Hands up if you want to grow your business but you don’t want to find yourself working crazy hours just to pay for all those back office costs – the receptionist, bookkeepers, filing clerk, etc. How many times have you seen your friends and colleagues run a profitable solopreneur business only to find their profit drop when they grow their business?
Then you look at the work that HAS if you want to grow your business.
As a business owner, you KNOW that you have to have a social media presence. You know you’re supposed to post interesting content and connect with your audience on your FB page. You KNOW you have to get online. You KNOW you have to keep proper records – it’s a task you dread and you keep putting it off. You KNOW you have to look after your customers and put in place a referral system. You are wondering just where you will find the time to do all this ON TOP of doing the productive work that will actually pay for all this.
You want to grow your business but you’re getting put off by the amount of money you have to invest in your back office. Yet, you KNOW you can’t do it all yourself.
A good bookkeeper is not cheap. Cheap bookkeepers fall into the penny wise, pound foolish category. There is almost always an inverse relationship between the rate you pay for your bookkeeper and your end of year accounting fee. I had a client once who absolutely refused to pay for experienced bookkeeper – so he didn’t. He paid dearly for this – there was one year when we found an $80,000 cash shortfall that he didn’t even know about. The bookkeeper was not trained to recognise such problems and by the time we got to his books, it was a whole year later. He couldn’t understand why he was really busy and yet he was always short of cash! The stupid thing was that he ended up paying us nearly $15,000 to find that error (We obviously charged qualified professional qualified accountants rates, not bookkeeper rates). So the question is … did he save any money by having cheap bookkeepers? I think you would have to agree with me – the answer is NO.
It’s the same thing with social media. Anybody can get online and do some posting on their Facebook or Linkedin or Instagram. Anybody can set up a website. But not everybody will get it right. When I first started on this, I just got it totally wrong. Nothing I did got me any traction. Sure, you might say, what would a 62-year-old Chinese lady know about the internet. I have, on and off, been followed online marketing since 2006. In internet terms, I’m probably an ANTIQUE 🙂 !
When online marketing started years ago, people were just randomly creating posts with certain keywords to get a top rank in Google. Marketing gurus were offering to teach you how to get to the top of Google within 24 hours. Techies were coming out with software that would spam for backlinks. BUT the industry has now matured. Google and Facebook came out with new algorithms that punished those who used bots to do their work. Today, content is king. The fact is content has always been king. It’s just that Google is now a lot fussier about what constitutes good content. SEO is still important but it is no longer done the way it was done in 2006. Today, the WAY it should be done matters. The old “get to the top of Google in 24 hours” just doesn’t really work anymore. It’s not just about putting up some random posts.
The answer is systems and outsourcing!
That’s easier said than done. Don’t you hate it when someone tells you that you just have to implement systems but they don’t show you HOW. Or they tell you to outsource but they don’t give you a recommendation or teach you HOW to find a great virtual assistance (VA). Then those who stand to lose your work or lose their job will sow F.U.D. (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt). If you boil it all down, it comes down to just four things:
- You fear the loss of control.
- You feel you cannot justify having a full-time VA.
- You believe its too hard to do this
- You can’t trust your records to someone you have never met
All of these are just F.U.Ds. Let’s face it – you never really had “control” even with your local bookkeeper or digital marketer that you meet up with. You hand over your work and they return it to you. Did you stand over them and watch them do it? Probably not. Most VA’s will work on a needs basis – you don’t have to have a full-time VA (although we do!). Trust me … it’s not hard to find a VA (I’ll explain how I found mine further down). Trust is the hardest to overcome but not impossible to do.
You’ll be surprised how much of the mundane back-office work today can be automated by making use of online tools. Today, automation takes care of most of my back office. What used to require a person to manually input the data into your CRM (Client Relationship Management) system can now be done automatically with software – with a lot less mistakes! Even referral systems can be automated with templated letters sent out on your behalf without any need for YOUR intervention and your valuable time. Growing your business can now be automated if you know WHICH online tools can be used. Yes, there will be a time cost to set up the automation – but it’s worth every single minute of your time. Do it once and forget about it. I had so many clients ask me about what I use that I ended up writing a book on it. You can grab a FREE COPY while it’s still free.
As for the VA, our wonderful Digital Marketer, Andrew Teoh, came to us via Linkedin and our bookkeepers via referral from our Digital Marketer. If you start your search in Linkedin, narrowed down your possibilities through the same process that you would go through for any recruitment i.e. you ask for their resume. You interview them, get a reference and you make your assessment from there. At Equipped 4 Success, we also have them do a DISC psychometric profile assessment, we ask for a sample of their work and we set them a small test to complete. This can be something like getting them to produce a marketing strategy report for a product. You make sure you have a probation period and you monitor all their work. One of the biggest mistakes people make when appointing a VA is they don’t go through this “recruitment” process. Let’s face it – how many have used sites such as Fiverr that promote fairly cheap VAs and the work they received was next to useless? You can, of course, get a very good VA from there. However, the good ones are very busy and you may have to wait 2-3 weeks to get your job done.
I would have to say it’s been the best thing we did and I have never regretted it. I’ve introduced this to my own clients too. And they LOVE it as well. Don’t just take it from me, hear it from the horse’s mouth. My clients are now finding that they actually have time to work ON their business. They’re no longer running around trying to do everything. You’ve heard the saying, owning your own business means you get to CHOOSE WHICH 60 hours a week you work. Now you can CHOOSE to work fewer hours and use the time you have to focus on your own productivity and grow your business. Get your life back!
If you would like us to introduce you to our bookkeepers and our digital marketers, just go ahead and complete this form and I’ll get back to you. How much longer do you want to keep running around like a headless chook. Grow your business, don’t grow your back office!