If you wanna be the best, delegation’s what you need!

Marketing’s a vital component of a sound growth strategy, yet business owners are wasting their time on what they don’t know, says Hayley Conick

Small business owners face a tricky conundrum: they know marketing is vitally important for their business’ continuing growth, but confess it takes up far too much of their time.

That’s usually because they’re working arduously but not too efficiently. More of-ten than not, they simply lack the appropriate experience and expertise.

This isn’t just a hunch: we did a survey of 400 small business founders recently. Unsurprisingly we found that almost half (49%) regard marketing as the most important component of a successful growth strategy. Next comes new business (36%), followed by PR (13%).

Rather worryingly though, 46% believe they spend far too much time on marketing – admitting they don’t possess the necessary skills or use their time effectively.

Delegation’s what you need

Even though they know their time is being squandered, business owners are loath to loosen the reins or to delegate. One factor lurking behind this reluctance is that almost a quarter (23%) of small business founders believe there to be a lack of key talent within their existing staff.

But, tellingly, 29% of these businesses declare themselves unwilling to invest in the relevant training courses to make good this skills deficit.

Failure to delegate has had a negative impact: 30% of business owners say it has held back their business’s growth. Alarmingly, only 5% of respondents believed that they habitually delegated in an efficient and timely manner.

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The number of UK businesses seeking freelancers for social media marketing on oDesk rose by a remarkable 45% between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014. This was closely followed by those requiring email marketing (38%) or enlisting SEO expertise (33%).

Smart businesses use experts

Clearly, smart business founders are now turning to freelance specialists to beef up their online presence by means of a variety of marketing tools. They’re waking up to the vital importance of having a marketing strategy in place right from the word go – and the requisite skills on hand to execute it.

Take Jules Coleman, co-founder of UK start-up Hassle.com who faced exactly this conundrum. She says: “When we first started Hassle.com, we were spending 30 hours a week on AdWords. Having realised that this was not an effective use of our time, we turned to a remote SEO and AdWords specialist on oDesk.

“By doing this we freed up more time to concentrate on growing and securing in-vestment, resulting in a £3.5m investment from Accel partners. What’s more, the SEO freelancer grew our AdWords presence by 291% so now Hassle.com appears in the first three results of many primary search terms.”

Securing the right marketing is critical to a growing business. As with any highly complex field of endeavour, you need specialist skills and knowledge in order to attain the best results. It doesn’t make sense to try to go it alone. The really smart business owners are enjoying profitable collaborations with highly skilled free-lancers just a mouse-click away. By delegating in a timely fashion, they liberate more time to concentrate on the really big deal: nurturing and growing a successful business.

Hayley Conick is Country Manager for oDesk in the UK



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