A powerful lesson I learned as a small business person
I have been a small business person for almost six years now. The first five years I worked as a contractor under another umbrella, but I spread my own wings a little over 13 months ago and have been pleasantly surprised and extremely thankful for how things have gone. Being a small business person can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be a pain, and one of the greatest pains is learning when to do something on your own versus hiring someone else to help you. I have just gone through one of those experiences and I can happily say that an investment I recently made in hiring a PR and marketing expert has paid off handsomely in so many ways. Too often we don’t share our failures and successes with others, so this is my opportunity to share with you what I did and why it worked so well, at least from my perspective.
Early in 2011 I began thinking about bringing together a Board of Advisors for my firm. A Board of Advisors is not a Board of Directors, but what the advisors do is provide insight and feedback to my firm. I thought through this more as the year progressed and settled on four individuals who represented areas that I knew would help me learn and grow as the firm grows. The Board met in November 2011 and things are off to a good start. Forming the board is part of the battle, but I also wanted to clearly communicate with others the fact that I had formed this board. Finding the best way to make this known is where the tough decision of hiring someone to help me came in.
I have a tendency to do many things on my own that are better left to someone with more expertise. I can do many things, but my challenge has always been knowing what to hand off and what to keep in any given situation. The ability to delegate effectively is a crucial skill and it is even more important in a start-up operation like mine. On one hand there are always limited resources, but on the other it would be penny wise, but pound foolish to do little things that keep me from focusing on the important things. In the case of constructing and executing a communication plan for my new advisory board I reached out to someone I have known for many years who is an expert in communication and who has all of the connections in place to make the effort a success.
Limpus Communications, owned by my good friend and colleague, Frank Limpus, took my simple message about the advisory board and leveraged it quite effectively across a wide variety of media outlets. Frank is an experienced PR and communications person and he knew exactly where to go and who to talk with to make sure my message was handled and announced in a professional manner. The fee I paid was minimal when compared to the impact that I received from his effort.
Entrepreneurs will always struggle with knowing what to do and what to hand off as they grow their business. My experience with Limpus Communications was a great example of knowing what was not my strength and getting that work into the hands of someone who could do it much more effectively.