I’m sure you’ve all heard some version of joke about a mechanic that is asked to justify a $5,000 bill for basically coming in and hitting a business’s critical machine with a hammer. The owner is shocked by the bill and asks the mechanic for a detailed invoice. This is what he receives:
Hitting critical business equipment with a hammer $5
Knowing where to hit $4,995
I was reminded of this when I spoke with Louise Scopelitis of Red Lime Creative (www.redlimecreative.com) to help me create a logo for my business. We had a discussion about the types of designs I liked and how I wanted to incorporate my last name into the logo. I started to talk about colors when Louise stopped me. She said we need to design the logo in black and white first, because the logo has to work in black and white if it’s going to work in color.
What this conversation reminded me of, and what I tell my clients, is that part of the reason specialists are good at their job is that they spend all day thinking about their area of expertise. Louise spends most of her day thinking about graphic design. When she surfs the web, she is paying attention to graphics to a degree that most of us never will. She also has experience working with multiple clients in multiple situations. Her clients get the benefit of that expertise without having to pay for the hours she spent developing it.
This is why businesses need to hire experts. The experts know more about their line of work than the business owner ever could or would want to; and the business owner’s time is much better utilized working on other aspects of the business, rather than spending hours thinking about what colors to use in the logo.
When I work with business owners to help them understand the financial drivers of their business, I tell them that a canned QuickBooks Income Statement will not give them the information they need to properly manage their business. It will show how much they spend on office supplies but there is additional analysis needed to determine which services and customers are the most profitable.
I know this because I’m one of those strange people that find financial analysis really interesting and think about it a lot. I work with multiple clients in different situations to help them understand their financial drivers. I know how to determine the important financial metrics business owners should be reviewing and how to create a financial forecast that will help the business reach its goals.
So think about this the next time you think that it would be easy to just go online and figure something out yourself rather than engaging with an expert in the field. How valuable is your time and how much are you willing to spend in opportunity cost becoming an expert in some skill you may never use again?
- Barry Brick