Two weeks ago in my B2B networking group, the topic about asking for help was brought up. Patrick Good asked, “Why is it so hard for business owners to ask for help?” He went on to point out the fact that entrepreneurs got started because they wanted to be independent – it’s a mindset that stems from helping oneself; not getting help. If you don’t mind getting a little heart-to-heart here, let’s address this question as it relates to business owners and marketing.
It’s cheaper if I do it.
That’s right. Let’s tackle the big one first – costs. I totally get this. When you’re working on slim margins it’s difficult to justify the cost of outsourcing. But why waste time doing something you’re not good at while letting what you are good (and consequently make money at) sit by the wayside? A number of years ago I stopped doing my own taxes. I was tired of the double and triple checking and the gnawing anxiety that I forgot something critical and the IRS would come knocking. Yes, I have to pay for it now, but the relief and the added benefits of a tax consultant far surpasses the money spent. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
A few of us crazies get into business to do marketing, but most others get into it for other reasons. In the beginning you do need to do it all – the work, the customer service, the sales, the accounting, the marketing. But there comes a point where you need to let some things go to do the things that make financial (and mental) sense for you. You should never stop marketing, but if you’re not a marketer, YOU should stop marketing. In many cases, you’ll find that you make the money to justify hiring someone to do your marketing, by doing what you love and are an expert at doing.
No one knows my business better than me
You are right. You’re intimately aware of all the intricacies of your business. After all, you started it. But there is something to be said about getting a different perspective. Sometimes we’re so caught up in helping our clients that we don’t take the time to be introspective about our own business. And sometimes we need a fresh pair of eyes to give us a view that we may be painfully unaware. I have a client who encourages criticism – he wants to know where he is falling short so that he can make changes. This is a very refreshing viewpoint to have. There’s nothing wrong in admitting you could be wrong. It’s the job of the marketer to learn about your business, your culture and philosophy so that they can properly translate that to your market. Ad agencies have been around for years doing this. It is not an impossible feat and the benefits far outweigh the stress of trying to do it all on your own and be effective.
In the end, as small business owners, we’re all in this together. We all struggle. We all try to do as much as we can on our own. We all get frustrated with spinning our wheels doing things that need to be done, but we’re just not good at. So many of us complain of being overwhelmed. But we can help each other to succeed. We all love it when someone acknowledges our expertise and asks us for help. Let’s do each other a favor and ask our fellow risk-takers, big-dreamers and world-changers for some help. There is no weakness in asking for help, but wisdom
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