Paint the Dang House! Advice for Small Businesses

By Jill Ater

Let’s say you are a painter who runs several small businesses painting houses. You’re good. You know your business, your clientele and your product. You have a great reputation for excellent work and you charge $3,000 to do the job.

You’re working 80 hours a week, but mostly not painting houses.

So, why are you wasting so much time and energy bookkeeping, cold calling and managing the company website? How much is it costing you to be the bookkeeper if instead you could be out in the field painting houses at three-grand a pop?

I see this all the time. It could be the entrepreneur with a great idea running a start-up or a consultant working out of his home; it’s often tradesmen or others who are small to medium sized business owners. It seems that many people who are smart and talented have a hard time letting go of running the entire show.  But the smartest thing they can do is realize that running the show doesn’t mean doing every job involved in the show.

In his 1977 book, “The E-Myth Revisited,” Michael E. Gerber posed the idea that knowing how to do something well doesn’t necessarily translate to successfully running a business doing whatever that something is you do well.  Likewise, my house painter is trying to do it all.  And what inevitably happens? Exhaustion and failure and valuable $3K-per-house time wasted doing work that would cost you maybe $20 per hour to hire out.

But competent help can be very hard to find… and once again, wearing the hat of a hiring director chews up your house painting time (not to mention that being an employer is bound to give you HR nightmares). So what on earth is the answer, my small business owner friend?

Consider this.

A part-time employee can fulfill your business objectives and give you the flexibility to only use them for the hours you need. Even better, if you engage someone via a part-time placement service, the employee can likely remain on the staffing company’s payroll and you simply cover an hourly bill rate, not unlike your relationship with other vendors you currently have. Ta-da… you have the office support you need at a cost you can afford.

You’re not a marketing specialist. You’re not a bookkeeper. You’re a house painter. Now get the help you need and go paint the dang house.

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