Look, sis, we all know that running a small business takes a lot of funds, and it’s tempting to cut the costs where you can. But, it’s also important to know that taking a do-it-yourself approach to the big things isn’t really free. Instead, if you try to DIY the tasks that keep your business running, this can actually cost you quite a lot in terms of your own stress, a unified brand image, missed opportunities, and sometimes even late fees!
Here’s a breakdown of the consequences that you’ll be facing when you don’t budget or obtain capital for these common business expenses:
A Bookkeeper or Accountant
Bookkeeping involves keeping track of your business’s financial transactions and obligations (sales, receipts, payroll, client payments, taxes) on a day-to-day basis. While you can use software like QuickBooks or Xero to manage some of your bookkeeping, it’s definitely worth bringing on a professional.
The benefits of having a bookkeeper or accountant: your finances are well-organized and up to date, your employees are paid on time, your taxes are done correctly, and you can focus on making sales instead of recording them!
The consequences of not having a bookkeeper or accountant: you spend your own valuable time trying to organize and manage the business’s finances, risk doing your taxes incorrectly, and may even lose track of important payment schedules.
Need a black woman accountant? Check out PPG Accounting.
Having an assistant means someone who can take on the day-to-day tasks, like greeting customers, answering incoming emails and phone calls, scheduling meetings, and managing social media profiles. If your business is mostly online, you may want to consider a virtual assistant hired through a freelance platform like Upwork. Or, if you sell a product or service from a storefront, consider hiring an assistant to manage the front desk.
The benefits of having an assistant: your customers receive quick and professional answers to their questions, your schedule is clear and well-organized, and your social media engagement is good as all mentions of your brand are monitored.
The consequences of not having an assistant: you get bogged down in the details of every decision, time and energy gets wasted as you bounce between small things and the bigger picture, and important items fall through the cracks as you try to juggle it all.
Need a black woman assistant? Check out FocusVBS.
A Project Manager
The project manager has to be one of the most overlooked positions in a micro-business if I ever saw one. The project manager’s job is to handle specific projects within your company, managing the drafting, budgeting, workflow, documentation, and delivery. Project management is especially important if you’re aiming for wholesale or government contracts, which are the big money-makers – you need to make sure that you deliver these projects on time, and that what you’re delivering meets your client’s requirements. And while project management software can be helpful, an experienced project manager can’t be beat, even for small businesses.
The benefits of having a project manager: your contracts are completed correctly, on time, and under budget, while your overall productivity and business reputation also improve.
The consequences of not having a project manager: you may miss important deadlines, leave out critical requirements, or even fail to deliver projects entirely.
Need a black woman project manager? Check out Agilize.
A Communications and Digital Marketing Manager
In an increasingly digital world, communications and digital marketing are critical for the success of your small business. You need to reach people online, and you need to reach them quickly before they move on to your competitors’ businesses instead. Communications will help your employees understand the goals of your business and how to reach them, while digital marketing will ensure that you reach customers looking for the type of products or services you offer.
The benefits of having a communications/digital marketing manager: your employees have a deep understanding of your brand image and how their work fits into it, your business’s online presence is cohesive and attractive, and your digital marketing drives traffic and prospect conversion.
The consequences of not having a communications/digital marketing manager: your employees don’t know how their work impacts the larger business image, your online presence is scattered or doesn’t drive sales, and you waste your time and money trying to figure out these important processes as you go.
Need a black woman digital marketing firm? Check out Seg Media.
A Graphic Designer
Smart, effective graphic design is needed for your business logo, marketing collateral, branding, and more, which is particularly important for a small business. If you want your business to stand out and present a unique but unified brand image, then it is more than worth your time to bring in a professional graphic designer.
The benefits of having a graphic designer: you will create a good first impression on prospective customers and your brand image will be recognizable among your competitors.
The consequences of not having a graphic designer: you waste a lot of your own time trying to create a brand image that may not be recognizable to customers, and what you create might not look good across the different formats you’ll need to use it in.
Need a black woman graphic designer? Check out Payne Creative.
A Web Maintenance Professional
It’s not an exaggeration to say that your business literally depends on your website: at least 86% of customers search for local businesses online. With this and so much more riding in your website, it’s important to have one that looks good and is easy to use on all kinds of screens, and hiring a professional can take the stress out of this process.
The benefits of having a web maintenance professional: your website will be responsive and useable on phones, tablets, and desktops alike, and it will be kept up to date on all the latest technology developments. It will also work in tandem with your digital marketing campaigns and social media presence.
The consequences of not having a web maintenance professional: you may have to learn several new sets of skills from scratch, your website may not load fast enough, work well or look professional and as a result, you’ll lose prospects to your competitors.
Need a black woman web designer with a maintenance plan? Check out Creative Yadley.
Insurance is important because it protects your business, and you, from unexpected incidents and their costs. If a natural disaster or accident damages your office space or equipment, then having insurance may be the only way to bounce back. If you have employees other than yourself, you are also legally required to provide workers’ compensation and disability insurance, which business insurance can cover.
The benefits of having business insurance: you will have a safety net in case of incidents beyond your control, can cover for various liabilities, and protect your business’s image by providing for yourself, your employees, and your customers.
The consequences of not having business insurance: any type of incident or damage can completely destroy your business and even harm your own personal assets. You could lose government or corporate contract opportunities that require proof of business insurance.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
A CRM system will help you keep better track of your business and customers, including business contacts, leads, prospects, and more. This is a much easier option than searching your email inbox – or your memory! – for the details before every important business conversation.
The benefits of having a CRM: you can keep track of customer interactions and contracts, boost your sales, and improve both internal workflows and customer support.
The consequences of not having a CRM: you might forget to follow up on important conversations, forget whether you’ve reached out to a prospective business partner before, and lose important information on business contacts.
Need a Black woman CRM specialist? Try FocusVBS.
Your business will need documentation, while your website and social media presence will need copy, or writing that explains your business and drives sales. So good copywriting is critical, and you’ll need it in many areas of your business.
The benefits of having a copywriter: your products and services will be explained clearly and attractively to prospective customers, your online presence will show up high in search results thanks to effective SEO, and your business documents will be clear, concise, and professional.
The consequences of not having a copywriter: prospects might not understand what you offer or why they should buy from you, and your brand image may suffer from unprofessional or inadequate press.
A Business Attorney
Your intellectual property (IP) includes the unique ideas that drive your business, while contracts are legal documents that stipulate what your business will provide and your customers will receive. To succeed in business, you must make sure that your IP is protected and your contracts are clear, accurate, and legally binding, and a business attorney can help you with all of this and more.
The benefits of hiring a business attorney: you can rest assured that your ideas won’t be stolen, that your contracts cover all the bases, and that you’re in compliance with all relevant state and federal regulations.
The consequences of not hiring a business attorney: you may run into issues with contracts, overlook important regulations for your industry, and lack an important resource for advice if you run into any legal difficulties.
A Data Professional
Having a data professional set up your company’s data dashboards and systems can be a game changer. Knowing where and how to track and measure your revenues, digital marketing analytics and lead generation metrics is key. You may not be able to hire a permanent employee, but getting help with your data setup looks like having someone come in and set up dashboards and systems for collecting data.
The benefits of hiring a data professional: you can easily get to your numbers and know how the business is performing real time. You can host data meetings with a team, share data with investors and partners and drive team performance.
The consequences of not hiring a data professional: you may struggle to track your business metrics, know your numbers, set goals and strategize. Ultimately, your business could struggle to grow and succeed without successful tracking of data.
A Business Coach
No matter what stage your business is at, a business coach can make you work harder and progress faster than you would on your own. From helping you with your most complex decision points to helping expand your network, a business coach can help you strategize, analyze, problem-solve, set and keep goals.
The benefits of hiring a business coach: you can avoid pitfalls and major mistakes and reduce your learning curve as an entrepreneur and you can find resources or strategies that you did not know about.
The consequences of not hiring a business coach: you can lose sight of your big picture and business goals. Time will fly and you may let critical milestones go incomplete. You can get so swept away with putting out fires and working IN the business, that you forget to work ON the business.
Need a Black woman business coach? Try Sistahbiz!
Depending on the size of your business and the industry you operate in, it may also pay to hire an operations manager who will perform high-level HR tasks and oversee the company’s internal processes, or maybe a Facebook ads specialist who will work with your digital marketing manager to make sure you get the biggest possible return on Facebook ads. You also want to consider what type of professional development or training on the use of technology that you’ve purchased to ensure that you optimize your investments in technology. Finally, if you’re the only one that can service customers, you’ll never grow and you’ll never be free. Start thinking about ways to find your freedom and hire a high performance staff.
Most of these roles and expenses come down to giving you the time, energy, and headspace you need to focus on the bigger picture of your business. So if you’re trying to DIY for any of these areas, and it feels like you’re so swamped you can’t make progress, then you should make it your business to become bankable and work to access the capital you need to fuel your business and succeed!
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