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Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #137
Opinions are like... well... you know...
If you’ll pardon the vulgarity for a moment, I want to start this issue with a wonderful aphorism:
Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one, and they usually stink.
I have no idea who first used that phrase. Since I don’t think anyone else knows, I vote we attribute it to Shakespeare because… well… I’m a former English major and that’s just how we roll.
Anyway… regardless of where the phrase actually comes from or who came up with it, the core point has always seemed spot-on to me, especially in the world of entrepreneurship. Talk to a dozen people about your startup, you’ll get a dozen different opinions. Talk to 1,000 people, you’ll get 1,000 different opinions. Worst of all, many of those opinions will contradict each other in frustrating ways that makes it particularly difficult for entrepreneurs to take action.
What’s an entrepreneur to do?
You’re going to find out if you keep reading this issue of Entrepreneur Office Hours!
I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Or rather, some of you will. Others of you will probably hate it. That’s OK… I suppose you’re all entitled to your own opinions.
What if the strategy entrepreneurs love using to improve their products isn’t as helpful as everyone thinks?
FROM THE ARCHIVES…
At some point in your fundraising career you’ll hear the advice: “Never do a live demo.” It’s good advice, but the logic behind it is usually wrong.
Office Hours Q&A
Have you ever used a “fractional” service. As-in a fractional human resources director? We’re trying to scale support for our team as we grow, but we have limited hiring resources, so we’d rather put out money toward hiring sales and engineering employees rather than an HR person. At the same time, we know we need HR, too.
I ask because we keep getting pitched by a firm that will send someone in a few days a week to handle those kinds of things for us. Is it a good idea?
I have used a fractional service! One of my companies hired a “fractional CFO” to handle accounting/bookkeeping.
In retrospect, I’m pretty sure the word “CFO” was misleading. It was literally just someone being our accountant. But “fractional CFO” was a cooler title, so I went with it. More importantly, once I hired a fractional CFO, I no longer had to deal with our company’s account, so it was money well spent.
The same will probably be true for you. If you’re wasting a lot of time/resources/energy dealing with HR (or some other temporarily-outsourceable service that’s not core to your business), hire an outside firm to do it ASAP.
You’ll probably pay a bit of a premium to outsource (I know we did with our fractional CFO), but the time savings will be well worth it.
If you’re still hesitant, just remember there are only so many hours in a day, and you can’t be good at everything. Do the things you’re good at and, and, wherever possible, hire other people or services to handle operational logistics that aren’t unique to your business.
As you grow, you’ll likely want to bring those services in-house, and that’s fine. In fact, it’s a good problem to have. You’ll also be at a point in your growth where spending the resources to hire that person will make more sense.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!