For today’s small business owner, allocating your resources is an valuable skill. Some tasks and projects you can handle in-house, while others require the assistance of an outside professional. When it comes to graphic, web design and social media, it can be easy to say, “I can do that myself.” And while a do-it-yourself approach may cut costs in the short term, it may not always be the most effective long-term solution for your business. But how do you know when it’s time to say, “I need this done for me?"
Your Time is Valuable, So Use it Wisely: As a small-business owner, your time is your greatest resource. How you use it may make the difference between success and failure. So when approaching a new task or project, one of the first questions you’ll need to ask yourself is, “How much time am I willing to commit to this?” The answer will help you decide whether to “Do it Yourself” or “Hire a Pro.”
For example, if designing and building a website for your business is something you feel skilled enough to do, but doing so would take time away from other essential tasks such as sales, new product launches, and customer service, it may be time to bring in a pro. Similarly, if you’ve sketched out some ideas for a new brand logo but don’t have the time needed to bring them to life—or id you just want a fresh perspective on the project—it might be best to contact a designer with both the experience and time to devote to the task. Yes, hiring a pro will cost money, but the time you save has value too, and your time might best be spent on other aspects of your business.
Experience Matters: Nobody likes to admit being out of their depth, least of all entrepreneurs. We like to believe that given the time we can accomplish anything. And to an extent that’s true. But it is also true that there is no substitute for experience. When you bring in an outside designer, you also bring in that person’s experience and the experience of their team. So if completing the task or project at hand means a steep learning curve, the cost-efficient answer may be to hire a pro. Chances are that an outside designer has worked on projects like yours before, which means he or she can anticipate some of the pitfalls that might catch you by surprise. They will also be well-versed in the tools and techniques the job requires. For example, the time to realize you need to make some costly software purchases is not when you’re halfway through a job. Unanticipated expenses can swallow up any savings that a DIY approach may have yielded.
Always Look Professional: In today’s competitive business environment, it’s essential to project an image of confidence, competence, skill, and professionalism. If you see graphic or web design that looks like a home brew, it probably is, and in most cases that’s a big caution to consumers. Even if your brand isn’t the largest in your field, chances are you want it to be—and that means having a visual presence that’s on par with the best in the business. When potential customers see your logo or visit your site for the first time, you want them to have complete confidence in your brand. So unless you have the design experience, skill, tools, and time to create that a completely professional web presence, it's time to bring in a pro.
Be Consistent: If there’s one cardinal rule in branding it is to remain consistent. As the public face of your business, your brand must be recognizable, unique, and consistent in whatever forum or format it appears—whether it’s on a billboard, on a laptop, or on the small screen of a smartphone. An outside designer can provide that sort of consistent brand presence. Experienced designers understand the value in maintaining a brand’s image and have the time to devote to details—like ensuring your brands color scheme is reflected everywhere it appears and that the tone and persona of your brand speak to the strengths of your business. Working with a pro can take some major stress off your shoulders when trying to maintain your brand’s consistency on a range of platforms.
Handling Social Media and SEO: These days, staying competitive means staying connected with customers in ways that are unique to the online environment. Having content that ranks highly in search engines and a strong presence in social media can be invaluable to reaching and maintaining customers. Before you take this on yourself, determine whether you have the time and marketing expertise to do it. If not, you may want to bring in a pro, at least to optimize your web copy, maintain your social media presence, and to drive traffic to your site.
For more information, call Matt Biagiotti at 336.339.5327 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.