As small business owners, we often feel like we have to do everything ourselves.

Sometimes this is because we think nobody understands our business or objectives as well as we do and won’t be able to do the job to the same standard. But most often it’s because we tell ourselves that we simply can’t afford to spend any money.

Bookkeeping, invoicing and accounts. Office admin. Social media. Copywriting. Sales calls. There are so many hats we have to wear, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the most economical way is for us to do it all.

But in reality, this is frequently not the case. The tasks we are weaker at often correspond with those we are slow to finish, or those we fail to complete to our own quality standards.


What I want to talk about today is why is so important to know when to turn to the experts and ask for help – even when this means a financial outlay.

I’ve previously written about the recent additions to our VICI staff family: our wonderful new Office Manager and Corporate Sales Assistant.  And I’ve alluded to the fact that I used a recruitment company to help me with this – something, as a small business, I wouldn’t normally do deeming it beyond my budget.

On this occasion, I realised that I seriously needed organisational help from a first-class administrator.  I realised that the recruitment process would be time-consuming. And I realised that I did not have the recruitment knowledge to know exactly where to look for the kind of person I needed.  Most importantly – and this is the key epiphany – I realised that I couldn’t risk making a bad hire.

In my hour of need, I turned to a fantastic local agency: Better People run by Jayne Johnson. We had a long, comprehensive discussion where Jayne familiarised herself with my business – what we do, how we work, our culture – and I explained exactly what I was looking for in terms of experience, hard and soft skills and personality.  Jayne set me up with 2 candidates, both perfect and difficult to choose between for the role.  


It just goes to show, when you deal with the experts, you get great results.

The disease of small businesses is the mentality “I can’t afford it, so I’ll do it myself”.  We tend to think we are economising because we are doing something ourselves instead of paying someone else.  But so often, we overlook opportunity cost: the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.  In other words, you’re choosing to do your bookkeeping instead of paying someone else.  But what if you paid someone else to do your bookkeeping, thereby freeing up your time to concentrate on the (more profitable) area of sales? Which scenario would result in most net profit?

The other thing we often ignore is the hidden penalties of making mistakes.  What are the combined costs of errors we make in areas we aren’t experts?  In a recent blog post I alluded to a conversation I had with someone who was considering firing a recent hire because their language skills weren’t up to scratch.  They’d skipped hiring a language professional to test their candidate’s language skills, and as a consequence were facing additional recruitment fees (plus the lost salary of the employee during their probation period). 


At what cost recruitment fails?


At what cost a mistake in your accounting?  


At what cost spending money on badly targeted Facebook advertising?

All too often, “doing it yourself” is a false economy.  It’s good to know when to bring in the experts.

So, the next time you’re facing a task that you know isn’t your skillset… Who you gonna call?