When you run a small business, you may sometimes feel as though you’re constantly fighting fires.  You could solve one problem, only to turn around to face another. However, with just a little research and a small investment, there are some clever ways to avoid the major fires that could hinder your path to success.

1. Accounts

You may be a financial whizz-kid.  However, if you’re not, you will, understandably, be concerned that the financial side of your business isn’t being cared for properly.  

Happily, this needn’t be a worry as there are many low-cost options for running your accounts. Whether you need some simple book keeping or a part time Finance Director, there are a number of reputable and flexible options. Out-sourcing your accounting to a small, local firm is a good solution when looking to manage money, particularly when you first start out.

2. Marketing

Marketing your business can often seem tricky.  You may feel that you’re pouring money into something without being sure of any return.

Whilst it’s true that marketing is as much about art as science, a good agency would take the time to understand what your business really needs, and in which order. It could then propose specific activities with clear measurements of success.

By working closely with an agency and taking the time to evaluate the results, you will soon establish where and how you need to spend your marketing funds.

3. Telesales

You may have the best products or services in the world, but unless the world knows about them, you won’t be selling very many.

Although much maligned, professional telesales could help to identify and convert interested opportunities. Well-trained telesales professionals would be able to identify and qualify the sales opportunities for you that are critical to the healthy running of your business.

4. IT

This industry has moved at an incredible pace. There’s now no longer any need to have heavy duty servers, or even software, on your premises. SAAS (Software as a service) combined with cloud services have changed how many businesses operate.  

Rather than buying huge servers or investing in an IT department to manage it, small business owners are now outsourcing the process to external providers.  As a result, they’re benefitting from their economies of scale and expertise.

5. HR

HR should be a critical part of the well-being of any company. However, most small businesses feel they can’t afford an HR person or team. Happily, there are cost-effective outsourcing options. If it’s HR law, it’s worth contracting with a serious but high-value law firm to keep you acting legally at all times. If it’s other HR processes, then there are HR outsourcing services who can be contacted on an ad hoc basis, depending on your needs.

It’s tricky when you’re running the show.  And it’s particularly difficult when it’s a small business.  Funds and resources may be limited and you may feel as though you’re doing everything yourself.  However, with some small investment in the early days, you’ll not only feel that you’re getting the guidance you need, but you’ll stand a better chance of fire-proofing your small business for the future.

Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, a bespoke provider of HR technology and services.