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Businesses Can’t Do Everything Well

Caution! The following terms may make you feel queasy: Accounting, I.T., H.R. If you're breaking out in a cold sweat then you're a business owner.

Now if you run your own shop, the chances are that you’re pretty good at something.  In fact, I’ll bet that your business delivers an outstanding product or service to its customers because you’ve got the passion to do “what it is you do” well.

Unfortunately, you’re also probably spending a lot of time and energy on things that have nothing to do with your customers.  From accounting to technology, H.R. to marketing – these are the types of activities that steal time and cost money.  And nearly every small business is doing these things internally even though they fall outside of their expertise.  Why?  It’s not because we get our kicks from making journal entries and updating software.

It’s because we’ve been taught business wrong.

Nearly all business training focuses on these support functions.  Just think about the classes you took in B-School: four different accounting courses (even though you’re not an accountant); Marketing 101 through 401; HR Management and Labor Relations.  I could go on but I’m falling asleep.

We’re taught that we have to know all of this technical stuff to operate a business.  But we’ve been given a false narrative.  No one can develop enough expertise in all of these areas to perform them well, let alone manage others who do them.  And you can’t build a successful business by mastering the support functions. 

If you’re still not sure, think about it this way:

Unless you own an accounting firm, bookkeeping skills don’t increase sales.  And if you’re not in a technology business your grasp of software and network infrastructure won’t attract new customers. Without revenue, there is no business … and none of these functions produce revenue. So stop wasting your time.

Thankfully, it’s absolutely the best time in history to own a business.  The modern marketplace offers access to all of the specialized expertise you need at a lower cost and with less risk than doing it in-house.

Not only are there experts available to even the smallest businesses, but their knowledge can be purchased incrementally.  You don’t have to hire an accountant or an I.T. expert – you can just have access to them when you need it.  Even better, you can use the expertise without paying professional service fees.  Online resources provide much of the basic functionality covered here at very affordable subscription rates.

Delegating these support functions out of your business doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be well informed.  You just don’t have to spend yours or your employees’ valuable time doing it yourself.

Free your business to fulfill its purpose (which is to generate revenue by providing something of value).  Let the kids who loved taking Risk Analysis in Industrial Sectors 304 do your compliance reports.

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