Small business owners are usually happy to take on a flexible, DIY mindset. They are willing to learn and do all kinds of new things in order to keep costs down and avoid paying someone else. At such a crucial stage in a business’ life, this is not only understandable but admirable. The cost savings could potentially be the one factor that enables your business to last long enough to find its feet in uncertain early times.
However, if you want your business to succeed there are some times when you probably will want to consult a professional. Certain services could add a lot more value to your business than they will take away financially, and getting these things done properly may be a vital step on the road to success.
For most modern businesses, large or small, a website will be a major source of interaction with potential clients. For many, it will be their chief source of custom. Do not be tempted to use cheap template-based websites. These are generally outdated and, perhaps more importantly, are recognisably non-unique. A lot of people today are fairly web-savvy and will pick up on unprofessionalism far easier than their counterparts ten or fifteen years ago. If you want your website to impress people and attract custom, you will need the services of a professional designer. You can, of course, shop around for the best price but make sure you ask to see previous examples of their work.
A lot of businesses will find that an accountant is a key external service provider, and the one with whom they will have the most ongoing contact. Accounts and tax returns are one of the areas where new small business owners are tempted to try and go the DIY route and for very small businesses this may be possible. However, as businesses grow in size the need to be fully compliant and to avoid both costly overpayment and troublesome underpayment quickly becomes a minefield. Most businesses will benefit significantly from trusting some or all of their bookkeeping and accounting to a professional.
Like accounting, this is an area where many business owners go the DIY route. But like web design, doing so can potentially harm your business’ first impression on potential customers and clients. A few years ago, a study found that even one misprint on an eCommerce site cut sales by roughly half by damaging customer trust and perceived professionalism. On top of that, writing for the web takes a lot more than simply being literate. There are a lot of subtleties that go into making copy both engaging and persuasive, and modern web copy also gets optimised for search engines to help your business get found online. These are all skills that are much harder for a non-specialist to use to their full potential.
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