Six weeks ago I received a call from my friend Ebony, a single parent who sometimes finds it difficult to juggle all that her work and personal life throws at her. She was in the groundwork stage of starting a business that would provide a passive income and perhaps later free her up from her full-time work. She was doing everything on her own and struggling to keep her head above water. Ebony reached out to me because she felt like she was spinning her wheels and getting nowhere. I immediately realized that despite her passion, she didn’t understand that she needed more people to build her business.
After getting her to read How to avoid being overwhelmed when starting a small business, I told her business is more like a team sports championship than a oone-manshow. There are a wide variety of skilled people required to run a small business effectively whether your goal is to sell a product or service. Here is my take on 5 key people every small business owner should know:
1. Accountant/Book Keeper:
Your accountant or book keeper is your financial manager, the one who knows what comes in and what goes out of your financial accounts. While the accountant tracks down reports on revenue and expenses of your business, a book keeper helps to manage and keep a record of financial transactions. A book keeper may also do the job of sending invoices to your clients and recording payments made to and from the business.
Ebony:“Well, there are lots of book keeping tools available, Can’t I just use them instead of getting a financial manager?”
You’re right! there are varieties of great book keeping tools such as Quickbooks and Freshbooks available to help run a paperless business. However, you need the help of an accountant to manage your financial transactions using these tools effectively, unless of course you yourself, are an expert.
2. Web Designer:
Ebony: “Do I really need a website for my business?”
In this digital age, even with a physical store front, you need to have a digital destination for your business to make it accessible to people who are more likely to Google your product than hunt for it physically. Owning a website is therefore imperative.
A great web designer will be responsible for creating pages for your website that give a pleasant user experience, presenting your business as a safe and welcoming place. Your website should also be optimized for use with a search engine to make you more accessible.
Do you remember the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”?
Images and photos play a major role in small business. Many people do not concentrate on written messages until they are captured by powerful visuals. Your product should be visually appealing to retain people’s attention. This is where a gifted graphic designer is key; one who will design and create logos, photo sets and possibly business cards that showcase your business in the best possible light.
Images also help with brand identity. Effective images and high quality photos will imprint on people’s minds and draw them towards your product. As your business grows, your designer can also help in business promotional activities.
Ebony: “It’s a small business. Do I really need a brand?”
Yes, you do. Branding creates personal connections with potential customers, leading them to follow, engage with and possibly partner with you. Without a personal and business brand, you run the risk of selling a product with no staying power.
4. Online Marketer:
Content marketing,is a trending online marketing strategy where you give valuable content, related to your industry, to the public, encouraging them as potential buyers. Content marketing also helps repeat business by building trust and creditability with the customer. Content creators are responsible for creating new, exciting and useful content for your website to attract customers.
Once your graphic designer has created an appealing website, you will need to fill that space with compelling content. This is where a content creator comes in handy, creating a promoting content in line with your brand and marketing needs.
Ebony: “Can’t I just hire a content curation service?”
While some people choose to solely hire a content curation service, it’s important to note that online marketers are a more economical choice. This is because they provide more than one service which you would otherwise have to pay seperately for.
Ebony: “But online marketers are more expensive than content curators!”
Yes, if you look at things narrowly, online marketers do cost more, but you are not narrow-minded; not if you plan to suceed at this business. Remember that content curators only specialize in a specific part of online marketing while an online marketer is qualified in the full spectrum of marketing, including but not limited to: optimising your website and social media channels, creating a brand and identifying and understanding target customers.
Content curation is therefore a part of the online marketer’s job. That means in the long run, you spend less but hiring an online marketer than you would in hiring a curator and several other people to do the rest of your marketing work.
Last but not least, the small business owner needs “cheerleading” support. Supporters are perhaps the fundamently key people every small business owner should know. You will find these in family, friends and satisfied previous customers who will promote your business. They will be individuals and/or groups who influence potential buyers for your product and will believe in you and encourage you when you are discouraged or disappointed.
You may be tempted to play each one of these roles on your own but that is a surefire way to burn out, get frustrated and give up. So buckle down, re-evaluate and consider getting one or more (if not all) of the above key players in helping your business succeed.
Do you own a small business? Who are other key players in running a sucessful small business? Share your thoughts with us.