Make Informed Outsourcing Decisions

Make Informed Outsourcing Decisions

Outsourcing can often save the day for small business owners, but it can also become a money pit. How do you know if outsourcing is right for you? Are there hidden costs? Here are some key factors to consider.

First, make a list of tasks and functions you’re thinking of outsourcing. Things like IT services, bookkeeping, HR functions, and answering services are commonly outsourced by small businesses. Generally, non-core activities and specialized functions are better candidates for outsourcing.

Next, consider the benefits of outsourcing the items on your list, looking at time savings, skills and expertise, and efficiency. Identify the activities you and/or your employees will be able to devote more time to doing if you outsource other tasks.

Now identify the risks associated with outsourcing the items on your list. Typical drawbacks to outsourcing are coordination and communication issues, quality control, and protecting confidential information. Remember that outsourcing relationships still require oversight. Also, take into consideration the impact of working with a vendor in a different time zone.

Measure the True Costs of Outsourcing

To understand the financial trade-offs, you will need to compare outsourcing fees against costs for handling the tasks in-house. Calculate your in-house costs, factoring in both direct and indirect costs like management time and overhead. Obtain estimates from potential outsourcing vendors. For an accurate comparison, you will need to include any one-time or ongoing internal costs of outsourcing to your financial projections. Consider the following:

  • Direct fees paid to the outsourcing provider
  • Management and coordination costs
  • Technical setup and training 
  • Quality control and rework 
  • Lost productivity during transitions 
  • Confidentiality and security risks 
  • Unexpected incidentals

Carefully tracking all these cost factors is crucial to determining if outsourcing makes sense for your business. If it does, be sure to define your expectations and the appropriate metrics for evaluating outsourcing services before you begin your search for service providers.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Leverage the Power of Business Owner Networking

Leverage the Power of Business Owner Networking

As a small business owner, you may sometimes feel like you are on an island, solely responsible for every aspect of your business. However, you don’t have to be isolated. Belonging to a strong network of fellow small business owners provides you with access to support, insights, and potential collaborations that are invaluable for your business growth and success. And, equally important, networking can be a lot of fun!

Here are some key benefits of making networking with peers a priority:

Motivation and Accountability

Entrepreneurship can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Connecting with others who face similar day-to-day challenges helps keep you motivated when times get tough. Having a circle of peers also provides accountability which can encourage you to take action on goals.


Other experienced business owners have likely faced many of the same problems and obstacles you encounter. Tapping into their knowledge can provide invaluable insights to help you navigate key decisions and issues.

Potential Collaborations

Getting to know others in your field, or in adjacent and compatible fields, can lead to potential partnerships, cross-promotions, and other mutually beneficial collaborations.

A Broader Perspective

Every business owner and entrepreneur has unique strengths, weaknesses, and blindspots. Regularly connecting with your peers exposes you to different perspectives, fresh ideas, a pool of diverse skills, and new approaches you may not have considered.

Support and Camaraderie

The entrepreneurial journey can feel lonely. Connecting with others who truly understand the experience provides solidarity and support during the ups and downs. Socializing with peers can refresh and energize your outlook.

Networking is not only about acquiring new business leads. It gives you an opportunity to surround yourself with peers who can provide social interaction, business insights, accountability, potential partnerships, and so much more. Join a business networking group in your community and make it an integral part of your ongoing business strategy.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Why Your Business Needs an Operations Manual

Why Your Business Needs an Operations Manual

For small business owners, unwritten policies and procedures can result in inconsistent service, staff friction, and even legal issues. Though developing and maintaining a policy and procedures manual takes work, in the long run the benefits far outweigh the effort required.

Putting your policies in writing will enhance your business’s stability and reduce risk. Rather than making case-by-case decisions, written policies provide employees with guidance on handling common situations. This leads to more uniform experiences for clients and customers. Stated policies also reduce your legal and compliance risks, as staff have clear direction on procedures.

Written policies will also free you from micromanaging employees. When staff can find answers for their questions in a manual, they are empowered and feel confident handling issues without constantly asking for your input. You’ll gain more uninterrupted time to focus on high-level strategic tasks instead of day-to-day decisions. 

Another benefit of having documentation is greater efficiency. Documented workflows and rules enable smoother hand-offs between team members and ensure everyone has the same understanding of roles and processes. Your staff will spend less time figuring out who is responsible for what and more time doing their jobs.

Your policy manual should be customized to your business. Policies derived from real experience are meaningful and relevant. Guidelines that are obviously generic are more likely to be forgotten.

Where possible, incorporate checklists in your manual and also consider posting checklists in appropriate areas of your workspace. For frequent, routine processes, checklists present step-by-step guidance on what needs to happen and who handles each task. Checklists are particularly helpful in situations where an employee must unexpectedly cover for another employee. Even experienced, long-time employees can benefit from checklists. 

Approach documentation as an ongoing process, not a one-time task. Regularly revisit policies to confirm they align with current practices and update if needed. When new situations emerge, view them as opportunities to codify policies for future reference. Maintain open communication with staff during policy changes to ensure understanding and buy-in. 

For small businesses, putting in the work to develop written policies and procedures provides outsized dividends. Your manual doesn’t have to be a huge volume, but it does need to be thorough and shared with all employees. With a commitment to continuous improvement of documented policies, you can reinforce your business’s stability, efficiency and growth for years to come.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Build Trusted Advisor Relationships for Small Business Success

Build Trusted Advisor Relationships for Small Business Success

If your relationships with your bookkeeper, payroll provider, and accountant aren’t top-notch, it’s time to re-evaluate. These three trusted advisors are critical to the success of your business.


Peter Drucker famously said, ”If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Your financial records are the pulse of your business—they enable you to track performance and cash flow. A skilled bookkeeper ensures your books are accurate, reconciled, and up-to-date. This gives you real-time visibility into the health of your business. Prioritize finding someone who gets your books done on time, every time. If they’re not reliable in one area, how can you be sure they are reliable in others?

Payroll Provider

Payroll may seem like an operational task, but it’s highly detailed and complex work that has huge compliance implications. Tax deductions, benefits packages, employee handbooks—these should be handled flawlessly. Choose a payroll provider who stays on top of regulations and ensures full compliance.


Don’t leave tax savings on the table. An experienced accountant or CPA uncovers credits, deductions, and other tax optimization strategies. A strategic advisor guides you in making business decisions that align with tax and your long-term financial goals. This adds directly to your bottom line.

The right financial trifecta—bookkeeper, payroll provider, and accountant—gives you insight and control over your business. Be intentional in establishing these relationships. If you get the feeling something isn’t right with the relationship, trust your instincts and move on. With trusted advisors in your corner, you’re better equipped to manage costs, optimize taxes, and ultimately drive profitability.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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5 Ideas to Spice Up Your Fall Marketing Campaigns

5 Ideas to Spice Up Your Fall Marketing Campaigns

Ever since Starbucks introduced their most popular seasonal beverage flavor, fall has been synonymous with the smell and taste of pumpkin spice. So, taking a page from Starbuck’s playbook and other savvy brands that know how to tap into seasonal trends to grab customers’ attention, spice up your business social media with these top tips.

  1. Picture it fall — use photos or graphics of pumpkins, leaves, hay stalks and other elements suggesting traditional fall scenes in your September and October posts on social media, blogs, and email campaigns. This idea is more powerful pre-season or early in the season, before pumpkin spice fatigue sets in — if that’s even a thing for some people.
  2. Use your (autumn) words — create a fall vibe by incorporating autumn words and phrases in your communications, such as, well, pumpkin spice. Halloween-related words also can add humor and fun to your seasonal special deals and discounts.
  3. Decorate, decorate, decorate did you know Halloween is second only to Christmas in holiday decoration sales? It’s easier to do Halloween decorations if your customers come to your place of business, but there are other ways to incorporate a fall theme if customers don’t visit your place of business. One idea is to dress up in a Halloween costume for a fun October social media post or video. Another idea is to give your logo or your social media business profile photo a temporary make-over with an autumn banner.
  4. Fall photo contest — invite your customers to share their best fall photos with you. Then run a series of social media posts with the top 5 or 10 submissions. Of course, award the winners with gift cards to buy pumpkin spice lattes or beverages of their choice. You can also create a blog or an email to share the winning submissions.
  5. Pumpkin spice latte giveaway — bundle coffee shop gift cards with purchases for a week in October. Create a custom thank-you note sharing your appreciation for their business and this special season.

With a dash of creativity and seasonal inspiration, you can whip up memorable marketing campaigns. What will you try mixing up this pumpkin spice season?

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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5 Generative AI Tools to Support Your Business Communication Needs

5 Generative AI Tools to Support Your Business Communication Needs

A generative AI program can be an invaluable resource for a small business and a cost-effective way to be more productive. These programs can quickly generate unique, customized text and images for a wide range of general business communications and tasks from text-based prompts that you provide.

When using any of these generative AI tools, you will still have to do some work. For starters, the better the prompt you provide the program, the more on-target the results you receive. Also, you may have to tweak the results, either because something doesn’t make sense for your business or simply is inaccurate.

The key is finding the right AI tool for your needs. Here are five generative AI tools that you may be able to use to support business activities:

  1. ChatGPT is a fee-based chatbot can help with a variety of tasks and communications activities like responding to customer inquiries, generating new ideas and content, and automating processes. You can have conversations with ChatGPT to get helpful information or have it create SEO-friendly blog posts, email messages, social media captions, ad copy and more based on your prompts.
  2. Bing Chat is a free Microsoft program that offers three modes of generating content and options to fine-tune results. There is also a paid subscriber level for additional capabilities.
  3. is a fee-based AI writing assistant helps create marketing copy and social media content. Small businesses can use it to develop website copy, generate product descriptions, craft email newsletters, and assist with other business writing needs. The AI can produce copy tailored to your brand voice and goals.
  4. is a free application that will conduct research and generate content in response to prompts. This program allows you to upload a PDF file as a writing sample and ask for new content written in the same style and voice as the pdf.
  5. DALL-E 2 is a fee-based AI image generator creates original images from text descriptions. You can use it to quickly make unique, eye-catching images and graphics, product photos, logos, marketing materials and more.

With just a prompt, these tools will save you time and money while improving all types of communications. Start exploring these options and get practice using them. You’ll quickly discover many more uses for generative AI.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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3 Service Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

3 Service Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

When marketing professional services, it is important to remember that you are selling something intangible. Customers are paying for an experience or solution; there are no physical goods to show them. They can’t see or touch the offering and they may not even be able to test it. To convert prospects into customers, service marketing strategies and tactics focus on building trust and cultivating relationships. Here are three tips that can help you successfully market your professional services.

Highlight results

Measure and visualize proven results so you can demonstrate the impact your services make. Use charts, before-and-after photos and graphics to quickly convey real numbers or transformation. A professional organizer, for example, might share photos of a customer’s closet before and after, or a photo of the huge pile of stuff that was discarded as a result of the organization services. Real numbers build confidence in prospects.

Leverage testimonials and case studies

When you provide proof that a third party endorses your services in the form of a testimonial, you build credibility. The form of testimonials influences the level of impact. A quotation in text on your website with no customer name will be less effective than a photo of a customer accompanying the quotation. Videos are by far the most persuasive testimonials. Showcase more than one testimonial on our website; a large number boosts your reputation and a variety of different types of customers demonstrates the range of needs your services meet.

Case studies allow you to engage prospects emotionally through storytelling. You can talk about your services in the context of a real problem, not an abstract scenario. The case study format allows you to create drama and weave in details. Start with a sense of urgency by describing the customer’s problem or situation and why it was important to resolve it. Highlight unique aspects of your service that provide an effective and satisfactory solution.

Make an introductory offer

Give prospects an opportunity to experience your services without making a long-term or expensive commitment. My free coaching session offer, in the red box below, is one example of this marketing approach.

Marketing professional services can require more effort on your part to provide assurance and tangibility compared to marketing physical products. However, by focusing on customer outcomes, proof sources, and introductory offers, you can effectively convince prospects of the value of your services and distinguish yourself from competitors.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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How to Stop Procrastinating Once and For All

How to Stop Procrastinating Once and For All

As small business owners, we’re constantly juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities, which can lead to endless to-do lists. I’d like to share three tips that help me take action and avoid getting stuck in procrastination ruts.

1. Prioritize and Delegate

When you are overwhelmed by a feeling of having too much to do, that feeling can prevent you from doing anything — everything seems impossible. To overcome this feeling, prioritize your tasks and put the tasks that will have the greatest impact on your business at the top of your list.

Once you have your priorities sorted, consider if there are any tasks that can be delegated or outsourced. This will not only free up your time to focus on growing your business, but you’ll also empower your employees to take greater responsibility.

2. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

A large, complex project can also be overwhelming. If there’s no clear starting point, you may be tempted to put it off until you have more time to tackle it. But it’s the nature of the project, not the amount of time you have available, that triggers procrastination. To overcome this, change your perception of the project by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps with clear milestones. You don’t have to start the whole project, just the first small, actionable step. This mindset not only makes the project seem less daunting but also allows you to track your progress and stay motivated.

3. Set Realistic Goals and Deadlines

It’s great to challenge yourself with an ambitious project, but be sure you have time to do it. Setting realistic goals and deadlines is crucial to beating procrastination. Be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish in a given timeframe.

Deadlines are a useful tool to create a sense of urgency and hold you accountable for completing a task. Train yourself to set a deadline for every task you take on, and work towards meeting your self-imposed deadlines a high percentage of the time. 

If you often miss deadlines, however, you may feel a sense of failure and be tempted to procrastinate. One solution is to set a midpoint check-in with yourself to see if you are on target to complete the task by the deadline. If not, try to shift the deadline to a more realistic date. This will give you a sense of successfully meeting a revised deadline and you avoid feeling the frustration of a missed deadline.

Don’t let procrastination hinder your business growth and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Incorporate these three steps into your daily routine, and remember, consistency and perseverance are key to forming new habits.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Navigating Crucial Conversations: 7 Essential Steps

Navigating Crucial Conversations: 7 Essential Steps

Talking to employees about sensitive issues can be challenging, but avoiding these conversations isn’t the answer. Things have a tendency to fester and worsen when not addressed.

Effectively navigating difficult discussions with your employees can lead to improved attitudes, behaviors, and relationships. Here are seven essential steps for handling crucial conversations.

1. Start with the Right Motivation 

Come into the conversation with an open mind and heart. Don’t let anger, resentment, or revenge drive your motives. Don’t enter the conversation with your mind already made up and focus on what you really want from the interaction.

2. Stay Engaged  

Be fully present and notice warning signs if the discussion goes off track. The sooner you recognize you’re no longer in productive dialogue, the quicker you can get back on track.

3. Create a Safe Environment

Fear leads to defensiveness and shutdown. Make the other person feel safe to foster open, honest conversation. 

4. Manage Emotions 

Notice and acknowledge emotions without getting hooked by them. Keep calm and set the tone you want for the interaction.

5. Establish a Shared Purpose 

Agree on a common goal to anchor the conversation — we both want a better relationship, we both want the project to turn out well, we both want the client to be happy. Remind each other of this shared purpose if things feel rocky.

6. Separate Facts from Stories

The stories we tell ourselves drive our emotions. If we’re angry, we’ve told ourselves a story to justify our feelings. Be aware of the narratives you may have consciously or unconsciously invested in over time and choose more constructive ones if needed.

7. Agree on a clear ACTION plan

End the conversation with clarity on tangible next steps. In sports, an effective coach always provides a player with steps for improvement after making a criticism of their performance — otherwise it’s not truly constructive. Make sure to offer your employee a roadmap for real change.

I hope these tips provide a helpful starting point for facing your next important discussion. Crucial conversations require courage, empathy, and self-awareness. With practice, it becomes easier to connect and communicate. 

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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From Court to Page in 30 Days: My Book on Pickleball Lessons for Life

From Court to Page in 30 Days: My Book on Pickleball Lessons for Life

I’m thrilled to announce that I achieved my goal to write and publish an entire book in just 30 days! In “Dinking thru Life: Lessons from the Pickleball Court,” I draw parallels between business and life strategies and the sport of pickleball.

If you’re a client or friend, you already know about my enthusiasm for the game. On June 19th, I was on the court when inspiration suddenly struck. It occurred to me that everything I was learning about pickleball paralleled what I had learned over the course of my professional career and personal life. After getting positive feedback on my insights from fellow players, I decided to write a book, and set myself a 30-day deadline.

It took me more than three years to write my first book, “How to Build a High-Performing Home Care Business.” When I finally published it, I told myself I would never draw out the process that long again.

On July 20th, just 30 days after starting, I published “Dinking thru Life, Lessons from the Pickleball Court” AND a second book, “Dinking thru Life, In Color (Adult Coloring Book).”

The book covers a broad range of topics, including leadership, teamwork, change management, marketing, and more — all through the lens of the pickleball. Here’s one quick example: the “dink” shot in pickleball, which involves hitting soft shots over the net, parallels my business strategy of gently guiding clients.

While I wrote the book myself, I want to acknowledge my deep gratitude to my illustrator, I could not have written this book without her talent, hard work, and dedication.

“Dinking Thru Life: Lessons from the Pickleball Court” is now available for purchase in hardcover and softcover on my website. The limited edition coloring book based on the new title is also available on my website. Both titles make great gifts for the business owners and pickleball enthusiasts in your life.

Interested in taking the 30-day author challenge and publishing your book? I’ve documented my writing and publishing process in a series of YouTube videos. As you will see, you don’t have to devote years of your life to publish your story. Reach out to me for more information on my publishing strategies and how you can achieve your dream of becoming an author.

If you would like to learn more about writing a book to boost your business, let’s talk:

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