I have a secret. Websites scare me. I avoid getting stuck into mine like a teenager avoids homework. And you know what else? This stopped me from asking the right questions which led me to spend a lot of money on something I couldn’t use.
As small business owners, we have to be jack of all trades. We are encouraged to create our own websites; do our own bookkeeping, marketing and social media; run our own events. The reality is, we went in to business because we are good at providing our service or products, not because we can do all these things and do them well.
But avoiding them isn’t the answer either.
Great cost savings can be realised if you can do some of the work yourself.
With a bit more knowledge you can make informed decisions that can ensure your business’ strategy is better aligned to the changing environment.
But hands up who is not daunted by the unknown? As adults, we feel we should know everything so it is hard to leap into the unknown and learn. Here are a few things that might help you to take that leap.
I wish I had done a bit more research into how websites work. Hosting, domain names, and whatever you call WordPress was so confusing to me (and I’m still learning).
Bonus tip: make sure once you’ve read up, you take action. As I read in this article, women tend to read the books then do nothing. So don’t do nothing, but do read books.
Take a gamble
Have a go. You might find you understand more than you realise. This is both empowering and cost saving.
If you are still unsure, at least you will have a better idea of what you don’t know. This means conversations with the experts will be more meaningful. If someone were to say: “Tell me about finance” I would be lost. If they were to say “Which financial statement do I include my marketing costs?” I would know exactly where to start.
Bonus tip: I do not recommend this for legal or taxation matters. These are best left to experts to avoid nasty surprises down the track.
Ask your networks
Chances are you already know someone who knows a bit about the field. I found my legal firm through a Facebook business forum, my accountant through a friend and my (second and current!) web designer is a friend.
Bonus tip: if the recommendation comes through a forum, determine their motivation for recommending them. Do they say they have used that firm before? Colleagues or employees of the firm are not always your best source.
This is may seem like a luxury for some, but to me is the best use of limited cash. I want my website to look professional, I want my contracts to protect my rights and those of my customers, I want the right insurance for my situation. I am simply not experienced enough in these areas so hiring help has been vital to creating a business that is professional and secure.
Bonus tip: ensure that who you are dealing with is open and willing to help with your questions. If you feel you are being fobbed off chances are if there are any problems will not be dealt with adequately or that the person is not competent.
In this Halloween season, let’s get scared and tackle those skeletons in the closet. You may just find a new superpower.