company does – not because you have an MBA from Harvard. But what if you had both? What if you had all the power of your specialized expertise and vision, blended with the power of a seasoned operations expert with decades of experience starting and growing companies across various industries? That’s precisely the vision of the operations experts at Agents of Efficiency. Agents of Efficiency’s COOs work with small-business owners to help identify the best business strategy to rapidly increase their profits and regain their time. Then, they work with you, the small-business owner, to build out the rest of the Fractional C-Suite and bring in experts to actually execute on that vision. Expert strategy & execution – available to small businesses at a price point that would have been unheard of, a few years ago.
Fractional CLO: Think you can’t afford a high-priced attorney to make sure your corporate formation and tax strategy is on point and your contracts are solid? Think again. In addition to DIY resources like Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer, companies like Priori Legal are changing the small business law game and filling out this critical role of the Fractional C-Suite with shocking efficiency.
Fractional CFO: Everyone has a tax accountant. And a vast majority of small businesses use QuickBooks, but for nothing more than a receipt repository. What if you used it instead as an analytical tool to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which you measure success in your company? Better yet, what if you used a trained expert to do it for you, rather than continue to fight with your own bookkeeping and financial metrics? Companies like InDinero are changing what it means for small businesses to “have an accountant.”
Fractional CHRO: Your time is too valuable to be wasting it fighting with payroll and trying to navigate complex HR regulations. But, by joining with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like Justworks, another company becomes the “Employer of Record” for your employees in the eyes of the IRS. Not only do you never have to worry about any of these employment-related headaches ever again, but you’ll now have access to things like group healthcare benefits and a 401(k) that would have been cost-prohibitive to pursue without this type of system. And the low cost for all this might shock you.
Fractional CMO: If you have a physical storefront, getting your name out there may not seem like rocket science. But if you’re lost in the weeds of trying to navigate social media marketing and digital marketing strategy – inbound vs. outbound marketing, brand strategy, SEO, PPC, business collateral, etc. – there are great resources to help without breaking the bank. Companies like The Marketers Table can get you started with a powerful brand and marketing strategy. Then you can use resources like Upwork to find people to cost-effectively execute on that strategy over the long term.
Your Fractional C-Suite should serve as a profit center for your business. But, changing technology and trends have removed the barriers for building out your C-Suite in ways that simply weren’t possible before. If they aren’t returning benefits in excess of their costs, remove them from your team.
By creating this team, this will be the year that you stop growing your own groceries and start enjoying your business more than you ever have before.