Small business owners have many time management considerations which will be affected by the choices made when securing the expertise and support for expansion. This article looks at those choices.
In a small business all tasks must be undertaken by a small number of people – often that might be just one person. For example if the one-man business is a small shop selling and repairing electrical goods, the owner would undertake all of the following: serving in the shop, making electrical repairs, stock control and buying items for re-sale, marketing and advertising, bookkeeping, cleaning, record keeping etc etc.
Seldom does the owner have all the skill sets to be comfortable with having to perform all these roles and often not enough time to become fully proficient at everything.
Creating and developing a new business is very challenging and good time management is crucial. As the business flourishes, the owner is faced with an ever more difficult problem of time management with growing demands on his time. With little likelihood of becoming excellent in every discipline, the business owner will face the choice of whether to hire staff or outside contractors to do specific jobs.
Hiring staff requires a continuing commitment to training, supervision – and ensuring that the employees make best use of their time; that they develop good time management skills. Additional employees can provide more options when responding to change, but require more guidance from the owner. However this improved flexibility can produce synergies and time savings simply not possible without support. Hiring staff also requires the employer to become conversant with a myriad of obligations imposed by employment legislation.
Hiring contractors can be arranged in a number of different ways – with the services bought and the costs stipulated in detail within an agreed contract, subject to agreed intervals of review and further renegotiation or cancellation. A distinct advantage of contracting out services is that – subject to making the correct choice of provider – the contractor is very likely to be much more knowledgeable and skilled than the business owner. A cost saving can often be achieved because the contractor will complete tasks is less time. Furthermore, costs can be fixed or better controlled according to the basis upon which the contract is agreed.
Hiring outside contractors requires a continuing commitment to monitoring standards of delivery. However there is a difference here, with the business owner able to concentrate upon “outputs” – and so the owner is primarily concerned with results, not the process. One of the problems of time management – how to keep all the balls in the air at the same time – is made much easier to resolve. This allows a shift in focus to enable the business owner to concentrate on fewer areas – and on the crucially significant issues. Greater focus is a great catalyst for accelerated progress.
A mix of solutions is often the best way forward. Core tasks are often retained in-house. In our example the business is founded upon selling and repairing electrical goods – and tasks that are directly related to that can be regarded as core. The business owner may want to keep a particularly close eye on these in a way that requires a “hands-on” management style.
Other tasks, such as cleaning, bookkeeping and record keeping are not core, and can be contracted out. In this way staff that are hired to undertake core tasks are not distracted from what they were originally hired to do.
So what is the best choice?
This depends very much upon business profitability and how the owner answers this question – what is the best use of my time? Comparisons should be made between the cost of buying services and the revenue that could be generated from using the time released. Time management is greatly enhanced by maintaining focus on key activities and this should be a major influence in any decision.
Source by Brian Hazell