By Thomas Smallwood, CEO of bizee.co
Chances are, if you are reading this, you need to find ways to grow your income but you don’t have the time.
So, what can you do? – Outsourcing. Simple as that.
But before you let your resistance spiral out of control with questions like – Is outsourced work going to meet my high expectations? Is it going to be just more work for me, because I’ll probably have to train the outsourcers first? How much is it going to cost? – think about why it is you are considering it?
If you are looking to gain back some precious time, to increase productivity or focus on that which brings you the greater ROI, then here are 5 indispensable rules to follow:
Decide when to outsource
Although actually there is no blanket rule here, probably the smaller the business, the sooner you should outsource. For example, you can farm out the support, admin and time-consuming tasks to a bookkeeper and virtual assistant.
In the early stages this means you have a load more time to dedicate to those precious first customers - those happy few who you need to nurture into becoming what Harvard Business Review calls the “100 lovers”: evangelists for your product.
But it’s never too late and the right time might just be when you realize you have no time left to dedicate to growing your business.
Decide what to outsource
There is no limit to what someone else can do for you but it must be because you or your business can become better off by outsourcing. Focus on what you and your business does best and outsource the rest.
Make a list of all the tasks you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. If possible assign an amount of time to each. This will give you a clear picture of what you can outsource and the potential benefits.
Perhaps select some areas of weakness, where you have less expertise, and look to outsource to someone with a bit more experience. For many businesses for example this might be the management of their web site or social media.
Typical areas to outsource would be:
• Content creation / content marketing
• Bookkeeping / data entry
• Scheduling & administrative tasks
• Preparing & formatting documents
• Email & phone support / receptionist services
• Building a database of leads
• Social media management
• Web site administration & maintenance
• IT services / development
You only get out what you put into it!
The more you outsource at once, the more time you have to dedicate to the process so don’t immediately think that you need to free up most of your day. Instead test the waters. Begin with small and short time frames, projects or just a limited number of hours per month.
This will mean you can ease into it and most likely it will give you some quick wins. Over time, you’ll be able to increase what you delegate as your confidence grows and your time frees up.
Be specific, clear and upfront
Be upfront and honest about your business and your goals right from the start. This will show the person to whom you outsource what your expectations are, and also get them to buy into your philosophy.
Create very clear guidelines about your working processes and deadlines. Provide as much detail as possible with clearly defined objective and be there for all the questions that might arise along the way.
This investment of time will repay you many times over and help those you hire to bring your ideas to life in the way you envisioned.
Remember the person to whom you outsource may have different standards to you so use specific language.
For example: what you describe as “best” may not be what someone else thinks of as “best”. Say precisely what you mean. In other words do you mean “cheapest”, “fastest”, “longest”, “easiest”…?
Keep in mind that outsourcing parts of your business is there to help you, not add more to your already clogged schedule.
If you carefully select people you feel comfortable working with, or work with experienced agencies, and provide clear directions and instructions you can build a fruitful business relationship.
Don’t hesitate too much to put your trust in others and let go of some responsibility.
Empowering others can really allow you to concentrate on what you do best and enable your small business to scale.
By Thomas Smallwood, CEO of bizee.co
From call centre to boardroom; Thomas has worked at all levels as well as managing his own start ups and building outsourcing centres for a number of SMEs.
He now helps small business owners, start-ups and solo-preneurs become more productive, at lower cost, through outsourcing and virtual assistant services as well as serving as a Non-Executive Director for other companies.