As the owner of a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME), you are undoubtedly proud that you can probably turn your hand to anything and everything, from bookkeeping to sales and marketing and customer services. If you want your company to grow, however, you need to step aside and allow in experts such as Finance Directors and HR Managers.
Although being a Jack or Jill of all Trades is often essential for a fledgeling company’s survival, owners who continue to take on all roles can end up costing their business dearly in the long run.
Think about it: if you’re performing a vast array of roles in areas such as customer service, operations, human resources, and finance, you probably won’t have the time or energy to look at the ‘big picture’.
Business owners who get bogged down being the Jack or Jill of all trades become so consumed by the daily minutiae they lose focus on identifying new business opportunities or on developing strategic relationships.
They get trapped doing tasks that don’t make the best use of their skillsets or time. Many of those tasks are ones that others are often better qualified to carry out.
Their days can be wasted in ‘fire-fighting’ activities rather than ways to expand the company. They can end up fixing mistakes rather than building the business.
Often, they don’t see the lagging signs that indicate it’s time to hire others to take care of the company’s day-to-day operations. By the time they do realise, it may be too late. The business may be stagnating or worse.
It’s critical to anticipate the next stage of company growth before you reach it. That way, you can calculate ahead of time the experts you will need and take steps to engage them.
Leaders with strategic focus, for example, will take on an Operations Manager to oversee production (or the provision of services), so they are free to focus on the company’s next stage of growth. That allows them to spot opportunities that others don’t see.
Stop shooting yourself in the foot
Thinking and continuing to act as if you’re running a small business can hamper your company’s progress.
For example, let’s say you want to attract top salespeople but rather than getting advice on an enticing and competitive benefits package from an HR professional with experience in recruitment, you decide to ‘save money’ by asking your accountant for suggestions.
You might not realise the recommended benefit package comes up short compared with those being offered by your competitors. There is then a risk your offer won’t attract your ideal sales candidates (because they have been much more attractive benefit packages from your competitors).
So what seemed like a short-term saving—getting advice from someone who isn’t an HR expert—will cost your firm dearly.
Using the services of an HR consultant for specific recruitment projects will increase your company’s likelihood of attracting top candidates.
Likewise, you might think you can save money by creating your own website, but unless you have website design expertise, it will be a costly mistake. Much better to hire a professional web developer and save money and time.
The same applies to IT. You’re unlikely to be able to resolve your company’s computer or network challenges without expert help. Hiring an IT expert to do the job on your behalf will save your company time and money.
Some business owners believe they’ll save money by using accounting software to prepare their tax returns rather than pay for an accountant to do it on their behalf.
Yes, they will save money initially, but lose big time in the long run. That’s because the software cannot provide the benefits that an actual accountant will bring, such as advice on tax relief.
That’s why the value companies receive from an accountant will often far exceed the cost of a consultation.
Access experts for less
But how can your growing SME get access to expert advice if the company can’t afford full-time hires?
One of the best ways is to hire consultants on a part-time or on an as-needed basis. You pay the consultants a fee or a monthly retainer for their services.
Why hiring a part-time Finance Director is cost-effective
Take a part-time Finance Director (FD), for example. You can access his or her wealth of knowledge and experience to help with a specific project or an ongoing basis at a fraction of the cost of employing a full-time FD. An FD can help your company to save money in other areas of the business, reduce risk, stay compliant, plan for the future and manage the company’s growth.
Your part-time FD can help you with crucial areas of the business such as:
- Managing the finance function
- Improving cash flow
- Establishing budget reviews and forecasts
- Introducing monthly KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- Establishing processes to create monthly management reports
- Liaising with external advisors
- Raising equity or debt finance
- Moving into new markets
- Exit planning
- Creating tax efficiencies
- Managing relationships with banks and other lending institutions as well as stakeholders and investors
- Managing risk
- Ensuring legal compliance.
Your company will benefit from your part-time FD’s expertise for a fraction of the cost of employing a full-time FD.
So if you want to accelerate your company’s growth, don’t fall into the trap so many other business owners do. Use experts on a part-time basis and you’ll receive the guidance and help you need to grow your company successfully.