The Sweet Tea Effect: A Case for Outsourcing…

Did the title freak you out? No, we’re not advocating for the mass departure of American business to countries where costs are cheaper. Right Column believes that small businesses are the backbone of the nation and we want to do everything we can to support small business owners. So what are we talking about when we say “outsourcing?”

Imagine a nice glass of sweet tea. (It’s August and Right Column is based in Hotlanta, GA!
Sweet tea is being sold by the tanker-loads this time of year! Okay, back to our word picture…) So you’ve got a nice, icy glass of sweet tea and you’re sitting outside on the back porch watching the kids play on a hot summer evening. The kids notice that you’ve got a cold drink and come running. They each grab a straw out of the glass jar of straws (that just so happens to be right next to your glass) and start chugging away… before you know it, you’re refreshing beverage is all gone and you’re left parched on the back porch.

Now, it’s a silly word picture, but the point here is simple. There’s only so much tea in the glass and the more straws that go in, the faster the tea is gone.

It’s the same with your priceless time and energy as a small business owner. There are only twenty-four hours in a day and only seven days in a week. You own a business because you’re an expert in something– HVAC? Hair Styling? Landscaping? Restaurant? Insurance?

Each day, you start with a full glass of energy and time.

Each task on your list– or the unexpected ones that pop up– are straws in your glass.

There’s only so much in the glass.

Do you wake up in the morning thinking, “I can’t wait to work on the books. Payroll is the best!” What about, “This week, I’m going to build a kickin’ website!” We know you live for checking on the security of your website and network– admit it. Okay, probably not. You started your business to do what you do well, not to get bogged down in all of the necessary evils.

The good news is that there are other small businesses, just like you, that are available to make your life easier. You don’t have to be a web designer, an IT specialist, or an accountant. You can outsource those tasks for much cheaper than you can hire someone to do it and, often times, get a higher quality of service. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation:

Jamie runs a barber shop. His father ran a barber shop. His grandfather ran a barber shop. His family cuts hair. That’s what they do– and they do it well. What they do not do well is bookkeeping. Purchasing invoices, receipts, etc. pile up and at the end of each month, Jamie spends hours trying to sift through it all. It means late nights and the loss of personal time because it can’t interfere with barber shop hours. Jamie considers hiring someone part-time to handle the bookkeeping, but hiring someone thoroughly qualified to work a part-time job is tough– and expensive, plus it means managing someone who is not a barber. Jamie just wants to run his barber shop. 

Here’s an opportunity to outsource. Jamie can hire a company to manage his bookkeeping for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a part-time worker. But that’s not the only benefit. Jamie now has access to accounting experts who can help him manage his company’s finances so effectively that his business thrives. Jamie has his nights and personal time back and loves what he does even more. 

When you’re an entrepreneur, spending your hard-earned money can be difficult. But you have to ask yourself what your time is worth. Are there companies out there who can help you to have more time to do what you do best? If you find yourself answering “yes” to this question, connect with your local Chamber of Commerce. They can help you find the resources you need.

If you read Jamie’s story and saw yourself in it, Right Column is here to help you. We offer an array of financial services, from bookkeeping to CFO-level insight, with the goal of helping small business owners keep their focus on what they do best.  Connect with us if you’d like to learn more about how Right Column can come alongside you to grow your business.

Addendum: My kids saw the glass of tea I used for the picture and had it drained in 15 seconds. 

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The Pricelessness of Rest

Small business owners are the hardest workers in America. They work tirelessly and oftentimes thanklessly, all for the sake of the people they serve. Plumbers, Landscapers, Hairdressers, Restaurateurs… these folks make the world go round. But they are also some of the most exhausted people in America, thus, the old adage, “No rest for the weary.”

But there must be rest for the small business owner. There must be opportunities for respite, refreshment, and reinvigoration. If not, burn out will come nipping at your heels. But there are other important reasons to take the time to rest.

Reflection

Without taking the time to rest, an entrepreneur will not have the opportunity (or the bandwidth!) to reflect on the successes and failures of the past. When your nose stays fixed to the grindstone, successes go un-celebrated. This is okay in the short-run, but long-term, it’s unhealthy to push so hard that you never take a moment to revel in your success. In the same vein, if you’re working ceaselessly with your head down, you might not realize that there are more effective and efficient ways to do things. Reflection is essential and reflection can only be done in tandem with rest.

Reverie

Dreams are the fuel of the entrepreneur. Without rest, there can be no dreams. Don’t let yourself get so exhausted that you lose the ability to dream.

While it may seem like a waste of time when there is so much to do, rest is not only essential for you to maintain balance in your life, it is the key to the success of your business.

Photo Credit:
Brian A Jackson/Thinkstock

Crisis Planning

 

Every small business should have a crisis plan.

You carefully cultivate your customers. You painstakingly select your suppliers. You engage with the community and make every effort to differentiate yourself from your competition. You’re focused, tenacious, and determined. Yet, all your hard work could be ruined overnight when disaster strikes. Tornadoes, floods, and other calamities derail companies all over the United States. The Institute for Business and Home Safety estimates that 25% of small businesses close within two years of a disaster.* Don’t be a statistic. A strategy for the unexpected is essential! Consider these four factors as you make your plan: Continue reading “Crisis Planning”

Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part IV

As discussed in Part I, Part II, and Part III of this series, growing a business is like flying an airplane. No matter how naturally talented you are or how brilliant your business concept is, everyone must take the time to be educated. The successful are those who follow instructions. In the last post, we considered the value of the right team.

If you’ve happened upon this post and are in the early stages of starting your company, I encourage you to start at the beginning of this series. If you have already started your company, but find yourself floundering, there might be some good insight for you, as well. Everyone benefits for a “wellness check” so take the time to read these short posts and check where you and your business are in the process. Today, we discuss the best part—flying!Training

Continue reading “Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part IV”

Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part III

As discussed in Part I and Part II of this series, growing a business is like flying an airplane. No matter how naturally talented you are or how brilliant your business concept is, you must take the time to be educated. In the words of the great 20th Century sage, Bill Nye, Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.Bill-Nye

If you’ve happened upon this post and are in the early stages of starting your company, I encourage you to start at the beginning of this series. If you have already started your company, but find yourself floundering, there might be some good insight for you, as well.  Today, we discuss taking off. Continue reading “Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part III”

Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part II

As discussed in Part I of this series, growing a business is like flying an airplaneProverb. Again, no matter how naturally talented you are or how brilliant your business concept is, you must take the time to be learn and grow. An age-old Chinese proverb states, It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.

If you’ve happened upon this post and are in the early stages of starting your company, I encourage you to start at the beginning of this series. If you have already started your company, but find yourself floundering, there might be some good insight for you, as well. Today, we discuss getting on the right path. Continue reading “Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part II”

Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part I

Launching Your Business: The Airplane Principle—Part I

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Have you ever flown an airplane? It’s an exhilarating experience, but not without complications. It takes time to learn. This is no place for impulsivity. Gut instincts, yes, but not knee-jerk reactions. In many ways, growing a business is like flying an airplane.

Successful entrepreneurs are those who take the time to learn from others. In the words of author, Malcolm Gladwell, No one—not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, not even geniuses – ever makes it alone. No matter how naturally talented you are or how brilliant your business concept is, everyone needs guidance and benefits from the experience of others who’ve gone before them.  Continue reading “Launching Your Business: Airplane Principle- Part I”