"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." --Red Adair
I recently received a call from a very bright guy--a complete A-lister in his area of expertise. He was making his first foray into entrepreneurship and, unfortunately, was pretty distraught. Despite his best intentions, he had just paid a huge amount of money for a marketing campaign with no returns.
In an effort to be budget-conscious, he had decided he couldn't afford a seasoned pro and hired a much less experienced (but enthusiastic) individual to do the job. In his mind, it would probably take a little longer, but, hey, it was cheaper! Well, things spiraled out of control, and he found himself a whole year later with no marketing budget and not an inch closer to where he needed to be. To twist the knife, if he had hired a professional for the work, it would have been finished three times as fast and been half as expensive, with results considerably more effective. Sadly, this story is a common one.
Eight out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 18 months. The reason usually pertains to things like lack of product understanding, mismanagement of marketing, ineffective sales tactics, and poor business models. Startups are often faced with the issue of limited funds--so it's easy to fall into the trap that my new entrepreneur friend did. Sometimes, to get to the next level, you need to hire a pro. But how do you afford one?
That was the problem Shams Juma set out to fix when he launched Quantifye in August 2014. Using the shared economy model, he put together a robust database of some of the most talented experts in process and operations management, IT strategy, marketing and sales, and financial advisory. Some of these folks have full-time jobs, while others are freelancers. Seventy percent of them have graduate degrees, and their average length of experience is 13.4 years.
Through Quantifye's technology, business owners can place a bid for a specific job and immediately be matched with the right professional to help them. Bidders can take Quantifye's suggestions into account, but ultimately choose the prescreened expert they want at a price they can afford. Like the consumer-driven shared economy models we've come to know and love, Quantifye is offering business owners a more effective service for a good price. And independent contractors are able to sustain their freelance lifestyle or just make some extra cash.
The company broke the 100,000 mark in project submissions in less than six months with no outside funding and already has 84,000 projects in the sales-prospect pipeline. Business owners who have used the service once tend to come back for second and third projects.
With more shared-economy solutions popping up in the B2B sector, hopes are high that more small businesses will make it well past the 18-month mark and become thriving enterprises. If you're new to entrepreneurship, it's important to remember that you don't have to know how to do everything yourself. What is important is that you know what your trouble areas are, budget for them, and hire the right professional to support you. This will also free you up to do what you do best!