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Marketing Tip of the Week
3/31/03
"Install a Toilet Myself?"
(How to Decide What to Delegate or Outsource)

After months of annoyance and clueless plumbers, I bit the bullet yesterday.  I went down to the local home improvement mega-store and bought a new toilet.  And then I came home and helped my wife install it.  It took about 15 minutes (for this I would have paid $200 to a plumber?!), and the new one works like a charm.  I'll leave the details up to your imagination.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I'm extremely proud of myself, obviously. I come from a long line of men who couldn't tell a Phillips head from a Philips Exeter. 

Also, because this story raises an issue critical to everyone's success: what to delegate and what to do yourself.

I assumed that plumbing was going to be one of those things I was destined to delegate forever.  I mean, those big wrenches and the gunk in the pipes... Not to mention the acetylene torches and the solder.

But when I looked at the economics and when I discovered what the job of replacing a toilet actually entailed, doing it myself (by this I mean watching my wife do it, of course) started to make sense.

All entrepreneurs, managers, and sales professionals have ample opportunity to do tasks they shouldn't be doing.  Often we do them because we're comfortable with them, or because we're procrastinating the more different tasks. 

There's nothing wrong with doing it yourself, as long as you face facts and make a conscious decision.  I'm here not to judge, but to empower.  Here are three criteria for whether you should do the job yourself:

1. Economic

Is it worth your time to do it yourself?  Figure it out this way:

How much money do you want to make this year?  How many hours do you want to work?  How much do you need to earn per hour to reach your target?

How much would you pay someone else to do the task you're considering doing?  If it's less than your target hourly wage, outsource. (Thanks to Jonathan Mizel for explaining this gem to me.)

2. Enjoyment

Do you like doing it?  Does it give you pleasure?  Does it make you feel like a complete person, rather than a one-dimensional character? I clean my own home office, rather than hiring a cleaning service, not for any material cost-benefit reason, but because I enjoy the way it feels to dust and vacuum and find really big checks behind the file cabinet.

3. Responsibility

Some tasks are just your responsibility.  In business, two big ones that come to mind are control of finances and marketing.

If you don't have oversight of the spending in your control, someone someday is going to make you sorry.  It may be by mistake or on purpose, but it's going to happen. 

You've got to be in charge of your marketing. You can get help from professionals, but you can't let them dictate your message and tone. Huge impersonal corporations hire advertising firms who create irrelevant fiction (yeah, right, you care about me!).  You have to be real. It's your business (whether owner or salesperson).  It's your passion.  It's your responsibility to tell your story the way only you can.

I hope my toilet story inspires you to take a look at your work habits.  Make conscious decisions about what to do and what to delegate, and you too may be flushed with pride.

***********************************************
Resources for Delegating and Outsourcing Decisions:

First, I'd look at a book called "
Now, Discover Your Strengths," by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton of the Gallup Group. They explain that we are at our most effective if we identify and use our strengths, rather than spending all our time trying to shore up our weaknesses.  It's a very common-sense and totally liberating read.  It comes with a free online assessment. Get it by clicking here.

Second, I'd get comfortable as a marketer. People delegate this aspect of their business not because they think it's a good idea, but because they literally don't know the first thing to do.  Why not download 2 free chapters of Leads into Gold and learn the basics of direct response marketing for yourself?

Third, before you hire a marketing consultant, download, print and read my "Shoppers Guide," The Nine Deadly Mistakes Small Business Owners Make When Hiring Marketing Help. (Right-click on the above link.)

Fourth, before you buy advertising from a media rep, download, print and read my short manual, How to Get Maximum Results from Minimum Advertising Spend. (Again, right-click to download.)

Let it shine!

Peace,
Howie


To find out how I can help you install a toilet or learn how to market your business, email me at howie@howieconnect.com


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