As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we tend to want complete control over every decision, task and process. While we wear many hats, it’s simply not possible to be everywhere at once or feasible to handle every aspect of the business ourselves.
That’s led to the increasingly popular decision many of us pursue: outsourcing. Knowing when to outsource or keep the work in-house can make or break the growth and longevity of your business. Done well, outsourcing can streamline your operations, create meaningful partnerships, lead to powerful resources and provide you more time to focus on strategically growing your business. On the other hand, outsourcing when you shouldn’t can compromise your reputation, disrupt your message, stunt growth and even send you on a tailspin that you may not come back from.
At Sound Business Services (SBS), we’ve spent more than a decade discovering what’s best to outsource. And, while we are always learning more about ourselves and adjusting to new innovations and challenges, here are some of our top tips on outsourcing.
Yes, Let’s Outsource!
In this digital age, outsourcing has never been easier or more efficient. Still, you must make smart choices on when to outsource. Here are some of the top reasons:
When my time is best spent elsewhere. As a small business owner, your time is extremely valuable. It’s a win any time you can get something done well that gives you more time to focus on running and growing your business, and doesn’t put you in a hole. Look at tasks that are vital to your operations, but not a key part of your actual strategy. For example, while it’s imperative that you and your business handle the marketing or sale of a product, it’s best to outsource the delivery of that product, a cost-effective solution that enables you to spend more time on strategic tasks.
When the job can be done better. When you’re the owner or in charge, it can hard to admit that others can do some things better. But, the sign of a great leader is knowing when to delegate and when to tap into other resources to get things done in the best way possible.
Take your bookkeeping and accounting. Staying on top of your books and running payroll are very complicated and time-consuming. At SBS, that is what we love to do and where our expertise lies, and with ever-changing tax laws and always-changing employment compliance issues, a good CPA is also extremely valuable. In fact, SBS believes that the best approach is for the bookkeeper, CPA and small business owner to work together, producing a powerful team for next-level solutions and maximum growth and success. Let us know if you would like to discuss pursuing this partnership.
When you can reduce costs and it makes sense. While cash flow and making more money are always considerations, they shouldn’t be your top reason for outsourcing. It all comes down to assessing the cost and time of the specific task at hand. Does it make sense to outsource something for said price, when factoring in the time and manpower it would take if kept in-house? For example, when it comes to a software developer who can monitor your back-end systems and continually update your website, it might be worth outsourcing. Unless you have the connections to quickly recruit an expert in this field, it makes sense to seek help elsewhere; you need to build your brand and keep your business secure and functional.
When Not to Outsource
When you decide to outsource and start establishing a rhythm, it’s tempting to outsource just about everything. Don’t do it – it’s one step forward, two steps back … as the saying goes.
Here are some of the top reasons not to outsource:
When it compromises your core. When it comes to your mission, messaging and manual labor, your team needs to be at the forefront. For example, when it comes to marketing and selling your product or service, or providing great service, your staff is the best source to do this because they have the knowledge and skillset.
When it takes away your control. Just because you outsource something doesn’t mean
you lose control. If you task someone on the outside to handle certain files and
documents, and they deny you access to those things, that’s a giant red flag. When
outsourcing, make sure you establish clear guidelines from the get-go. You must
be able to monitor the status of all tasks, and meet regularly to make
improvements and adjustments.
When promoting, retaining or firing staff. You know your business and employees better than anyone. Outsourcing how you go about developing and promoting team members, and even firing them, must be left in the hands of you and your leadership team.
In developing your team, you must be the one to train them, so that they know exactly what you want and expect. Keeping great team members around means knowing what it takes to keep them happy and leading by example. If you expect them to put in long hours to carry out your message, you must be present, too. And, finally, as difficult as it may be, it’s ultimately your responsibility to let employees go. You can certainly ask others for guidance on the best strategies for releasing someone, but it’s on you to meet face to face to deliver the news.
Want to Explore Outsourcing? We are Here to Help
As you might imagine, deciding when to outsource and when not is complicated. Outsourcing can be a very valuable strategy for taking your business to the next level, relieving stress and giving you more time to focus on growing your business. At the same time, you must work with the people you outsource to in order to make sure they know how the nature of your industry’s culture and language works. Otherwise, lack of communication and understanding will impede progress.
We know this can be very overwhelming, but don’t worry because we are here to help. If you have any questions about outsourcing, or want to get started on a plan to do so, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to getting more done in less time, optimizing your business for long-term growth.