Your 500-piece mailing needs to go out by the end of the week? A client proposal needs to be typed and proofread by Monday morning? No problem, just have your assistant--oh, wait a second. Your city's zoning laws don't allow you to hire employees. Even if they did, where would you put one--in the hall closet?
If you don't have enough space or work to invest in an employee, but still have more duties than you can handle, consider turning to business-support services, which provide outside help on an as-needed basis. It's like having employees on call, except you don't have to bother with training, paying for downtime, the complexities of payroll and benefits, or finding room and money for another workstation in your home.
"Why do you want to get bogged down by the grunt work that's involved in running a business--composing this and refining that?" says Lynette Smith, executive director of the Association of Business Support Services International Inc. "There are things you're better at and should be spending your time on. It's helpful to know what you're not very good at and simply subcontract that work out to others."
Business-support services can provide a range of services, from "grunt work," like preparing mailings and word processing, to specialized areas, like graphic design, bookkeeping, event planning or professional writing services. Other services offered include database management, translation, Web research and design, answering services, and computer consulting. For a directory of business-support services, visit http://www.abssi.org.