For most of my adult life, I’ve been the tax preparer for my household. It wasn’t a big deal at first: I was a broke college student, and then I was a married broke college student. And then we were a young couple with entry-level jobs. And then we bought a house, and my husband got a job in another state, and we had some investments, and I started a business… and eventually I realized that I was dreading tax season. I spent hours gathering up all of our paperwork and materials, entering everything into TaxAct and TurboTax to double check my work, and reading “helpful” IRS documents. The burden of getting our taxes done hung over me for weeks every year, and even when I finished and sent them in I was still consumed by the worry that I had done something wrong.
Then one year my mother mentioned her accountant in passing, and I asked for the contact info. Getting my taxes done was a revelation! It took less than two hours of my time altogether, and I didn’t have to worry about anything. I just grabbed the paperwork the accountant asked for, handed it over, and let her handle the rest. The money I spent was nothing compared to the time and stress I saved.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to let business tasks creep up on you in the same way my taxes crept up on me. Without a staff, you have to do everything yourself: sales, marketing, bookkeeping, production… it may be doable when you’re starting out, but it adds up quickly.
You may already be outsourcing your financial tasks. The penalties for not doing your taxes, or not doing them right, are all too clear. But are you treating the rest of the business with the same respect? Or are you counting dimes and missing out on dollars?
If you want your business to grow, you have to focus on what you do best. That’s where you make your money. If you try to handle every aspect of the business on your own, you’re sure to burn out sooner rather than later. The key to keeping your sanity is selectively outsourcing the part of your business that are the most time-consuming and the least pleasant. Hate office tasks? Hire a virtual assistant. Want to add staff and cover your bases legally? Get a couple of hours of consulting time with a freelance HR consultant. Need to get the phones ringing and the customers coming through the doors? Find yourself a copywriter or a small-business marketing firm.
Is there a task in your business that you’ve been putting off and off and off because you dread doing it? Time to tap into your network and find someone who would love to get it done for you. Once you realize how much more freedom to focus on your core business outsourcing can give you, I promise you’ll never look back.