For years, companies have been trying to cut costs across the board. In-house, companies are trying to do more with less: the director of one business sector must now oversee a second. In parallel, external services are seen as a money drain that needs to be plugged up: “We’ll do it in-house, even if it’s not as good!”

As a result of these two mindsets, too many companies become fixed in their ways, waiting for conditions to improve instead of preparing themselves for change by strengthening their hold on their market.

If you’re not an expert in the field, don’t do it yourself

When a task is carried out in-house, it stands to reason that it will be executed with a lower level of expertise, and consequently it will take more time, with mixed results. In sales and marketing, two areas are particularly neglected: writing and design. All too often I hear platitudes like “Anyone can write.” Even if this were true, do you really have an internal resource that can be dedicated to being your brand’s “voice” regardless of the medium (website, advertisement, video, AdWords ads, the CEO’s speeches)? Will the content take into account your business goals with a view to winning over new customers?

In design, you might be able to find a self-proclaimed artist on your team, under the pretext that he or she can play around with graphics software. The word “play” is appropriate, as knowing how to use a tool is in no way the same as mastering the craft of artistic direction. Do you really want to trust an apprentice designer to design the tools that will end up in your future clients’ hands? I would not recommend it. Let me put it this way: knowing how to hammer in a nail does not make a handyman an excellent carpenter.

Keep your resources focused on the main objective: your growth

Beware of employees who volunteer to write or do formatting with a communications tool: either their duties are not well defined or their time is not well used. In any case, giving them content or design responsibilities diverts their attention from their main activities, which should be dedicated to your business’s growth.

I remember a client’s coordinator who was crazy about design. She spent hours and hours on it, with her boss’s blessing. Her boss was happy to be saving on external costs. But there was a small problem: during her three years at this job, the client list was never well collated. The number of errors in emails, names and addresses made executing marketing campaigns complicated, and sometimes even made them miss their target. So, congratulations! You saved $20,000 in external costs, and it probably cost you $60,000 in missed business opportunities.

There is nothing worse for a business than to spread itself too thin and lose its focus. One morning you’ll wake up and be disappointed with your results and your image. Everything will need to be redone. I know this all too well. I interview hundreds of clients each year, and I hear this comment far too often.

Now is the time to act! Put trust in true professionals, then measure your ROI properly, not just by how much you can cut costs. Contact me and we can discuss the real issues involved with increasing your market share.