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Utilizing Outside Services

(October 2013) posted on Wed Sep 25, 2013

Identifying the best type of outside help to use on the business side of your shop.

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By Marty McGhie

Let’s face it, running a business is very difficult. If we were able to only focus on the core business at hand, perhaps it wouldn’t be so challenging. But there are many aspects to managing a successful company: human resources, legal issues, accounting systems, safety, insurance, infrastructure, city, regulations (as well as county and state regs), to name just a few.

And, as your business grows, these issues can become even more complex – which tends to make relying exclusively upon your company’s internal expertise in all of these areas a risky proposition. Of course, using outside help can also be costly.

Your best bet, then, is to target some specific areas for outsourcing. What follows are a few of my ideas that might help you to identify the best type of outside help to use on the business side of your shop, and the right time to put these services in play.

Necessary ‘evils’
Some might consider the first type of outside services to be “necessary evils.” These services would include accountants, lawyers, insurance, and the like. None of us like the amount of money they cost, but we absolutely need the services they offer.

For instance, competent legal representation from a good attorney is a necessity. You probably also use a sharp accountant to examine your books and file your taxes. And you definitely need a good insurance agent to help you navigate those issues, which seems to become ridiculously more complex by the minute. So I think we can all agree that these are the types of professional services we’re used to paying for.

But there might be areas in which outside services can be utilized to an even large degree. For example, from time to time in our own business when we get involved with an employee situation that may require termination, we’ll consult with an attorney we retain who has great experience and expertise in the human-resource area. More than once, he’s advised us to approach the situation in a different manner, with the same end in mind. Yes, this might cost $1000 in legal fees to have these types of conversations, but it might also save you $5000 to $10,000 in future costs by approaching the situation in the correct and legal way.