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Should Your Small Business Consider Outsourcing?

When we think of outsourcing work, we usually think of big businesses who can afford it. But, the truth is that outsourcing can be an effective approach to sustaining a successful small business. When we talk about outsourcing, we mean contracting or partnering with other business to complete different aspects of your work. If you’re looking to cut costs, become more efficient, or make more time for other “big picture” items, outsourcing might be a good option for your small business. Here are some popular ways to outsource and benefits that you might see as an outcome.

Make Time for “Visionary” Thinking

Day to day tasks of maintaining a small business can take up a lot of time. For a small business owner, time is precious no matter if you have a small team or if you’re the sole employee. Outsourcing tedious and consistent work helps make time for long-term strategy and visionary thinking. What we mean by this is that the more time you free up, the more time you have to spend on growing your business. Where do you see your business going in the next three to five years? Do you want to expand your business but don’t have the time? This is where outsourcing can become an integral part of your business’ success.

Produce Better Work

When we outsource work, we have the opportunity to work with people who specialize in whatever it is that we’re asking them to do. Whether it’s graphic design or accounts payable, chances are we will choose to outsource the work we have experienced the least. Sometimes it’s better to outsource the design of your new website rather than spending the time to figure it out yourself.

Cut Your Costs

Allocating where your funds are going and where your revenue is coming from is a crucial part of running a business. If funds are tight, or maybe you’re just being smarter about your capital, outsourcing is a good option. When small businesses choose to outsource, they’re eliminating the need to hire and train an employee for a specific task or area of work. This way, funds are freed up and now available to use in different areas like expansion and investment.

Okay, okay we’re ready to outsource. Now what?

If you’ve decided that outsourcing is the right choice for your small business, here are some areas to consider to outsource:

Information Technology

IT is such a specialized field that it can be difficult and time consuming to learn yourself. IT includes a lot of different areas like maintaining your website, upgrading and maintaining your security, hardware and software.

Accounting

Tired of balancing your own books? Or, maybe tax season got the best of you this year. Whatever the reason, you’re not alone when it comes to outsourcing accounting needs, in fact, many small businesses choose to outsource accounting.

Social Media and Marketing

Maintaining your social media accounts can be very time-consuming. Social media platforms and marketing techniques can also be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with them. There are many outside contractors who specialize in maintaining your social media handles, marketing strategy, blog writing, and web-design/ content. If you’re spending too much of your time keeping up with Facebook, and not enough time strategizing, it may be wise to outsource.

What’s been your best outsourcing move?

5 Communication Skills Every Business Owner Needs

Not all business owners take the same approach to leadership. For some, leadership comes naturally, while others have to practice and hone their leadership skills throughout many years. One of the most important aspects of leadership, especially when it comes to managing and empowering a team of employees, is to communicate clearly and effectively. Here are some communication skills to keep in mind as you continue to strengthen your leadership style, whether it comes naturally or not!

Transparency and Clarity

Whether it’s explaining a strategy, setting a goal, or writing an email, great leaders will communicate in a way that leaves their team with an understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. Not only do great leaders speak with clarity, they also practice transparency by communicating how decisions get made and including their team in the decision-making process when appropriate.

Practice Adaptation

Each of us have different ways of communicating with one another. What works for one person might not work for the next. It’s important to take time to understand how our employees and clients communicate, and cater our communication style to meet their needs. Assessing our employee’s communication styles can be difficult, that’s why behavior assessments are such valuable tools.

Empathy

Empathy is often mistaken for weakness, but it is some leaders’ greatest asset. Practicing empathic communication means acknowledging what others are saying, where it’s stemming from, and clearly confirming what it is that they need to move forward. Empathy is also important when it comes to working with and expanding your pool of clients.

Body Language

Communication isn’t always about what comes out of your mouth. A lot of times, the best way to evaluate how someone really feels is by watching their body language. As a leader, it’s important to make sure your body language isn’t accidentally giving your employees or clients a negative reaction. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of how are body language is being perceived! Don’t be afraid to ask your clients or employees to express themselves when you sense that their bodies are telling you something that their words are not.

Be Attentive  

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who seems uninterested? Maybe their eyes are darting all over the room, or perhaps they begin typing something on the phone or computer. Whatever it is, it never feels good on the receiving end. Great communicators are attentive listeners. When someone approaches you, take the time to listen, or set a time to have a conversation where you can allow yourself to be focused.

Communicating can be difficult, especially when we work with people who communicate differently than we do. What does good communication look like to you?

What It Takes to Build an Effective Team

Growing a business is hard, especially when you’re preparing to build a team. The transition from being the sole owner/employee to a leader and superior can be really difficult. The key to any successful business is to build an effective team. That can be easier said than done, but here are some tips to guide you through the process.

Use and Invest in Your Leadership Skills

As a business owner, or someone in a leadership position, the first step in building a really great team is to know how to be a really great leader. The most common and unfortunately the most toxic misconception most people have about leaders is that they have tremendous power and authority. Even if this is true in some situations, all great leaders value honesty and transparency. Great leaders are fueled by their work, cause, and mission. Employees who see their leaders guided by these principles are more likely to work harder and think bigger. Remember, leaders and employees are on the same team and should be working for the same outcomes in different ways.

Be Diverse

If you choose to build a team of people that have similar experiences, backgrounds, and skills, you might see a lack of innovation and creativity. A successful team requires diverse thinking. Not only will this help your business, but it will help expand your team’s ability to communicate with one another and problem solve.

Know Your Employees’ Strengths

It’s obvious that your employee will have certain skills that are required for the job at hand. However, employees also have strengths that you might not know just from interviewing them. Real strengths take time to discover. Investing in your employees, talking to them, and encouraging them to build upon their strengths will help build a team that is both confident and creative.

Spend Time as a Team

It’s important to pay attention to your team’s culture. Spending time together outside of the office, together as a team is important. You can do this in many different ways, but asking your team how they want to spend time together is most helpful. Some teams pick a day to have a lunch together or attend a happy hour.

Consider hosting an off-site team retreat once a quarter to spend time together as a team. This time can be spent setting goals for the team, business, and clarifying the responsibilities of each team member. Create the agenda for the retreat together as a team beforehand. Some teams even decide to hire an outside party to serve as a coach for the day.

Create Team Values

Fostering a truly functional and successful team takes a lot of time and energy. When things get busy, working on and investing in your team is usually the first thing to get tossed to the side. It’s important, especially during busy times, to give attention to your team’s growth. You can do this easily by setting team values, discussing them, and returning to them at different times to evaluate how well they’re being lived out both individually and as a team.

What’s been working for you as your work to build a successful team?

Time Management Tips for Every Small Business Owner

Every business owner knows that there’s never enough hours in a day, or days in a week. That’s why managing our time and efficiency is so important—but it also remains a challenge. As business owners, we have a lot on our hands. Managing the growth of our businesses, strategy, employees, and finances can be a lot to handle, especially on a day-to-day basis. Thankfully there are tried and true time-management tips that can help us prioritize tasks and get the most out of each working day.

Track Your Time

Before you change how you spend your time each day, it can be helpful to know what you’re spending most of your time on right now. Spend a week jotting down how much time you spend doing certain tasks each day. This can be difficult at first, but at the end of the week you’ll have more insight into what’s taking up your time. You might find that you spend a lot of time in meetings, catching up on emails, phone calls or running errands. These tasks, while important to maintaining a business can also be areas of inefficiency. Try to identify how you can balance your time between every day maintenance and time for strategic visioning and future planning.

Set a Schedule

Start the day by identifying specific tasks you need to accomplish. Working in 25-minute increments has proven to be successful for a lot of business executives. This means shutting off all distractions—cell phones, email, and in-person interruptions. Close your door and get to work. Working for 25 minutes straight without distractions helps us treat our time more efficiently. Take a five-minute break, answer emails that demand action, and start working again for 25 minutes. At the end of the day, you might be surprised at how much you’ve accomplished.

Plan on Free Time

We all know what it feels like to fall behind at work. Pretty stressful. Planning free time into your schedule can help you avoid this feeling of constantly being behind. Nothing goes exactly as planned. So, your free time can be used catching up on things that haven’t been completed, or for unexpected meetings or important conversations. This free time can also be used to think about the future of your business and brainstorm goals for the next several months. We can get so caught up in the daily tasks of running a business that growing our business takes the back seat.

Delegate and Walk Away

As business owners, employees can be our greatest assets. The greatest thing we can do for our businesses is to trust our employees. We’ve hired our employees for a reason, now it’s time to let them do their jobs. When it comes to running a business, delegating tasks is one of the most important things to learn how to do well. When we learn which tasks to delegate and who to give them to, our schedule opens up dramatically and we actually have time to build the business we’ve always imagined.

Our team at Quadrivium Advisors knows how difficult managing time can be! Don’t get overwhelmed—we’re all a work in progress. What helps you manage your time?

It’s Time for Strategic Planning Boot Camp!

Have you always wanted to start a business but don’t know how to begin? Do you already own a business but it’s not generating the success you want? Are you frustrated by the direction your business is taking? Do you want help turning goals into sustainable success? Maybe it’s time for a strategic planning boot camp.

Whether you’re a seasoned business owner who’s run into a few too many bumps along the way or an aspiring business owner, a strategic planning boot camp might be what you need. Our boot camps at Quadrivium are designed to give you a jumpstart on the foundations of starting and maintaining a successful business. Intrigued? Here are some of the topics you’ll explore during our 12 hour camp:

Fourteen Conditions That Can Derail Your Business

Lucky for you, you’re not the only one who’s ever experienced a “hiccup” while running or starting a business. Many people have come before you and thanks to them, you get to learn from their mistakes without making them. Perhaps business has slowed down or maybe you’re having trouble expanding your client base. No matter the issue, there are certain conditions that can threaten even the best businesses. Not seeing the progress you expected? Maybe one of these conditions is standing in your way. Our boot camp will help you recognize these conditions and navigate through them.

Strengths, Limitations, Opportunities, and Threats

The best way to get what you want from your business is to assess it at the present moment. What does your business do the best? What is it lacking? Learning how to do a SLOT analysis on your own business will help you make the first step in creating a more successful future. It can be difficult knowing what needs to change and how to change it. Using a SLOT analysis to guide your decision-making is just another way of asking your business what it needs to become the best at what it does.

Six Key Elements to Effective Communication

One of the most common reasons businesses experience a stunt in growth, or poor client and employee retention is due to lack of communication. We all communicate differently in various styles. But, they key to success is learning what makes our communication channels effective and sustainable.

Our workshop is designed to give you the tools to get your business where you want it to be in the future. So, do you think a strategic planning boot camp is right for you? Let us know if you or someone you know might be interested in attending.

 

 

Quadrivium: noun[kwo-driv-ee-uh m]

from Latin quadrivium, which means 'a place where four points meet"

Bringing you to that perfect point.

+1(513) 659-5728

info@quadrivium-advisors.com

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7672 Montgomery Road #111
Cincinnati OH 45236