I’m a tinkerer by nature.  I like to take things apart and figure out how they work before calling in someone in to help me (or “calling in reinforcements”).  Sometimes it’s fun trying to put it back together again, but many times it is a huge pain, but I often learn a good lesson in the process that makes it easier in the future.  It   helps if you have a healthy dose of curiosity as well.

Growing up, I used to journey to the library (they are hip again) to check out books on whatever project I was working on at the time – a hobby, computer science, etc.; I can even remember checking out a book on masonry when I had a summer project to build a retaining wall.  Because of my underlying curiosity and desire to learn “a little about everything”, I can say that I have saved a lot of money over the years.  Frustration, no, but certainly saved money.  

If I had the web growing up, I could have saved myself a lot of time, because I believe that you can teach yourself how to do most anything by watching a video on YouTube and spending time on the search engines looking up solutions to a problem.  

People inherently want to share the knowledge that they have gain through their own trials and tribulations and many freely share it on the web.  When I tell people I do this, they sometimes roll their eyes because they wonder “who has time to spend watching every video or reading every article and blog entry on the problem they are trying to solve?”  For those people, I have a quick three step solution to figure out if it is worth doing yourself or calling someone else to do it:

1.) Search for the answer online – Spend 5-10 minutes scanning articles or watching a video to determine if it is worth your time and effort to solve your problem.  It helps to know what the opportunity cost will be in the time you spend trying to fix it.  If you can save more time, meaning more money, by calling in reinforcements, then stop here.

2.) Take a whack at it – Set an amount of time that you are willing to spend solving the problem with your newfound knowledge, then stick to it.  Projects have a way of creeping and expanding exponentially.

3.) Call in the experts – you can’t do it so call someone who can!

This is simple advice, but it saves a lot of aggravation down the road.  When you are an entrepreneur, you have to constantly juggle the time spent working ON your business vs. IN your business.  Ann Marie and I spend a lot of time with prospective client dispensing free advice and teaching people how to do their own public relations, marketing, and sales.  Many try it themselves at first, but eventually realize that writing is hard  and coming up with fresh ideas consistently is even harder, so they eventual call us to help them.  

Best of luck with your next marketing and public relations project!

Founded in 2008, St. Louis-based AMM Communications LLC is a public relations and marketing firm that provides public relations, marketing, crisis communication, social media and sales management training for small- and mid-sized financial institutions, professional service firms and manufacturing companies. For more information, please navigate to www.ammcommunications.com or call 314.485.9499.

One thought on “When to call for reinforcements…

  1. That bit of research that you do up front will come in very handy if you do decide to call in an expert — you will be able to discuss it with them, get the scope of the project down and understand whether the price sounds right for the expert to do it.Outsourcing something that you are completely clueless about is a recipe for disaster.

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