Jack of all trades…Master of none!

Jack of all trades…Master of none!

You’re great at what you do, you set up in business and suddenly you start wearing all the business support function hats at once – multi-tasking like crazy for fear of losing managerial or financial control if you opted to outsource or employ instead. As a small business owner, you often become the sales and marketing department, IT support, HR, Legal, Finance and more wrapped into one busy package.

At what point does being a jack of all trades work against you though, making you master of none and damaging your productivity and profitability? And where do you sit in the cycle of outsourcing?

Outsourcing it about understanding the cost of your time, being realistic about what you can achieve in limited hours and about deciding when you’ve tipped the edge and it makes more financial sense to pass it someone else, particularly if the work is ad hoc, who may well be better and quicker at the tasks.

As someone who provides financial support (amongst other small business services), I‘m a huge advocate of outsourcing. If you’re not a master of the numbers yourself, or any other function for that matter, why wouldn’t you pass it to someone who is and save yourself time, money and stress.

Just as there is a product life cycle and a business growth cycle, you could also say that there is an outsourcing cycle. Very crudely, you’re likely to fit into one of these three stages:

Start-up: small or manageable client base, time for business development and planning, likely to be wearing all support hats (finance, IT, marketing etc) and coping fine

Young / growing: client and prospect base has grown, you’re too busy to wear all the hats but not big enough to employ so you turn to outsourced help without the obligations of employment. It’s cost-effective as you pay for the exact services and help you need and it frees up your time to work on the business and delivering on your core skills.

Mature: you’re paying over the odds for outsourced business function support and should be taking tasks in-house and employing. In-sourcing time is here and the need to face the fear of crossing that wobbly suspension bridge over to the other side – to becoming an employer.

Outsourcing is an essential resource for small business owners – provided the timing, skills and costs suit your business. After all, try to be a jack of all trades for too long, and you will become a master of none – and your business may not thrive as it should.

Outsourcing is the current focus of Colony events. If you’d like more information, there is a talk on Outsourcing 7 Oct, a finance support workshop 22 Oct, and virtual assistant talk 4 November, all thrown in with general networking. View business support events here