As a small business owner, you probably understand and appreciate the adage that “time is money” better than anyone. Running and growing your business requires significant investments of both time and money, and the most successful business owners are the ones who know which of these precious resources should be invested at any point in time.
Making smart decisions about how to invest your time and money starts with taking an honest assessment of your current strengths in business as well as your financial position. If you don’t have enough capital to invest in your business, achieving your goals will require more of your time. This scenario, as I’m sure you agree, is far from ideal. It’s much preferred (and more effective) to invest your time in the areas of your operation where you’re the strongest and invest your money (paying others to work) in the areas where you’re less experienced or knowledgeable.
Taking into account that time is money — would you put your money in a bank account that was only earning one percent interest when you have the option of putting it in an account that makes five percent? Today’s business owners and entrepreneurs have many tools and services to get the best return on investment on both their time and money. The ones I want to talk about here are easy access to:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- A global network of freelance talent
Take Advantage of Business Services (Software as a Service)
I remember observing small business owners in my youth who spent hour after hour laboring over the administrative tasks required to keep their businesses running. For example, they personally had to deal with accounting and payroll. These tasks became a bit easier with computerization, but today, cloud-based SaaS providers have made them even more convenient and far less costly.
Signing up with online services such as ADP, Intuit Quickbooks, or Paychex for payroll or bookkeeping services offers small business owners significant advantages such as:
- Only paying for the amount of the service required
- System-generated record backup
- Real-time scalability
- Automatic software updates
- Systems designed for user friendliness
- Easily accessible online support
Guidant Financial recognizes the growing importance and usefulness of these services and has partnered with several SaaS companies to provide best-in-class business services offerings to their clients. Guidant has worked with thousands of small business owners to secure their small business financing, and these partner vendors offer Guidant clients some exclusive discounts — something small business owners should always be looking for.
Taking advantage of these services and discounts should hopefully mean you have the ability to automate manual work but also create some extra cash flow. In this case, you should consider exploring ways to utilize freelancers or remote employees.
Just as SaaS allows you to buy only as much of a service as you need, working over the Internet with freelancers accomplishes the same thing with skilled and experienced professionals. For example, if you need a logo designed, cartoon animation created, book cover mock-up made, etc., you don’t need an entire art department; you can hire one designer to complete the work on a contract basis.
There are two ways I want you to consider contracting with freelance talent:
- To fill in the areas where you are weak or disinterested.
- To give your business an added dimension that you couldn’t otherwise afford.
Some fast-growing freelance areas include support services, such as HR, marketing (content creation and social media management) and insurance analysis. Even bigger than those areas are virtual assistants (VAs). You can find foreign and domestic VAs able to handle all kinds of office duties and support. Administrative assistants replaced traditional secretaries and now VAs are replacing administrative assistants. Many of the most skilled and ambitious administrative assistants are turning to work as VAs where they can earn more, have more control over their schedules and work from home.
Leveraging freelancers for these types of roles goes a long way toward lowering your overhead expenses, but the real power is being able to accomplish work with freelancers, which would be impossible otherwise. For example, you can easily find reasonably priced and experienced software developers in the freelance market to create an app that offers benefits to your customers. If you have an important press release that needs to be written, you can hire experienced public relations professionals over the Internet who demonstrate quality work and often have experience with large corporations.
Time and money are, of course, very precious resources, and as a small business owner, your stewardship over them is critical to your success. While bigger businesses can absorb some waste and inefficiencies, you don’t have that luxury. Too many missteps and you’re out of business.
However, wise use of SaaS, available discounts and freelancers delivers valuable advantages in efficiency and competitiveness. Don’t miss out.