Everyone in business needs help, from the mega-corporations to us SMBs. The difference is that mega-corporations can add someone to the team permanently, or spend ten grand on a consultant, whereas the SMBs tend to require the DIY approach.

When you need help you know that you’ve got to provide some service or payment in return. But it’s easy to get sucked into something that turns out to be a huge waste of your time with little return. How can you get the help you need without overextending your gratitude?

Do at least some research.

Even if you have no idea where to turn to fix your problem, look it up online. Evildoers are out there and they’ve got an eye on your money, or your time (which is the same thing, right?) Arm yourself with as much information as you can Asking for help FBbefore you ask for help. You can literally type into the browser search bar “I don’t know how to make my printer talk to my computer” and get some clues. In spending 15 to 30 minutes poking around the search results, you may easily conclude that your latest operating system update is too advanced for your current printer’s drivers and you need to do an easy software update instead of calling tech support after all. But maybe you really do need tech support. When you’ve done some research you’re better able to make a smart decision when tech support provides you with options and quotes. 

Set a budget and stick to it.

Your budget may be strictly financial, or it may be an exchange of services. No one is willing to work for free – have a chat for free, sure, but actually doing the work, no way. You can relate to that because that’s just good business. To protect the investment of your own time or money into the solution, don’t say yes or no immediately. Give yourself time to ensure this is the right person to help you, that what they’re offering is quality, and that you can afford their price, whatever that may be.

If you’re looking at an exchange of services, know exactly how much you would bill a client for that time and whether the time, information, etc. that is being offered to you is worth that kind of money. It’s critical to the health of your business that you can afford to spare that kind of time without financial payment.

Ask for help.

Once you know a bit more about your problem, and you know how much you can afford to fix it, you have to actually light up the bat signal. It’s so easy in small business to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and infinitely put off troubleshooting to tomorrow. Asking for help does not dent your pride so long as you have realistic expectations, (a.k.a. you’re willing to pay for services rendered). You have a network of peers at your fingertips, even if it consists of your in-laws and former classmates, so use it. If you’re making your plea via email, send out individualized notes rather than a group ask. Log in to your Linkedin and get some direction from the professional groups you belong to. In a plaza with some other businesses that might have gone through the same thing? Stop in to say hi and ask your quick question. But no one is going to intuitively realize you need help!

Jelly Triangle specializes in digital marketing strategies for SMBs. Contact us to find out how we can help you set realistic expectations for social media marketing, website traffic, and blogging.  

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