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How to Succeed in Business: Tips From a Superstar Off-Site Office Solutions Provider

Jeff Mehl is the Principal of Daybreak Virtual, the company we at TEND Strategic Partners use for our administrative services.

Jeff’s company offers a supremely important service for small business owners. While he and his team are hard at work on the business, leaders are free to use their expertise to work in the business.

I know firsthand about Jeff’s ability to offer support when leaders need it most, and I’m delighted to share his wisdom with you, too.

David: What do you do to help reduce stress for clients and people you work with?

Jeff: The philosophy that has worked well for me is to view everyone’s business as their “baby.”  And since none of us wants to hire a babysitter that will drop the baby on its head, no business owner will want to outsource services to someone who doesn’t care about their business almost as much as they do.  Thus, we’ve created a culture where our staff views each interaction as unique and important.  At the same time we encourage clients to take their time assigning work to us so we can earn their trust in the small things.  The goal is to become a “babysitter” that our client has no reservations handing the baby off to.

David: If you could advise business owners to take one action to increase their productivity, what would it be?

Jeff: Read Michael Gerber’s classic “The E-Myth” and follow its advice!

EVERY business owner, regardless of the size of his/her business, needs some level of support.  Every business needs an Entrepreneur (the dreamer who has the “big picture”), the Manager (the one that turns the big picture into bite sized, workable pieces), and the Technician (the one that actually does the work that generates income).

The reality is that most small business owners spend too much time focusing on the tasks at hand and putting out fires rather than focusing on the more difficult ones that will lead to long-term growth of the business.  After all, most business are started by technicians, not dreamers or managers.

HERE’S A PERSONAL OBSERVATION:  Look at a business owner who is doing it all by himself, then jump ahead 3 years and you’ll generally find that he/she is still struggling with flat growth, if they’re still in business.  Compare that to the owner who invests in human capital.  If done wisely, he/she will show growth in that same 3 years.

David: What can external resources bring to a business that internal employees can’t…and vice versa?

Jeff: If money were no object, it makes the most sense to keep resources in-house.  This provides for the best scenarios regarding communications, office culture, accountability, shared objectives and relationships.  But since very few small business owners can say that money is no object, outsourcing becomes a necessity.  The good thing is that, when done effectively, outsourcing does offer some significant advantages over utilizing in-house staff:

Money is saved because you’ll only pay for services that are provided, compared to employees that are paid for their time even when they are not productive. Outsourced services will generally be focused and goal oriented with tight timeframes, whereas employees will typically attempt to fill their day.

Also, outsourced service providers are motivated to continually provide quality service in order to remain under contract.  Employees generally have to meet much lower standards to remain employed. And outsourced staff provides a different perspective than those in-house; often one that points out weaknesses that may otherwise not be apparent.  And this insight can be powerful! Since services are provided contractually, they can be terminated with no long-term requirements.  The same is not true when terminating the relationship with an employee.

David: What counterintuitive idea would most small business owners do well to adopt?

Jeff: Be willing to spend money (wisely) to obtain the necessary support and expertise, even when it’s painful and it feels like you can’t afford it – don’t be afraid to hire a consultant when you hit a wall. Don’t run after every client and every lead.  Know who your ideal client or customer is and focus on them. And don’t be afraid to fire a client if necessary.  A problem client can steal time and attention that would otherwise be focused on other, more appreciative and profitable clients.  Keep in mind that, in most cases, 80% of your profit will come from 20% of your customers, so be sure to treat them well.

 David: What are some of the hardest truths to face up to in business?

One, most successful business owners will face failure at some point – whether it’s failed partnerships, business failures, or missed goals. But these failures make us stronger and smarter as long as we don’t give up. Two, for the vast majority of small business owners, the “40 Hour Workweek” is an urban legend!

Jeff Mehl is the Principal at Daybreak Virtual.  You can reach him by email or by phone, at 877-369-0066.

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About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

1 Comment

  1. Abby Cahn Anton on 06/04/2014 at 10:51 AM

    Great interview, David. As you know, I’ve been dragging my feet for a long time with regard to taking this step. I’m guilty of being the “dreamer”/entrepreneur who does (almost) everything myself for fear of taking the next step of delegating. My fears are related to the following main areas (that I’m aware of): spending money, planning and communicating what I would delegate and giving up control. Oh, and last but not least, fear of failure!!! I’m sure I’m not alone with feeling stuck here. Perhaps we could get a small group of business owners together and you + Jeff could guide us through making this transition over a course of weeks/months (via virtual classes) and then you could turn it into an info product. 🙂 I’d be happy to collaborate to help make this happen.

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