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How PEOs Help Businesses Focus on Their Core Competencies


Ben Goldstein


Private business owners get into business because they have an idea or a passion that drives them to do their own thing. I recent read a quote that stated, “Entrepreneurs readily jump off a cliff and build the glider in flight.” While this might seem a bit far-fetched, it is true that entrepreneurs focus on the idea or the challenge of their passion, and tend to allow other items to take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, shortly after starting the business there is a stark realization that it is virtually impossible to give full focus to the product or service that differentiates them. In reality what too often sucks up time and energy are the ancillary needs critical to running a business — often supplanting the effectiveness of the very business model that was charted for success.

The purpose of this post is to urge owners to focus on their core competencies and allow others to focus on the ancillaries. In my daily workings with private business owners, consistent challenges center on areas that are not in their wheel house, primarily in staffing and accounting.

Now that professional employer organizations (PEOs) and outsourced accounting, billing, and collections have become more available and more effective, I would strongly advise private companies in the growth phase seriously consider these services. The reasons include:

  • These firms are familiar with best practices and are up to date on the numerous laws impacting employment and accounting practices.
  • The firms will treat your needs as a priority. Routinely, accounting and employment practices take a back seat to more near-term issues in a business setting. With a PEO, important but often lower-priority tasks including A/R collections, performance appraisals, and timely filing of government reports are elevated to top priority.
  • You will receive up to date reporting to help run your business, rather than historical data you cannot act on.
  • Based on the broad spectrum of businesses they work with, PEOs often can offer specific guidance for your business in their areas of expertise.
  • You are only paying for services you are using. When you have full-time staff members who are given a number of additional tasks to accomplish, few are done especially well or on a timely basis — but you’re paying for their efforts anyway.
  • As staffing and financial practices gain importance in the daily activities of a growing organization, these resources help keep you on top of the key data and practices needed to support that growth.

Recently a number of my clients have begun to embrace these services to help them clear their heads and concentrate on their core competencies. Focus on what you do best and incorporate these services into your mix to allow them to support you with what they do best.