By Deborah Wroe
My dream is to build my own eco house. No, you won’t see me on Grand Designs soon. 1) my design is not that grand and 2) I’m camera shy – no really I am. My job has always been to put others in the spotlight whilst I hover in the background and I’m not about to go changing that.
Anyway I have a tool belt – it was my favourite Christmas present last year as clearly it’s a must have for any self respecting self builder. Ahem, no. Self build does not mean donning your tool belt and actually getting stuck in. Self build (usually) just means starting from scratch and not buying ready made. I’m very handy at DIY and even built a small (slightly wonky) wall at my last house but I’m no builder. I’m also no architect. I have designed my house, it’s really nice and I’m really pleased with it but I’m honestly not sure the second floor has anything to hold it up. No, when I finally find some land I’m going to call in the experts and speak with an architect. Same goes for plastering, windows, bricklaying, electricians etc. I can do my research and choose my suppliers but I can’t build the flipping thing.
Why am I blathering on about my eco dream house when I could and should be starting a whole new blog about the project? Good question.
Small businesses and start ups in particular are guilty of trying to be all things to all people. MD, creative, accountant, sales, cleaner, HR. Can you really do it all and do it all well? No. You need to know which bits to outsource and when. Money is tight yes but it can be cost effective to outsource to pros.
Some scenarios, and some brief responses…
“We tried marketing once it didn’t work”. Once and you gave up? Maybe you employed the wrong person?
“We did leaflets to local households and got nothing”. – What did your leaflet look like? Who designed it? Did it have a strong call to action? Did you use a reputable door drop company?
“We advertised on/in xxx and got nothing”. How did you measure it? How long was your advertising campaign? Could people have bought from you after hearing/seeing your ads but you don’t collect data on how they found you?
“My teenage son is always on Facebook, so he is doing our social media”. Noooo! Do not let your inexperienced staff (or family members) be the face of your business. I’m sure we don’t need to provide examples of social media cock-ups, there are loads around.
“I’m just not tech savvy, I don’t get all this online stuff and what good it does”. Is your website easy to use? Engaging? Highlighting what you are, what you’re about, your offers and services. Is it easy to navigate and intuitive for the user? You don’t necessarily need to understand it but your customer does and the people you trust your marketing to need to.
“I called the local paper with our business news and they said they are not interested”. Was your news timely, relevant, newsworthy? Or just a glorified ad? Professionals can advise on what makes good news and spread that news far and above just your local paper.
“Sandra in accounts is good at writing, so she’s going to do our corporate newsletter”. Great, is it written with the customer in mind? Does it add any value to them? Is it consistent, regular, and full of useful content? Are you using email software to track who is reading it? Is your data policy up to scratch?
My wonky wall (which may well no longer be standing one year on) is proof that we can’t all be good everything and that calling in the pros is the difference between your house (or marketing efforts) falling down (failing) or standing proud (seeing your business soar).