If you’re a small business owner, your origin story probably goes something like this: you had a vision and were ready to be your own boss, so you took a leap. Now your vision is getting overrun by all the small details of running a business. Sonya Tapley, CEO of Cloud Friday, knows this story well. “I am an accountant by career,” she says. “I wanted to get out of corporate and help other small business owners do what they do. Small business is where all the passion is. The owners really want to bring their product or service out into the community, but they’re the most overworked.”
Sonya started Cloud Friday to take on some of the many hats small business owners are forced to wear. Her company provides three umbrellas of service: accounting, administrative, and web presence. “We work with small business owners who are spending their evenings and their weekends, all of their free time, doing all of their back office paperwork and miscellaneous tasks. We free that up so they can actually enjoy doing what they’re doing.”
Below, we interview Sonya about the growing respectability of outsourcing, the most common mistakes of small business owners, and the rising trend of small business:
I would say performing work that they’re not experts in, such as accounting or invoicing, instead of delegating to an expert. Most small business owners don’t have enough of that work to hire an expert full-time. But there’s a lot of different options out there that are affordable for small businesses, if they’re willing to delegate it.
Do you sense a bit of hesitation from these owners to outsource this sort of busywork?
Their business is their baby. Often they don’t want to delegate, because they feel like they’ll lose some control over their creation. I think that if you’re hiring a quality expert, the opposite is true. You can actually really grow your business if resources are freed up that way.
Do you foresee more small businesses delegating more tasks to outside parties? Have you noticed that as a trend?
I would say they want to, but I don’t know that I’ve seen it as a trend. I think there has to be a little bit of education involved to get them moving in that direction and feel they’re not going to lose all of their hard-earned work. But I think with the proper education and a reputable source, it’s really easy for them to say, “Wow, it’s kind of a no-brainer. You’re telling me I never have to think about these tasks again?”
To answer your question as far as trending is concerned, I think that small businesses are starting to pop up more than they have. There was sort of a lull, but we’re starting to move back to where a lot of people are getting frustrated with working in Corporate America, working a ton of hours, and not really getting a whole lot of appreciation. We’re starting to see a lot of small businesses vs big business
What is the most common misconception business owners have of outsourcing?
I think the biggest concern that I’ve heard of is trust. They really need to trust that they’re not going to get burned financially, or that their work is not going to get burned, or their information is not going to get leaked to anyone.
I would say that when you’re hiring a company or an individual, do an extensive interview, ask for references, and trust your gut in the interview process. Your gut’s going to tell you whether or not you feel like they’re scamming you or wouldn’t work well with you. If that gut feeling is saying “run like the dickens,” you should listen to it.
How do most businesses approach you? How do they find you and start using your services?
Most of the clients we have worked with thus far have been through word-of-mouth and referrals. Small business owners hang out with other small business owners. Once they see what it feels like to release all of that minute paperwork and everything, they tend to just want to share it.
Want to see what that feels like yourself? Head over to Cloud Friday to check out their plans and prices.