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Doing things for yourself

When you are running a small business you are jack of all trades. You’re probably master of a few too!

I was discussing this with one of my clients (not a small business by any means!) and they were telling me about how they were using their in-house counsel in reviewing their tax structures.

“But wait,” I said, “Isn’t he a corporate lawyer?”

Yes they said but tax lawyers are extremely expensive and since they have him anyway, surely a lawyer is trained in reading the law and can read any legislation?

I see this so often in my consulting business, and not only amongst small businesses who need to ensure every dollar they spend is well spent. I see it also amongst my larger clients who think they should do everything in-house. There is a time and a place for doing things for yourself. But there is also a time and place to ensure you get the advice from someone outside who deals with the issues every day.

In the example of my client who was getting tax advice from their in-house corporate lawyer, I don’t mean to put down their lawyer, but there is a difference between his skill in reading tax legislation and the experience in tax legislation.

The difference between skill and experience is that one is learned while the other is gained. I’m sure you can read an Ikea instruction leaflet on how to put together a shelving unit with doors – you have the skill. But I’ll bet that you can’t put it together as fast and as cleanly as an experienced handyman – that’s because he has the experience of putting shelves together with power tools every day.

What does this mean for your business?

It’s only right that sometimes you should hire someone else to provide both the skill and the experience required for a task, the skill and experience that you don’t have.

However where you can you need to be engaged, to ensure that the consultant has all the facts they need in front of them. After all, nobody knows your business, and all its nuances better than yourself. The marriage of your knowledge and the skill and experience you buy in should provide you with the best outcome.

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