"Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available."
- Jim Beggs
So, you made the crazy decision to become an entrepreneur.
Yes, it’s crazy because being a successful entrepreneur is not easy.
While your friends and family embark on their nine-to-five journeys every day, you’ve decided that long hours and a lack of weekends off is the path for you.
Because you believe in yourself.
This self-belief is a great strength and comes in handy during those tough times. However, it can also cloud our better judgment, like making us believe that we can do it all. And that outsourcing will give you more headaches than it’s worth.
In a nutshell, outsourcing is giving a project or a part of a project to someone outside of the business.
If your company is growing and you’re finding it harder to meet all of your deadlines, giving some of your business tasks to skilled professionals is a step in the right direction of helping to scale your business.
Before you get started with it, like every business move, you have to approach it with a solid plan of action.
In this post, we’ll discuss the most essential and practical steps that you can employ today to help you to get started with outsourcing.
But first, is this the right move for you?
How Do You Know You’re Ready to Start Outsourcing Business Processes?
There’s no manual or cookie-cutter guideline to outsourcing. Each business has different needs and will approach outsourcing differently.
Some entrepreneurs will immediately outsource business tasks from the get-go, while others can wait months, or even years to start outsourcing.
So, how do you know you’re ready?
There’s one question to ask yourself: Will outsourcing these tasks help me generate more money?
As you already know, finances are a critical part of a business.
“Without sufficient capital or the financial resources used to sustain and run a company, business failure is imminent.” J.B. Maverick
Outsourcing should also help to improve your business’s efficiency.
Your business needs to be able to run and function properly, even when you’re not around.
But of course, it’s important to know which tasks make the most sense to outsource.
What Processes Should You Be Outsourcing?
It is natural for startup and small business owners to wear different hats to fulfill day-to-day business needs. However, this also takes you away from what you do best.
So, you might be a software developer who decided to open a tech startup. You’re passionate about making an impact in your industry with exciting developments. Instead of worrying about the tech aspects of your product, now you have to worry about lead generation, branding, client relationship management, etc.
Outsourcing some of these tasks can help you free up some time and concentrate on the areas where you’re strongest.
Which tasks are we specifically referring to here?
Tasks That Will Help Your Business Grow
A good example of this is outsourcing your digital marketing. We’re well into the digital age, and most businesses need a prominent online presence to attract customers. This usually involves SEO, blogging/articles, social media, case studies, etc.
Digital marketing plays a significant role in helping you reach your market. Outsourcing this to a company or agency will help you worry less about this essential aspect of your marketing.
Tasks such as bookkeeping or IT support are an essential part of your business, but it can be costly to bring on a full-time accountant or IT specialist. If you outsource, your accountant can come in from time to time, and you can reach out to an IT specialist when you’ve got upgrades to do or when you need their support.
Tasks You’re Not Good At
It makes perfect sense to outsource tasks you’re not good at because, as human beings, we can’t be good at everything we do.
For instance, if you’re not organized and struggle to respond to emails on time, this will hurt your business. A virtual assistant can manage some of these administrative tasks and help you get organized for just a few hours per week.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the benefits of outsourcing and what tasks can be outsourced, let’s get into how to roll out an outsourcing plan successfully.
5 Tips on Getting Started with Outsourcing
Taking baby steps is the key to remaining sane throughout this whole process. If you’re starting out, aim for shorter contracts to test the waters first. This will help you see if the individual is the right fit, and it will also help you iron out any communication challenges you might encounter.
You can start small with periodic tasks such as accounting services.
If you’ve been handling your accounts to cut costs, it can be challenging to sort out your taxes, invoices, expenses, and other requirements. The great thing about outsourcing accounting services is that many accountants already accept outsourced work. They can also help you to develop a financial management system that will help to keep your accounts in check.
Reach Out to Your Network
The problem with CVs or resumes is that they don’t really tell you much about the person. Sure, you can get an idea of what they’re capable of, but the best way to get a good understanding of what this individual has to offer is by asking someone who’s worked with them before.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network to see if they can refer anyone your way.
This network can be fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, close friends, family, etc. Basically, anyone’s opinion that you can trust. If they know you well, they may also be able to refer someone who’ll be a great culture and personality fit to your company.
Express Clear Expectations
The individual or company you’ve outsourced your business tasks to won’t be able to meet your expectations if they’re not clearly outlined. They need to understand the scope of the project and what goals you’re hoping to achieve by bringing them on board.
Don’t be afraid to take your time in expressing these expectations, even in the interview phase, to gauge whether or not the candidate will be able to meet them.
While expressing your expectations, you also want to allow room for the expert to be the expert. So, if you’ve reached out to web designers for your website, you might have some ideas on what you’d like; however, since they’re the experts, ask them what their thoughts are. Remember that you brought them in for a reason. So, be open to their opinions. Who knows? It might help you achieve a better final product.
Spend Time on the Process
Start thinking of outsourcing as an investment in the company.
You’re reaching out to experts who are going to hopefully help you bring more money into the company. With this in mind, it’s essential to spend the required time and effort in training your outsourced workers. This will help to ensure that they’re a great fit and can deliver the quality of work you need them to.
For instance, if you have a business blog and are looking to get a ghostwriter, it’s not just about getting a writer who can write well. There are plenty of those.
It’s about getting a writer who understands your business, how you operate, your company culture, your brand voice, etc. Understanding these will help the writer create content that connects with your brand and your market.
So, spend time on creating notes about your company, test runs, a style guide, a guideline on how the pitching process works, etc.
It’s better to spend money and time up front getting the right team, training them, and ensuring they’re the right fit for your company than to deal with workers who aren’t clear on how to meet your expectations and who deliver mediocre work later on.
Don’t Give Up All Control
Sure, your accountant helps you keep your books in order, and your new business blogger is helping you create the right content for your market, but what happens when they get sick? Or worse, suddenly cut off all communication with you?
Unfortunately these things happen, so it’s important to stay on top of things and know how your company runs.
Remember this fact: No one loves your company as you do. No one will work as hard as you do for your company. By all means, enjoy the benefits of outsourcing your tasks to experts, but don’t step too far away and not know how some aspects of your business run.
Everybody Needs Help from Time to Time
The fact that you’re reading this article is a good thing; it likely means your business is growing. This exciting phase for your business can also be scary as the idea of outsourcing becomes more and more of a need. By following the above-mentioned tips, you can get started with finding the right people to improve your efficiency and help you grow your business even further.