Ask a freelancer: What’s wrong with my company?

You’re only as good as your weakest link.
You’re only as good as your weakest link.

One of the great benefits of having a freelancer (in addition to all these other benefits), is having an objective eye on all the little areas that need improving in your business. Because, as you know, starting a business is tough. Running a business is even tougher. But the toughest thing in the world for a business owner is taking a clear, critical look at the company you’ve built, warts and all. It’s kind of like asking a mother to admit her child isn’t the cutest in the playground. Freelancers can give you the unbiased, critical appraisal of an industry expert on various aspects of your business:

1. Who’s working and who’s not

Who are the slackers always in the break room?
Who are the slackers always in the break room?

Bad employees try to get away with doing as little as possible, while covering their tracks by citing ‘process’ or shifting responsibility. On the other hand, good employees want to get the job done right, and are usually frustrated by bureaucracy and inefficiency. With limited time to impress you and win your repeat business, the freelancer’s interests are aligned with your good employees. So, they’re a good source of info for who’s really adding value.

Freelancers can also be more objective than your own supervisors and managers. They’re free from internal politics and generally avoid petty squabbles, since they’re not competing for recognition, or promotions, and set their own rates. They’re less prone to playing favourites, as their main motivation is getting the job done, not making friends.

So, during your next round of performance reviews, it’s worth chatting to your freelancer for a second opinion on who’s actually working, and who’s just good at pretending to.

2. What processes need fixing

Identify what’s broken and get the tools out.
Identify what’s broken and get the tools out.

Bringing in freelancers is bringing in the big guns. It’s crunch time, and you need things to be done, and done now. Freelancers need to give you value for money, so they have to deliver maximum results. Anything that holds up the work is quickly spotted.

Senseless bureaucracy, haphazard time management, old equipment, glitchy software, or any number of other issues are costing your business money. And though you might be vaguely aware that things aren’t optimal, you might fail to see the wood for the trees. That’s because many companies’ processes are cobbled together, evolving over time through a ‘let’s see if this works’ philosophy, instead of the best possible solution. And, in the chaos of day-to-day operations, companies often don’t relook processes, choosing to live with something slow or inefficient until some crisis occurs.

Freelancers can provide spot checks, jumping in for a critical look, and being unsympathetic towards ‘Well, it’s always been done this way’. They can give you a fresh perspective and suggestions on how to streamline your business, do away with unnecessary admin, or revamp your processes for maximum productivity.

3. Where your competitors are getting it right

Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, so inspect the grass seed.
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, so inspect the grass seed.

Freelancers bounce all over the industry, amassing huge amounts of knowledge on a range of clients. And though they’ll be prohibited by professional etiquette and non-disclosure agreements from discussing a particular competitor, they’ll be able to tell you industry-wide trends.

Whether your competitors have been implementing Pet Friendly Fridays to boost morale, introduced spot bonuses for successful business pitches, or been spending significant amounts on client outreach, you’re unlikely to know any of this from the outside. But in terms of employee interests, workplace satisfaction, client loyalty, or general marketing, your competitors might be outperforming you.

Freelancers can give you advice on industry best practices, helping you improve and stay on par. They can also give you a brutally honest assessment of whether the quality of your work or products is up to scratch. Extending the metaphor from our introduction, think of your freelancer as a teacher who knows exactly what each child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and where the areas of special attention lie. So, if you really want your corporate child to succeed, call your freelancer for Parent/Teacher Day every day.

Freelancers give you the dual benefits of an extra pair of hands, and an objective eye on your business. So, whether you need a bit of help during crunch time, or want to improve your day-to-day operations, head over to Kalido now, and find an expert freelancer near you.