Outsourcing Marketing vs Hiring a Marketing Team

Sigh! It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like the vision you have for your business is moving excruciatingly slow. You have zillions of brilliant marketing strategies. The problem is there is never enough time in your day to execute or manage it all especially without a marketing team

I have found the biggest cause is from something called the Marketing Strategy Execution Gap. You need more soldiers on the ground to deploy multiple marketing strategies to free you up to shine as Chief Visionary. You need a marketing team.

“Without vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18” “Without marketing, the vision will perish.” ~ Yoon Cannon” Click To Tweet

You probably already tried outsourcing to a marketing agency only to be disappointed with the results. According to digital.com, 76% percent of small business owners report facing marketing challenges.

The core challenges of marketing fall into these 5 areas:

  1. Generating traffic and leads
  2. Training your team to generating traffic and leads
  3. Lack of resources (budget / people / time)
  4. Hiring talented people
  5. Social media

I mean, starting a business is hard enough. Can’t leads just come you? You have a great business idea, right? You should be overwhelmed with leads, right?

Wishful thinking.

After All, There are amazing musicians who, based on their genius of talent, should be worldwide superstars. But instead, they starve and struggle for decades because they were never ‘discovered’ by record labels who can market the heck out of them. 

Your genius business idea is no different. Doing all the marketing yourself should no longer be an option. 

As the visionary, how will you close that ‘Marketing Strategy Execution Gap’?

  • Option 1: Outsource your marketing to a bunch of freelancers or to a marketing agency.
  • Option 2: Hire your own in-house marketing team.

Which is better for you? … 

I’ve rounded up 10 small business entrepreneurs to weigh in with their opinion on this decision. Find out the pros and cons they have experienced with outsourcing vs hiring an in house marketing team. At the end I will also share my own experience from everything I have tried over 26 years of being an entrepreneur to help you make a more informed decision for yourself. 

Kymberlie Dimoz, CEO Of Lighting Rod Agency

Outsourcing is perfect when your business is making a healthy profit margin. Click To Tweet

 

Kymberlie Dimoz shares “outsourcing is perfect when your business is making a healthy profit margin but you haven’t quite yet realised your potential.”

 

 

Ambroise de La Gorce, CEO/Founder Of Openinno

@ambroisedlg Outsourcing at the very beginning of the business can offer more flexibility. Click To Tweet

Ambroise de La Gorce shares, “Outsourcing and in-house marketing both have their pros and cons. Each option can be better than the other in different situations depending on numerous factors, including type of management, marketing tools used, sprints management, business stage.

In my opinion, outsourcing at the very beginning of the business can offer more flexibility. Recruiting in-house is necessary when the product/market fit is validated, to give more stability to the business. Then outsourcing 20% of the team or so when scaling the business can be interesting to gather the resources we can hardly find on-site.”

 

Kerry Maybank Owner Of Strategic Links

@TheMaybankGroup I have team members that are great at marketing and create more of the significant pitch documents for us Click To Tweet

Kerry Maybank shares, “I mostly do my own marketing, but I have team members that are great at marketing and create more of the significant pitch documents for us.  I also have gotten free advertising by doing interviews with the media.

My company does not have employees.  We have team members.  People come onboard with exceptional talents in particular areas of the business that significant interest at the time.  Sometimes we provide equity if the need is that great or we barter and provide their companies something in return based on our expertise.  It keeps costs down, and creates mutually beneficial relationships, while increasing the exposure of our firm.”

 

David Murumbi Founder Of Rafiki Digi

@Rafiki We keep our marketing in-house because it allows us to harness our own data. Click To Tweet

 

David Shares, “We keep our marketing in-house because it allows us to harness our own data and learn to understand how our customers interact with our business. Combining marketing customer data, building segments, and then activating those segments in your communication is something that really draws growth.”

 

 

Peter Rigas Founder Of Fini Cutlery

No one will care about your business or know your products/services better than you and your staff. Click To Tweet

 

Peter Shares, “You need both. You need in house because no matter how much you pay an outside agency or group of freelancers, no one will care about your business or know your products/services better than you and your staff. However, there is so much to manage and oversee that you need outside agencies that specialize in the various verticals.”

 

 

Mark Walerysiak Jr. Founder Of Giverrang

@marktuff I would prefer to have someone inside the team and as close to the product as I am. Click To Tweet

 

Mark Walerysiak Jr. shares, “I’m early stage, and do all the marketing myself (at the moment). I could see the benefit of outsourcing particular tasks related to content / SEO. The more weedy stuff. But when it comes to telling compelling on-brand stories I would prefer to have someone inside the team and as close to the product as I am. When you eat, sleep, and breathe a product (and not worrying about other clients), you can communicate much more passionately about it in just about any form, and I think the audience can pick up on that. So the preference would be in-house if it’s doable.”

 

Laurie Kessler CEO Of The Celebrity Source

@celebritysource Our team has a great deal of experience - so we can tap into our own knowledge for basic initiatives Click To Tweet


Laurie shares, “Our marketing needs are managed with both internal and external resources. Our internal team has a great deal of experience in marketing and PR – so we can typically tap into our own knowledge and experience for basic initiatives like drafting corporate communications and pitches, social media posts, email marketing, etc.

We outsource for marketing tactics outside of our areas of expertise, or if our bandwidth is tight – such as more complex social media campaigns, SEO and digital advertising.”

 

 

Gary J. Nix Founder Of Brandarchist

@Mr_McFly No one can create someone else's brand on their own Click To Tweet

Gary Shares, “I’ve always done my marketing in-house. I’ve only worked in or ran marketing companies, so outsourcing my marketing would be really weird, lol.

The one piece of advice I would give entrepreneurs that feel weary about or otherwise unable to fully carry out marketing duties, still be involved. As a consultant, part of my job is to learn as much about my client’s brand as possible because the person or people leading the business know the most about their brand. I can help a client focus. I can help a client develop. However, no one can create someone else’s brand on their own.”

 

Staci Schweitzer Founder Of Blue Moss 

@stacischweitzer I'm doing it all right now -- I think it actually helps build trust and is part of my business values. Click To Tweet


Staci shares, “As a new one-woman consultancy, I’m doing it all right now — marketing and business development as well as everything else involved in the business! 

Honestly, while that requires more time and effort from me, I think it actually helps build trust and is part of my business values. With me, it’s personal, and my clients know that they can trust Blue Moss for personal dedication and utmost quality.”

 

Keith Kirkpatrick Principal & Founder of 4K Research & Consulting

@4K_Research I find it easier to directly reach out to potential clients Click To Tweet



Keith shares “I generally do not outsource marketing, as I find it easier to directly reach out to potential clients. Additionally, much of my work comes through referrals, anyway.”

 

 

Yoon Cannon Founder, Paramount Business Coach Host, Biz Growth Doctors Show

@yooncannon Make sure your marketing project manager is a well trained Full Stack Marketer. Click To Tweet

I have done all three options throughout my 26 year  journey owning 4 different businesses. I once did all the marketing myself. But I quickly found that not to be the best use of my time as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. Just because I know how to do the marketing, doesn’t mean I should be the primary person executing it all. So, then I spent many years outsourcing to freelancers.

While it’s a good choice for one time projects,  the danger is you end up spending way too much time vetting and project managing freelancers, which prevents you from acting as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. The other common pitfall with outsourcing is the temptation to hire the lowest priced freelancer. Like with anything else … you get what you pay for.

You risk super sloppy mistakes and oversights that cost you your brand’s reputation. Here’s an example a realtor friend of mine forwarded me. She subscribed to be on an email list from a marketing provider in her industry … to her surprise here’s what the email read:

 

My realtor friend was so confused! …. Here she thought she was signing up to let this marketing company do her social media posts and email marketing for her.  Instead of getting info about the done for you marketing services she was expecting, an email template and an email from a weight loss company came instead. Certainly people do make mistakes. But, when you outsource to the cheapest provider, sloppy mistakes just seem to occur in high frequency. 

Marketing is not a mindless task any monkey can do.  

When I exhausted my patience for chronic sloppy mistakes from outsourced VA’s and freelancers I decided to let go the reigns and hired a marketing agency to take care of it all A-Z. I hoped outsourcing the majority of my marketing to an agency would remove the project managing off my plate.

I hired Several different agencies, but in each experience I didn’t see the ROI to renew. Instead, I discovered the project managers who were assigned to me were skilled at project managing (which is a good thing), but so many critical details got missed because they weren’t skilled enough in all things marketing. [CONTEXT] There are many great marketing agencies out there who have highly skilled marketers as project managers, but these agencies are often geared to Enterprise size clients, not so much for the SMB community.

What I do now, and my advice to other SMB’s (small-medium business owners) is the 70-20-10 mix. 

  • 70% of our core marketing is done in-house
  • 20% is outsourced (one time projects or a specialty area we don’t have in house yet)
  • 10% still is done by me (like recording videos, giving interviews)

I finally found the key to taking project managing off your plate as a small business owner is to make sure the project manager is a well trained Full Stack Marketer. 

Conclusion

Ok … there you have it. You just heard from 11 of us about our experiences and opinions on whether it’s better to outsource your marketing or hire your own in-house marketing team. 

Whether you decide to outsource or hire in house, the next set of decisions you’ll need to make are things like: 

  1. Who should you hire first?
  2. What’s the going rate for this and that?
  3. What is the best marketing strategy they should be implementing for your business?
  4. Where can you go to find marketers who know what they’re doing?
  5. What should you look for when hiring your marketing person/team?

My answer to all of the above questions is this: 

It depends. 

I would answer all of these questions differently depending on each unique business owner, bandwidth, budget and brand. If you want to get clarity on best way for you to eliminate the marketing strategy execution gap in your business why not take me up on my free offer? For a limited time, I am offering a FREE 45 Minute Strategy Call to help you work through this. 

FREE THE WIZARD

Click the link below and Eliminate Your Marketing Strategy Execution Gap!

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QUESTION: What other questions would you add to the list of 5 above? Share your comments and questions below.

5 Ways to Build Your Digital Presence During Covid-19

5 FREE Ways to Build Your Digital Presence During Covid-19

It’s a scary time for everyone during Covid-19. We all know this pandemic has forced a lot of business owners to go out of business. 😢😧

If you are blessed to be among the lucky group who are NOT facing going out of business here’s a short video that shares 5 free effective ways to build your digital presence, so you can boost more visibility for your business during and after covid.

We are also offering free help, guidance, feedback, support for business owners on Tuesdays from 12noon-1pm EST on Zoom through the end of April.

Just comment below “Business Owner Public Service” and we’ll message you the link to join.

Don’t Let FEAR Keep Your Business Stuck in a Fog

Don’t let FEAR keep your business stuck in a FOG ….

As a special public service in response to #Covid-19 I’m offering a FREE 6-week digital marketing coaching clinic series on Tuesdays 12-1pm EST March 24-April 28th on Zoom.

This is exclusively for small business owners, so just comment below “Business Owner Public Service” and we will send you the link to join.

Stay healthy. Stay positive. #Keepthefaith

https://youtu.be/JbupSwSnsQ4

11 Great Tips to Generate Leads on LinkedIn for 2020

When I launched my first three businesses I did so with a sizable budget to fund my startup costs. But, when I started my consulting business back in 2007 I found myself in a very different situation. For the first time in my life I had no income coming in.

My husband was in the midst of a long season of unemployment after I had already sold my previous businesses. We had three hungry mouths to feed at home, so I was determined to launch my new business leaner than ever before — like as close to zero startup costs as possible.

That’s when I decided to figure out the LinkedIn thing.

LinkedIn is an incredible free tool to market your business. Once I invested the time to figure out how to get better at using it, I was able to track 6 figures of annual new business all came from LinkedIn.

So, if you want to start monetizing LinkedIn here are 9 tips to help you start generating leads for your business:

Lead Gen Tip #1. Have the Right LinkedIn Success Mindset.

Your diamond clients aren’t hiding in mystery marketing land. They’re on LinkedIn. You just need to dig for them Click To Tweet

Thousands of business owners are killing it with LinkedIn, but new clients aren’t going to come flooding in if all you’re doing is logging into LinkedIn to accept connection requests and post a few comments here and there.

LinkedIn will work for you if you put forth the right consistent effort.  I love this famous quote:

“Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas. They are in your own backyard,  if you but dig for them.” ~ Russell Conwell

If you’re not sure whether your target market is on LinkedIn watch this video where I share 5 reason why you should be marketing your business on LinkedIn.

Lead Gen Tip #2. Craft a Stellar LinkedIn Profile for Instant FIND-ability and GET-ability.

Keep in mind the user experience on LinkedIn. People will land on your profile in 2 ways. Direct search and an indirect search. Direct search is easy low hanging fruit because they are typically ‘buy intent’ – ‘hire intent’ searches. Potential clients search LinkedIn for the type of person they are looking to hire.  This is why you want your profile to be SEO optimized for the right keyword phrases. Your LinkedIn profile should also have a professional looking photo of you. Most people skip profiles where there is no picture or only a logo. RELATED: LinkedIn Marketing Tips – Is Your LinkedIn Photo Costing You Clients?

Indirect search can happen in many ways. For instance, let’s say you post an update on your personal LinkedIn profile and you share a few tips about a frequently asked question you get. Let’s say you currently have 1,200 1st degree connections and 45 of those connections liked or commented on your post.  Not only does your post get seen by your 1st degree connections, it also gets eyeballs from the connections of the people who commented on your post. So if your 45 comments each had an average of 1,200 connections then your one post can also reach 54,000 2nd degree connections. You’re bound to get some of those people who saw your content click on your profile to find out what exactly you do. They will skim your profile for all of 3 seconds. If they don’t immediately get what you do, they WILL MOVE ON to find someone else.

So, you don’t want to miss out on this EASY passive lead generation opportunity simply because they don’t get what you do.  That’s why it’s so important that your LinkedIn profile captures an immediate GET-ability (and wow factor). WANT TO GET HELP ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE?  See how our free and paid LinkedIn Profile Makeovers work here:

Naturally, you want to have the updates you post on LinkedIn reach more people. So, be sure you develop the habit of sending targeted connection requests to grow your 1st degree connections.

Lead Gen Tip #3: Create Customized Connection Requests

When searching for connections on LinkedIn, you are given numerous filters to choose from. This allows you to get really strategic with your search.

You are able to drill down to where someone lives, where they went to school, what their interests are, and so on. With this information, you can take it and personalize your connection requests.

Lets say, For Example, you search for CEO’s and filter by 2nd degree connections located in Philadelphia. Instead of sending a pre-baked template to someone, study their profile and find a way to insert a question about their city in your request.

You can also ask about things like the weather, their sports teams, and much more.

By creating customized connection requests, you break the ice and open up an easy dialogue with the other person.

Lead Gen Tip #4: Don’t Spam Connections. Talk to Them.

Don’t spam your LinkedIn connections. Talk to them. https://bit.ly/2NfUfxB Click To Tweet

When it comes to messaging your connections on LinkedIn there are two common pitfalls occur. Pitfall #1. You send out tons of requests to connect, but then fail to talk to them after they accept. Pitfall #2. You blast straight into a sales conversion. From its inception LinkedIn was not built to be a marketplace to bombard members with advertisements and solicitations. LinkedIn was designed to foster relationships.

If you use LinkedIn to blast straight into solicitation messages to cold connections, you’re just going to burn through those connections.

Instead, just follow the natural sequence of relationship building when having 1-1 conversations on LinkedIn. For instance:

  1. Customized invitation
  2. Welcome / build rapport message
  3. Engage message
  4. Give value message
  5. Value follow up message
  6. Invitation to call, coffee, interview, etc

If you have a well written profile and tagline often times you can go from step 2 straight to step 6, but it’s good to have a 6 step sequence like this to continue the conversation for people who aren’t ready to be a client of yours.

If the idea of messaging people individually feels too daunting, I use a tool called Auto Text Expander to speed my responses to FAQ’s when I’m on desktop.

When I’m messaging people from my mobile I just use the keyboard shortcuts on my iPhone which functions the same way as Auto Text Expander. I can reply 10x faster when all I have to do it type in 2 or 3 letters I set up.

Lead Gen Tip #5: Use Trigger Events to Engage and Re-Engage

Not all of your prospects will be ready to talk about your services immediately. However, they may be ready in 6 or even 12 months from now.

Your goal is to remain in their minds, meaning you’ll need to continue engaging them.

Fortunately, this can be done easily with trigger events. These are situations that will provide a comfortable way for you to re-engage with someone if they’ve shown no interest in your solutions so far.

These situations include:

  • they engaged on one of your posts (liked, commented, or shared)
  • they viewed your profile
  • they’ve published an article on LinkedIn
  • they’ve posted a status update on LinkedIn
  • they had a job change
  • they were promoted
  • they engaged on one of your posts (liked, commented, or shared)
  • they or their company were mentioned in the news
  • they’ve published an article on LinkedIn
  • they’ve posted a status update on LinkedIn

By re-engaging in this manner, you are more likely to stay on their radar and be top of mind when the time comes that they need the solution you offer.

Related: Attract Clients on LinkedIn! 12 Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes

Lead Gen Tip #6: Use hashtags to get discovered

When you’re posting an update, whether it’s a simple text update, a picture, a video or audio LinkedIn allows users to follow various hashtags. This way, they can get content on a topic in their feed, even if they don’t follow specific influencers for it.

Additionally, when you post an update, LinkedIn will auto-suggest hashtags, which can give you some inspiration for what to include.

You can also do a quick search a topic in LinkedIn and you’ll be able to see the number of followers on that hashtag.

Lead Gen Tip #7: Use Native Videos

@neilpatel 84% of buyers reported that they had been convinced to buy after watching a brand’s video https://bit.ly/2NfUfxB Click To Tweet

Here’s an excerpt from SEO expert Neil Patel where he shares the importance of posting videos on LinkedIn to grow your business.

Advantages of Video

Neil Patel, Generate Leads on LinkedIn

Native videos are videos that are uploaded directly to LinkedIn or created on the platform itself, as opposed to embedding videos from other sites, such as Youtube, Vimeo and more.

There are numerous advantages to using native video. According to Neil Patel, “A staggering 84% of buyers reported that they had been convinced to buy after watching a brand’s video.

And that same study found that 97% of businesses believe that their video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.

That means the right type of video will help you sell and engage more.”

How to Upload Native Videos

To upload a Native Video, go to your feed, and you’ll see a button with a camera icon next to “start a post.

Upload Native Videos to Generate Leads on LinkedIn

From here, You can directly upload a video between three seconds and ten minutes in length. This will appear directly to your update feed, allowing your audience to start watching your content immediately.

The dimensions of a native video can be from 256×144 to 4096×2304, and the orientation can be Horizontal or vertical, though vertical videos will be cropped into a square in the feed. Native video’s will also loop automatically.

Using Analytics

Another advantage of Native Videos is that, Once you post a video, you are able to see detailed analytics. This includes things such as the number of views, likes, and comments your videos are receiving.

Additionally, you can also see audience insights, including top companies, titles, and locations of your viewers.

You can find these insights in the dashboard section of your LinkedIn profile. This works on both mobile and desktop.

Click the drop-down that says “Me” and scroll down until you see “Posts and Activity.”, which brings you to a feed of every post you’ve ever uploaded to LinkedIn.

At the bottom of each post, you’ll see a breakdown of it’s likes, comments, shares, and views.

Use Video Analytics to Generate Leads on LinkedIn

With this information, you can begin to understand if you’re reaching the people and companies that matter to your brand.

Lead Gen Tip #8: Get to the Point Quickly in Your Videos

On Social media, attention spans are short, so there’s no time for you to waste. This means that you need to hook your viewers by getting to your point quickly at the beginning of your video.

LinkedIn themselves recommend capturing attention with a hook in the first 0 to 3 seconds.

From there, seconds 3 to 15 should be used to identify the problem or opportunity, and should address one of the biggest pain points of your potential customers, in order to really draw them in and entice them to watch the rest of your video.

After you have successfully hooked your viewers and drawn them in, seconds 15 to 50 should be used to describe the solution. Explain what you’re offering and why it’ll help your viewers.

Lead Gen Tip #9: Use Closed Captions for your videos

Up to 85 percent of social media videos are played with no sound bit.ly/2NfUfxB Click To Tweet

When a video comes up on your feed, it begins playing automatically. However, it is also muted by default.

It’s estimated that up to 85 percent of social media videos are played with no sound.

This makes adding closed captions/subtitles to your videos essential.

Even if your video isn’t heavy on speech, doing so will make them more accessible. LinkedIn even has a closed captioning feature, making it easy to implement.

To add captions:

  • Click the video icon near “start a post” and select the video you’d like to upload.
  • When the preview shows up, click the edit icon on the top right to see the video settings and then click select file to attach the associated SubRip Subtitle file.”
UploadNativeVideos
VideoSettings
Adding an SRT Caption File

Lead Gen Tip #10: Make Use of LinkedIn Showcase Pages

@SpielCreative If you have multiple target audiences or brand personas, you need Showcase pages. https://bit.ly/2NfUfxB Click To Tweet
Darren Travers

What are LinkedIn Showcase pages?

Let’s ask Darren Travers, who shares, “Showcase pages are add-ons to your LinkedIn company page for highlighting a specific business unit, initiative, product, service, or for targeting unique demographics. They are standalone pages, meaning people can follow them without following your main page.

If you have multiple target audiences or brand personas, you need Showcase pages. With them, you can avoid over complicating your main page and creating confusion for your audience by spreading out your offers and messages across multiple pages.

To create one, simply click ‘Admin tools’ on the right of your company homepage and select ‘Create Showcase Page’ to get started.”

Lead Gen Tip #11: Make Use of Sponsored vs Targeted Updates

If you have a LinkedIn company page, you are able to take advantage of Targeted Updates and Sponsored Updates bit.ly/2NfUfxB Click To Tweet

If you have a LinkedIn page for your company, then you are able to take advantage of two powerful features. Targeted Updates and Sponsored Updates.

With Targeted Updates, you can target your content to a specific audience. This is useful for many reasons, such as if you want to show specific content to your investors, and other content to your consumers. However, the segment you are targeting must have at least 300 followers for you to use this feature.

Sponsored Updates: Sponsored updates are paid posts that allow you to reach a broader network. If you would like some content to get even more visibility, or if you want to get your content in front of people who aren’t following your Company Page (or your employees) you can pay to sponsor it.

To use targeted updates:

  • Click on start a post from your Company Page
  • Click on “Anyone” and you’ll be taken to “Who can see Your Post?”
  • Click on Targeted Audience and you’ll be able to customize what audience you want the post to

While Targeted Updates can be used to build an organic following, Sponsored Updates allow you to pay to get your posts in front of a larger audience to further build your following.

These will appear in the your audience’s feed and look like a normal post, the only difference being a “sponsored” label next to your company name.

You are also able to target specific audiences just like you can with Targeted Updates.

To use Sponsored Updates:

  • Post an update to your company page and click the “Sponsor Update” button.
  • Within the Campaign Manager, name your new campaign.
  • Target your campaign by choosing Location, Company, Skills, etc.
  • Choose Your payment option. You can select either Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Cost per 1000 impressions (CPM).

Conclusion

So, there you have it. I just shared 11 tips to help you start generating more leads on LinkedIn. If you’re starting at zero, don’t be overwhelmed by trying to implement all 11 by tomorrow! Bookmark this page to review it each day and decide to implement one at a time until you add all 11.

If you’d like to nail down your LinkedIn profile faster check out our free and paid LinkedIn Profile Makeover services for you here:

QUESTION: What’s one thing that’s been working well for you on LinkedIn? Share With us in the Comments below!

Margin

How to Get Your Business to Run Without You

How to Get Your Business to Run Without You Title Image

 

Take it from the CEO of Jetsmarter (a.k.a the Uber of Private Jets), Sergey Petrossov: reducing time and effort wasted on inefficiency can revolutionize your whole business. He upped his company’s annual business by over seven times, simply by spotting an inefficiency. 

Common inefficiencies stem from a lack of communication, getting stuck in outdated procedures and a constant search for something new (the shiny object syndrome). Therefore you have to root out these inefficiencies so that your business can run smoothly.

This requires shrewdness, a can-do attitude and professional coaching.

Are you ready for it?

#1: Know Every Inch of Your Business

Knowing every inch of your business means observing what you are currently doing and asking yourself:

  1. Do I have a clear understanding of what’s important and what’s not?
  2. Am I simply focusing on each task or crisis as it comes along?
  3. Can these tasks be systematized?

Observe your current patterns to determine your strength. Then, apply those useful principles to the rest of your business to systematize the entire process. You can‘t really be objective about your company’s situation if you’re constantly carrying out daily tasks, as the ‘doer.’ You have to step back, zoom in and observe.

“Those who are most successful are capable of ‘higher-level thinking’ – i.e., they are able to step back and design a ‘machine’ consisting of the right people doing the right things to get what they want.”  – Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund

This is the only way to create a system that allows you to remove yourself and let the business take care of itself. Principles by Ray Dalio is a great resource to learn more about this approach. As is Work the System by Sam Carpenter.

Once you’ve built your machine, improve it over time. Create a solid diagnosis of your goals and the problems blocking their path so that you and your team can stimulate creative solutions.

Google was famous for empowering their employees with ‘secret’ information and involving them in Q & A meetings where they could openly discuss anything with anyone. A clear and open communication flow can help you identify bottlenecks, generate better ideas, and build an effective business machine.

Would you agree? If so, you may benefit from a mastermind group that allows you to brainstorm core business challenges with fellow CEOs. Get that conversation started.

#2: Determine What Your Communication Strategy is Lacking

Don’t just say: “I can’t transfer my knowledge to my team.”

Instead, Ask yourself:

  • Which team member, and why?
  • Is it a problem of time or a lack of shared language?
  • Poor follow-through?
  • Lack of clarity?

It’s Only when you’ve identified a problematic pattern can you get to work designing a solution. Get your team in the habit of raising issues and risks that they feel are out of their control or impossible to deliver.

Communication is a tricky problem for most organizations, but it is absolutely your responsibility as a business owner to get it flowing.

So, Make your vision and your values available to your team in file that is accessible to everybody in your company. This way your employees and contractors can keep coming back to whenever they are unsure of the direction of your company. Having a set of principles accessible to everyone means you don’t have to constantly re-exert effort to explain yourself. Document everything, including common Q&As, guidelines etc. Have them organized and updated, often.

Good ideas come from all places. If you have a team that understands company goals, encourage them to ponder and speak up. Let them bring their disagreements into the open where it can be discussed and settled logically.

Are you taking advantage of communication tools like Slack, Basecamp or ProsperWorks? Use communication technology to automate internal processes while decreasing inefficiency, human error and unnecessary delays.

Bonus tip: Outlaw long and complicated emails. Communications should be razor-focused on a task, an update, or a process.

#3: Remove Bottlenecks with Technology

Leveraging technology is the best thing you can do for your business. The benefits are endless: smoother operations, greater customer experience, increased productivity and higher profits.

Jetsmarter made it easy for customers to access technology and information by letting them directly schedule their flights through an app.

As a result, agents were removed as a booking bottleneck and re-directed towards other tasks.

For better or worse, every company is now a software company. There are hundreds of applications that can be used to run business tasks.  It’s all about connecting people, processes, technology and data.

For your business to run smoothly and be highly adaptable to market needs, it needs digital integration. Use the proper tools to get you from knowledge to action in a systematic way.

How can you empower your business with technology?

Every industry has different needs.

Companies with manufacturing, transport and large investments may need to improve operations and take advantage of their infrastructures.

Other companies may want to focus on customer relationships and platforms.

Use technology to support your own goals, decreasing the amount of time and effort that you as a business owner need to focus on daily operations.

#4: Get Help So You Can Focus on the Big Picture

This means passing along some responsibilities when it becomes highly problematic or time-consuming. In other words: seeking help.

Escalation is not a failure — it’s recognition of responsibility.

Your business is meant to grow and run smoothly without your constant input. Because it becomes successful only when treated as a separate entity worthy of investment.

If time is the problem, get a virtual assistant to help you in a variety of areas, including administration, research, invoicing as well as marketing, sales and operational support.

If you have a core business challenge, consult a business coach who can “shift your mindset and perspective on your business which then allows for powerful breakthroughs in the strategic direction of your company.

Seek help.

#5: Define the Roles and Responsibilities of Your Staff

Did you know that there is a significant relationship between employee performance and clarity about roles and responsibilities?

According to one study: “Role ambiguity, which is absence of clarity for the roles, is considered to be one of the great bottlenecks for the effectiveness of the team.”

The research went on to indicate that employers who are clear about performance, evaluation and delivery improve their business tremendously. Not only are employees happier with their own performance; they uplift the entire organization.

How clear are you about your expectations?

If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Almost 50% of employees across different sectors lack role clarity. With start-ups, the problem stems from a fluid environment where everybody has to do everything. However, For larger organizations, it’s due to poor communication.

We’re talking about goals, priorities and boundaries.

Your Employees need to understand not just how they fit into the puzzle but how the other pieces fit in, too, and how the whole thing comes together. 

There is a freedom and passion that comes with clarity.

This includes you as the employer, CEO or business owner. The only thing you should be focusing on is making the best decisions for your business. Remove all the other noise from your head – you’d be amazed at how many different tasks there are that you can get someone else to do for you.

Seriously – here’s 84 examples!

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Conclusion

Are you ready to find out what it means to run a business that is so effective that you can pursue bigger and better goals? It’s possible. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary session today and find out exactly how you’re going to do it.

QUESTION: What inefficiencies have you found in your business that have allowed you to pursue bigger and better things? Share with us in the comments below!

Katrina McKinnon is a leading online innovator with over 20 years’ experience building and operating high performing businesses. In a market hungry for skilled online professionals, Small Revolution powered by Katrina McKinnon’s proven insights, is the fastest, most effective way to get the expertise to tap into this growing opportunity.

How Outsourcing Can Help Small Businesses Keep Up

How Outsourcing Can Help Small Businesses Keep Up

Did you know that nearly 60% of companies are outsourcing tasks to cut costs? Many small companies are falling behind.

They don’t have the ability to afford in-house specialists to keep up. This is due to fast pace technology making business more competitive. Outsourcing is the main key you might be missing for your company to thrive.

Today, IT and other professionals are very expensive to hire. Leaving small businesses in the dust if they can’t afford them.

The benefits of outsourcing are countless. You can outsource mundane tasks so your in-house team can focus on essential assignments that require time and effort. Outsourcing offers both big and small companies significant money-saving opportunities and the ability to stay ahead of the game.

Three Types of Outsourcing

There are three main types of outsourcing. There are many types of jobs and ways to outsource. The key is to find what is best for your company and your needs.

Outsourcing Professionals

This is the most common type of outsourcing. Many small companies cannot afford to outsource expensive specialists. This includes specialists in accounting, administrative, and legal work.

In most cases, you don’t need an in-house full-time professional to do these jobs. You can outsource work to a company or professional when necessary.

Outsourcing IT Experts

Not only are in-house IT experts costly, but they aren’t necessary all the time. The majority of the work they do can be done from anywhere.

Why not hire remotely a professional that has the expertise in the latest technologies.

From app development, system administration, and software design to maintaining your website. You can find less expensive IT experts around the globe that are a fraction of the price of hiring locally.

Outsourcing Copywriters and Marketers

When it comes to marketing, many small businesses turn to their in-house employees. Creating text and design for pamphlets, websites, social media, and blogs.

There is a lot more that goes into creating a quality marketing campaign than just writing text.

Today, with proper content, a company can go far. Outsourcing professionals in the field can help boost their image and put them in the limelight

Outsourcing Benefits and Risks

Did you know that 47% of companies choose to outsource work to reduce capacity issues? Paying for office space costs a lot more than hiring a freelance professional.

Benefits of Outsourcing

1. More specialized talent. – As a small company, it’s not always possible to hire professional talent. They tend to be costly to hire in-house. With outsourcing, you have access to professionals around the globe at a lower cost, depending on your specific needs.

2. Save Money. – A company may spend $1,252 per new employee training alone. This doesn’t include additional costs of office space and expenses such as sick pay, pension, and others. Also, you have more access to professionals with more experience and knowledge that cost less on average.

3. More transfer of knowledge. – A strong team made of experienced experts can cover everything across the board to keep your company up to date.

4. Higher performance. – Most outsourced professionals work per-project basis. Focusing only on the task at hand without distractions that an in-house employee may have. As a result, they deliver work faster and of a much higher quality.

5. Reduce expenditures on new technology. – Technology is always changing. The moment a company finally has the funds to invest, new technology is on the rise. By hiring experts already using the latest technology, the company doesn’t have to train in-house employees to implement it.

6. Improve in-house productivity. – Allow your employees to focus on the crucial tasks. Keep your business moving forward by outsourcing mundane tasks such as data entry.

Drawbacks of Outsourcing

As with everything else, there are always drawbacks. If you pay close attention, do your research whom you outsource to, and always read the fine print, you should be fine.

1. Loss of control. – If you assign work to an outsourcing company or freelancer, be aware. Without controlling the results, you may find yourself worse off than before. Outsourcing requires a bit of organization and work on your side to maintain quality and move forward.

2. Hidden costs. – If you choose to outsource work to a company, be diligent about what you are signing up for. There is often a small print that may incur more costs than hiring in-house. Always review the contracts carefully. Make sure you are aware of what you are paying for and which added costs might come up.

3. Security risk. – If what you plan to outsource requires sharing personal customer or employee data, it could pose a risk. Always consider what type of work you plan on outsourcing and hire trusted companies and freelancers.

4. Time difference. – Many outsourcing companies and freelancers may be working in a different time zone. This might make it challenging to sync with your schedules. However, with good time management, there are always ways around it.

5. Language barriers. – Remember that many outsourcing companies and freelancers are not native English speakers. This could pose a problem with the language barrier. However, if you do your research well, you can find fantastic professionals with perfect English.

6. Moral dilemmas. – One of the moral dilemmas may be denying someone from your team an opportunity to grow by outsourcing work. The possibility of stumping the growth of your community by not working with a local talent agency. Another issue is that some consumers frown upon outsourcing.

Bottom Line

In essence, the benefits of outsourcing for small businesses outweigh the drawbacks. This is because you need to keep up with the big guys if you wish to grow as a company. The best way is by having experts on your team that many small businesses can only afford in-house.

A small business requires a dream team to advance and keep up. Outsource as much as possible by finding companies, or freelancers on sites like PeopleByTheHour and UpWork. Even small businesses could build a dream team,save money, and keep up with the latest changes in technology.

Which tasks you feel could be outsourced in your company?

 Question: Would you outsource to give your in-house team more time to focus on important tasks? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hristina Nikolovska is the appointed Community Manager at WhatToBecome. Using her extensive background in digital marketing, as well as her social media and public relations experience, Hristina’s passion is helping others stay organized through clear communication and pushing for the realization of projects of every sort.