Do it yourself business solutions usually may cause more problems than they are worth. Small business owners even those that are profitable, have a hard time resisting the “do it yourself syndrome” with which their business was started.
Such things as legal documents, tax issue, internal operating systems, business plans and marketing plans are just a few of the items that I have encountered being done by an owner in order to save money.
At some time in the future you run the risk of a mistake being found in one of your “do it yourself projects.” Let me share a few examples:
- A recent client wrote his own contract with a prospective purchaser of his products. Based upon the signed contract this client bought supplies and expanded his operations to handle the new business influx. Three months into the five year contract his customer called and cancelled the contract. At this point he hired an attorney to try and enforce the contract and lost a costly battle due to the language in the contract.
- A major restructure is now happening with another client. The owner wrote his own independent contractor agreement many years ago and now has over 150 independent contractors working for him. In an audit last week, he was told that his form was not properly written and did not spell out correctly the responsibilities of either party. Thus all of the 150 people are employees. An expensive attorney group was hired to help. I don’t know what the outcome will be.
- Filing your own business taxes is another area in which there have been many mistakes. The results of these mistakes have been penalties which the business owner is forced to pay.
- A prospective client that I could not help had invested all their marketing dollars in advertising that did not reach his target market. In our two hour visit, I determined that he did not identify a target market and by his general advertising, self-taught system, he was forced to close his doors after spending the majority of his start up capital in the wrong area.
Mistakes happen, not only in business but in our personal lives as well. I attended a seminar this evening, presented by a friend of mine who shared that there are over 500 ways of taking your social security benefits. A goal should be to maximize those benefits but, unfortunately, most people go the social security office and sign up without obtaining professional advice that may be worth thousands of dollars to the bottom line.
Just as you have a specialty in your product or service and you know that it will provide a benefit to the users, likewise, others can provide a benefit to you. Using professional services often provide the best possible return of your business investment dollars.
Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new. Og Mandino
Nick J. Petra CFP Helping you grow your business is my only goal. www.strategicduck.com