Entrepreneurs have often seen outsourcing as an option that was only available to the largest of businesses, but this has all changed in recent years. Outsourcing can be a positive solution to a number of dilemmas that business owners are going to experience over the years, but many are unsure of where to begin this process, what tasks should be outsourced, and how they can build up a positive partnership with outside companies. A business owner can impede their growth by taking on too much to save a few bucks, and this is why it may be time to reconsider outsourcing.
Knowing When to Outsource
Owners are going to feel as if there are simply not enough hours in the day at some point, but it is difficult to decide when it may be time to outsource. The two primary factors to consider include the amount of time that a project will require and the owner’s level of comfortability with that particular skill. It may seem like it will save some money coming in on the weekends to input data or clean the office, but is this the best use of your time and energy? When these projects begin to make the business, its products, or its customer relations suffer, it is time to think about outsourcing.
Knowing What to Outsource
Many entrepreneurs may be surprised at just how much they can outsource affordably and efficiently these days. Business owners can move well beyond phone answering services, delivering products, or keeping the office clean. Many are now opting for partnerships such as a virtual assistant that can continue to take on more and more responsibility as the company grows. It is also important to consider outsourcing components of the company such as marketing or online reputation management, projects that must be tended to carefully and consistently in order to see any real results.
Where to Begin
The best place to start is to simply write down all of the major tasks that the business owner and their employees carry out, prioritize them, and then ask how much time they take per week. Some of the most common tasks include answering phones, banking, social media management, accounting, data entry, design, packaging, and customer support. When certain tasks have a lower priority and are taking up quite a bit of time, they can be added to the list of possible outsourcing projects. Even important projects that have begun to consume a majority of the owner’s time are good candidates for outsourcing. It is at this point that the owner can begin pricing these jobs with high quality agencies and decide if the return is worth the cost of outsourcing.
Maintaining Positive Partnerships
Before ever deciding on any partnership with an outside agency, there are a few things to consider. Both companies should have very clear ideas of what is expected of them, the timeline of every project, and what the overall costs will be. Simply getting this information right from the start will save quite a bit of headache in the future. The partnership should also include room for growth so that business owners don’t feel bottlenecked when they need to expand their operations and are in need of new or expanded services.
Outsourcing any component of a business is a task that requires some attention to detail and forward planning. When carried out correctly and proper diligence, however, it is going to free up the owner’s time, cut down on stress, and eventually lead to higher profits and lower costs.