There are a lot of agencies, creative, techy people and number people out there selling a “done for you” service. DFU means exactly that- you hand it all over, and they do everything for you as needed. An example might be a bookkeeper taking care of your accounts, from invoicing to paying your bills. Another example might be a web developer creating your entire online presence from scratch for you, then managing it for you ongoing.
I don’t sell a DFU service. I have provided a DFU service to very select clients in very select circumstances, but it is never my preference. Let me explain why.
If your business is less than 3 years old, or turning over less than $250k handing over chunks of your business to DFU providers is often the worst thing you could be doing.
But hang on- isn’t outsourcing the way to go? Won’t it give me more time, more freedom, more fun?
It will- but ONLY if you are already at least good, if not excellent at what you are handing over. And I’m willing to bet that you’re not there yet.
The reason I don’t sell DFU services, is that as a coach and teacher, my job is to get you to the point where you no longer need me anymore. I do this by teaching you the exact strategies and systems that I know and use. I do this by answering your questions and problem solving with you, helping you find the right answers. I do this by showing you how to implement and use the tools that I have used to grow multi-6 figure businesses and help others do the same.
Once you understand, and better- can problem solve- your bookkeeping, your accounts, your marketing, your sales process, creating content, running your social media, then and only then are you really ready to outsource. Only once you understand how all the components fit together, and why, can you consider outsourcing.
If you don’t know how to read your accounts, or work out your own profit margins, the LAST thing you should be doing is outsourcing your bookkeeping. You need to gain that knowledge.
If you don’t know how to create ad copy that generates leads, or how to manage a social media campaign, and be able to measure and understand why some ads work and others don’t- then the LAST thing you should be doing is outsourcing your marketing. You need to learn those skills.
The problem with hiring someone to fill in the gaps in your skills or knowledge, is that when the contract is up, you and your business are in no better place than before. If you were struggling with getting leads and enquiries, when the marketing person stops working, you will be struggling again.
If you didn’t understand your cash flow problems before your bookkeeper came on board, you won’t understand them if they leave.
The right time to outsource, and hire a DFU contractor is when you have enough knowledge to understand what you want them to do. It’s when you have enough knowledge to be able to measure their results. It’s when you have enough of an understanding to know if they are doing the best job they can or not, so that you can do something about it.
The reason I feel its so important that you acquire a well rounded understanding of how your business works, in all its facets is because almost on a daily basis I have conversations like this:
When asked what their Net Profit margin was the year prior, people answer “oh, I don’t know. My accountant looks at that for me once a year when I give her my accounts and she hasn’t told me that yet…” and it’s November.
(If you don’t know why it’s a problem to not know your NP% on a monthly, if not weekly basis, then we need to talk.)
When asked how they are generating leads, people answer “I have my delivery person running my social media for me and she says we’re getting lots of likes…”
(If you don’t know why that comment freaked me out, then, again, we need to chat!)
When asked what return they got for a $10K spend with a PR agency, people reply “what kind of return? They got us a column in a magazine and did some branding for us…”
(If you don’t know why measuring the ROI on every dollar you spend in your marketing is vital, then you’re probably in trouble.)
This blog might sound harsh. It might come across a bit rough. I don’t care.
Guys, you need a bit of tough love, and I am sick and tired of seeing business owners who have no control over their own business. I am sick of tired of business owners being sold the lie of “how wonderful outsourcing is” when they simply are not ready for it.
Time is money, sure. But knowledge is power.
Its far, far better for you and your business success if you learn what you need to understand all facets of your business. It’s far, far better if you acquire the skills to be able to do it yourself, at least to a basic degree. That means that when you are ready to outsource, you will know what questions you need to ask. You will know what information you need that person to give you on a weekly or even daily basis. You will know when they are doing the job they promised you, or when their proposal is a pile of crap that ads no value at all to your business.
Knowledge is power.
It’s OK to not know something now. We all start from somewhere. It’s business suicide to not learn what you know you need to in order to reach your goals. The difference between the people who go from $0 to multi 6 figures in a couple of years, and those who still aren’t charging GST after 10 years in business is their attitude to learning.
Be humble. Ask questions. Be the dumbest person in the room. Keep learning.
Knowledge is power.
Want to find where the gaps are in your business knowledge? I’ve created a Business Health Check Quiz- let me email it to you, take the quiz and answer really honestly. You might be surprised by the results.