Independence Vs. Bad Judgment
My friend Steve considers himself a pretty handy guy. So when his car needed a brake job, he figured he’d just spend a Sunday and do it himself. Only problem was, he didn’t have the proper tools. Or even a jack stand.
Things didn’t go well, and he broke an important piece. Being a Sunday evening, there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. On Monday morning, Steve had to have the car towed to the shop, then rent a car for two days to get back and forth to work. He was very late to work that day.
It cost Steve $450 to save $180 on a break job. Not to mention lost work hours, a bloody knuckle, and a bruised ego.
Now don’t get me wrong, being a do-it-yourselfer is admirable. I give him credit for trying. I’ve tackled my fair share of clogged toilets and household projects. When a home improvement job goes a little south, it’s not the end of the world, but you can’t afford to take that risk when it comes to your business. Sometimes you just need to hire a pro.
Stick with what you do best
Many independent business owners are “independent” to a fault. We want to run our businesses from top to bottom, inside-out. But if your specialty is, say, screen printing, how pro are you at bookkeeping? Or plumbing…marketing…copywriting…web design, etc.? How can you do it all and still run your business well?
Often a small business owner will throw together a very basic website, complete with mistakes and typos. They have no marketing plan and no idea how to write effective copy. They set up a Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites but they’re just too busy running their business to manage it all.
The top 4 reasons why an independent business owner might avoid hiring outside professional help (in my non-scientific opinion)
- Underestimating the difficulty level. A job done well looks simple. If you watch a pro do his job he makes it look easy. What we don’t consider is how long it took him to get that good at it. He has the skill, the training, and the tools to do the job right.
- Fear of the unknown. This may sound like a lame excuse, but when you honestly don’t know anyone to ask, it can be daunting to find help. There are many unknowns, such as what to look for in a professional, what it will be like having them in your space, and what’s a fair price to pay for their services.
- It’s not in the budget. That’s a legit concern. Margins run tight in small business, and anything off the bottom line hurts. But like my friend Steve learned, the cost of doing it wrong is far higher than doing it right in the first place. You could end up paying a professional in the end, but not before causing some damage.
- Stubbornness. A tenacious spirit can take you far in life. You are unstoppable and obstacles are merely speed bumps along the path to success. Wisdom is the helpmeet of tenacity. Wisdom guides you along the path and tells you how to navigate the challenging terrain. Listen to her.
Measuring The Cost
In Steve’s case, it’s easy to do the math and see the cost of his error in judgment. But it’s not always as easy to measure what you can’t see —the result of lost sales from not doing things the right way.
You may never know how many prospects left your website because it was hard to navigate, difficult to understand, or was littered with bad grammar and typos. Costly, because you don’t usually get a do-over when it comes to first impressions.
Perhaps your potential customers have never even heard of you, or have forgotten about you because you’re too quiet. You may be missing out on huge opportunities to capture the attention and affection of your client base through lead generation and social media.
Your audience may be waiting for the next newsletter filled with valuable content, but you’re too busy working the daily grind to create one.
There’s Help Out There
Don’t be afraid to reach out. Consulting with a solution-oriented professional will help you form a game plan, and determine an appropriate budget for your project. It doesn’t cost anything to have that conversation and clear up any questions and concerns. Chances are you will find the benefits outweigh the costs.
Being fiercely independent is how you got where you are. It’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s awesome. But don’t let fear or pride keep you from delegating the things that aren’t your specialty so you can focus on the things that are.
I’d love to take a look at what you’ve got and see how we can improve your messaging. Contact me here or give me a call – 805-218-6838.
Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge.