06/03/2013

By Robert Craven, Managing Director of The Directors Centre


The problem that most business owners (our customers) have is that they think that they can do most things themselves. Wrong. Seriously wrong! As a seasoned but seriously under-performing DIY man about the house I can assure you that there are a couple of things that you need to know:

1. Most people are lousy at DIY.

2. Most people who attempt DIY hate the instruction book
which is usually wrong and irrelevant.

3. Most DIYers only call in the experts when they start to get out of their depth. In other words, when it is too late.

My point:

You can attempt DIY and it may well work if you are one of that rare breed of person who can lend your hand to so many jobs around the house. Even then there always comes a time when you need the help of an expert. And this is especially true in business.

At some point, probably earlier than you think, you need some expert help. And to follow the DIY analogy here are some thoughts:

1. You need a great instruction manual.

2. You need to be honest about what you can and what you can’t do.

3. Be prepared to call in the experts.

There are precious few stunning business books and manuals. If there were a great one, a real bible, then the rest would go out of print. Meanwhile, the search for the perfect business book still seems to be on.

Books are great but few focus on getting you to take action in your business. (Of course I would recommend one of mine that focus on just that activity!) And then there are the ‘instruction manuals’ and so forth (I would include my Business Club in this category) which are action-based materials to help you to make the tough decisions in your business.

Through a process of trial and error the entrepreneur and business owner discovers what they can and can’t do themselves. Understanding the plethora of available expert advice and what is appropriate for your business is a key skill in a growing business.

Most experts do not need to be brought into the business on a full-time basis and in this modern-day economy of ours you can find freelancers or interims or part-timers willing to work with you as and when needed. The result is that you can create and surround yourself with a board of advisers and mentors in all manner of skills that are required in your business. As experts in their fields, they will be up-to-date in their industry sharing their invaluable experience and technical prowess at a fraction of the price of employing a full-timer. For many functions this feels like a no-brainer.

You can surround yourself with the latest, most up-to-date dedicated services of part-time directors (especially experts in managing, finance and human resource director skills, as well as areas like payroll, IT and marketing and branding). You outsource your end-of-year accounts to someone who knows what they are doing (I hope), so why don’t you outsource a few more areas? Or do you really think that you are that good at covering all the different aspects of the operation?

Oh, and by the way, what is it that you are really good at and what should you be doing to maximise your value? And why aren’t you doing it?