Let’s get something clear right off the bat. At some point, whether you like it or not, and even if you have all the energy in the world, you’ll need to bring in some extra help to grow and scale your business.
Most successful startups start with one person and a great idea, but for them to be successful and scalable, more people have to get involved; a team has to be formed.
So when I talk about outsourcing, it isn’t a question of whether it applies to you or not, it’s about discerning when would be the perfect time to do it and what the right path should be.
I know a lot of people have issues around this term. It has been associated with a lot of distasteful ideas, which is why before diving any deeper into the topic we need to agree on a practical term.
Outsourcing doesn’t just mean looking for cheap labor and production costs overseas, as many have come to believe. I mean, sure, you could define it like that, but there’s more to it.
Outsourcing IS NOT about “cheap solutions,” it can also be about “leverage.” It can be your path to working smarter not harder. And my article is solely focused on outsourcing as a lever to grow and scale your business faster.
If you’re still in agreement with this approach, then keep reading, because I want to bust a few myths that might be causing you to miss out on the benefits of outsourcing, as well as key reasons you need to outsource. If you resonate with the ideas I share here, then it’s likely you should already be outsourcing.
I’m getting ahead of myself here… First, let me go all Captain Marvel (sorry I couldn’t help myself lol!) on some of the myths that need to be conquered.
3 myths you’re believing
1. My business is too small for outsourcing.
False. This is perhaps one of the biggest lies self-starters tell themselves, which is why they never grow. Any business has areas that are better off outsourced. That can be done by getting software to do the work for you, or by hiring a human being. Either way, your business regardless of size will perform better with some extra help.
2. Outsourcing is for big companies only.
False. Again, this is another deceptive belief. Perhaps in the past, this might have been true, but in today’s digital world, technology makes it possible for any business owner to get expert help anywhere in the world. There are freelancers, contractors, and software technologies that can help you solve any problem or accomplish any objective.
Small business owners now have access to extremely qualified professionals and talented individuals who can lighten the burden or growing a business without the added stress of overhead and in-house employees.
3. It’s cheaper to do it all by myself.
False. Oftentimes, self-starters are passionate, creative thinkers who obsess over a certain aspect of the business. But there are various sections of a company that need to be managed and (especially in the case of an online business) there are certain areas such as sales and marketing that require a lot of time.
Suppose for example, you decide to create your content all by yourself. Is it really cheaper to do so?
Express writers posted that you’ll need to set aside about one hundred hours each month if you want to publish content twice a week (assuming you’re doing it right). And being a content creator and creative writer myself, I can attest to that fact. Do you have 100 hours each month dedicated to content creation?
I want to believe you’d rather put that time into the very thing that led you to become an entrepreneur. So in the end, are you saving anything by trying to do it all by yourself?
I could carry on with more false ideas around outsourcing, but I think you get the gist of things. Now let’s move on to something more insightful.
When is the right time for you to start outsourcing?
Many experts say you can start outsourcing from day one of your business. I think this depends on the type of business you have and your objectives. However, some signs can help you determine if you should be outsourcing already.
1. When your focus and productivity feels compromised.
If you feel your ability to focus on your business will be or is being distracted, then it’s the right time for you to start outsourcing the areas that distract you.
Don’t just outsource because you don’t want to do it. Be smart and strategic about this. Determine your strengths and values; identify your core competencies, and then bring in the extra help to fill the gaps.
2. When you have increasing responsibilities that demand specialized knowledge
If you do need things such as IT to support, customer service, sales, and copywriting or other types of specialized knowledge, then I recommend you outsource these. In today’s world, with platforms such as Upwork, you can quickly get the right set of skills to help unburden you.
3. When you get tired of taking care of those repetitive tasks
These tend to be back-office processes that could easily take up too much of your time. They don’t necessarily demand specific knowledge, but can be draining. Things like inventory, data entry and dealing with accounts payable/receivable, etc., are all repetitive tasks that can easily be outsourced from the beginning of your business.
4. When the need for Executive Roles rises
If you get to a point where your business needs an executive but can’t yet afford someone with a C-level of expertise such as a CIO or CFO full time, it’s time to consider outsourcing. Consider getting a consultant with the necessary level of expertise to come in twice a month to analyze and offer insights on the direction of the business.
The road to success is always bumpy, especially for entrepreneurs. It can, however, be a bit more pleasurable if you start identifying as early on as possible what you wish to handle internally and which activities you will outsource.
The need to do everything yourself is detrimental to the growth of your business. It’s time to self reflect and do an audit on your business and where you want to be by the end of this year.
Are there specific areas you are better off outsourcing and leveraging the expertise, resources, and time that others can offer? If yes, start creating a plan and seek out freelancers, contractors, and a team that can help you execute your business vision.