Does “doing it all” really work?
It’s been awhile since I’ve read Plato’s Republic, but it’s one of those books that I find myself constantly referencing, especially during election season. While it is regarded as one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory, I believe Plato may lend a hand to modern business practices as well.
In the Republic, Plato argues that everyone has a particular calling or function in life. Each person should devote themselves to one thing, focus completely on that, and only this way will we have a functioning society. He discusses how a mind that flits from subject to subject can never perform a task to its best ability. Think jack of all trades, master of none. Rather he believes a person should train her mind to focus on one subject completely in order to excel at it and contribute her best to society. Now, many of the Republic’s views are woefully archaic and possibly even politically incorrect in today’s society. But if we take this call for single-mindedness at its heart, we can see its value in running a small business.
Where multitasking fails to help
- Small business owners often feel like they have to do everything themselves. They don’t realize they are being less effective and even wasting time and money in doing so.
- Having to manage things like administrative tasks, billing, and marketing on their own not only reduces the effectiveness of their marketing effort (i.e. no meaningful result, or ROI), but it also sucks the enthusiasm right out of business ownership. If owners are spending time on tasks they dislike, they are more likely to be unhappy with their work.
- When owners and employees are too busy with these tasks, they are not able to give the necessary time and energy to their customers. If a company isn’t running effectively in this way, customers are likely to take their business elsewhere.
- When small business owners hire others to take on the tasks they don’t like or even ones they aren’t particularly good at, they give others in the community the opportunity to do what they love and do it well.
Small steps to success
Small business owners don’t have to do it all, and delegating some of the everyday tasks can do wonders for their businesses. Here are some simple changes every small business owner can make to improve their workflow:
- Hire a virtual assistant. Many sites, including Upwork and Zirtual, connect you with freelancers who would love to do all the work you hate! Contract someone to maintain your schedule, pay your bills, book your travel arrangements, or even stay on top of your Inbox. Zirtual plans start at $398 per month, and Upwork allows you to hire freelancers on a hourly basis. There is also an Upwork Pro account starting at $149 per month (plus a client service fee of 10% on all project payment transactions) to allow you to find the best vetted freelancers for your particular needs.
- Enlist experts to help you in areas where you are not comfortable. Hiring attorneys or accountants may seem more expensive now, but in the long run, they will save you time and money. They will usually get tasks done more quickly and correctly than if you try to do it yourself. The average hourly rate for most New Jersey attorneys is between $225 and $500. Accountants and CPAs will charge anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour for their services.
- Outsource your marketing to companies like us! Forlight Marketing will help you design and implement a strategic marketing plan that will make it easier for you to identify and convert leads. Let us take care of your marketing plan, and focus on what you can do best for your customers. When you’re happy with your work, your customers will notice and have a more pleasant experience!
Selena Noel is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. While attending school, she spent most of her time (not in class) in the Marketing and Business departments of the Penn English Language Programs (ELP) working as a senior administrative program assistant. At the ELP, she discovered a love for market research and content creation that led her into the marketing field after graduation. Selena lives in Parsippany with her cat, Pennske, and likes to read, Tumblr, and travel in her spare time.