We can often view outsourcing as a luxury because the mindset is such that you can only do it if you can afford it but it is important to consider the factors behind why you are thinking about it.
In the past when I have spoken to people, they often tell me it’s something they are thinking of but not right now because financially, they are not ready and they can’t make that commitment. I understand those reasons but it is also important to think what you can gain from outsourcing and to consider the bigger picture.
What does outsourcing mean?
Definition: The practice of having certain job functions done outside a company instead of having an in-house department or employee handle them; functions can be outsourced to either a company or an individual.https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/outsourcing
Outsourcing in your personal life
You might not have considered it in this way but outsourcing doesn’t only apply in the business world but also within your personal life. For example, have you ever hired or considered hiring a cleaner? What were/are the reasons behind thinking about hiring a cleaner?
- You don’t enjoy cleaning and have a tendency to procrastinate over it
- Takes too long
- You would rather use the time you would spend cleaning, spending time doing the things you enjoy
When you first considered hiring a cleaner, you might try to justify reasons why you shouldn’t use one and often the reasons, come down to cost and security, maybe even a sense of you should be doing it yourself.
Once you make the decision to do it, if you’ve found a good company to outsource your cleaning to, you quickly become reluctant to change things because of the time you gain back.
Outsourcing in business
Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, it is easy to think you must do everything yourself, especially when it is your own business because it is your little baby and surely nobody else will understand it and be as passionate about it as you. After all, you’re working 24/7 to grow and develop it and you have those really high standards, there is no way anyone else would ‘get it’ as you do.
That might be true but whilst you might be working stupidly long hours, are you actually achieving what you set out to do or are you working long hours because you are running around like a headless chicken? You know what I mean, busy juggling everything whilst trying to figure out how to do something, not to mention, trying not to forget something.
Sadly, what actually happens is you get so caught up, you can’t see the wood for the trees. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone but you get the idea, yes, there are the financial implications of outsourcing but what is the financial cost on your health and how sustainable is it for you to consider working in this way?
You’ve probably heard this before but outsourcing is the key to business growth and maintaining profitability.
The driving factors
I have already highlighted some of the reasons why you might outsource your cleaning, but some of those factors might also apply to your business. On top of those reasons, there are many more including (and in no particular order):
- Work-life balance. This is often a key reason for outsourcing, there are lots of things you want to be doing, whether it involves working on/in your business or having the time to do the things you enjoy, such as having more time for hobbies and/or spending time with family and friends.
- Increase productivity. There are always those tasks you don’t enjoy or perhaps you are not very good at them. They can often be repetitive or time-consuming and are a necessary evil and must be done but don’t add any monetary value to your business. For example, your business admin to keep you organised and to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Reduce costs. If you look at all the tasks/projects you are working on, how many of those tasks are lower value in terms of your expertise and/or monetary value? If you were to create a list of everything you do, how much time do you spend on those lower value tasks versus the tasks that add high value to your business?
- Increased efficiency. Outsourcing tasks to experts/specialists allows them to implement their skills and knowledge, allowing you the time to concentrate on the core elements of your business. For example, if you are a copywriter, your time is best spent creating the copy rather than doing the actual research which can often be time-consuming. If your hourly rate is £80 and you know you can outsource for half that cost, it gives you the headspace to think about the project.
- Increased opportunities. Using experts allows you to increase your service offerings because you are able to draw on the expertise of others. For example, I work with a techy guy to offer tech support and web design.
- Innovation. Gaining additional time allows you the headspace to focus on your business, time to consider new ideas and to think about existing processes and how your processes and systems could be improved moving forward.
- Flexibility. If timescales really are an issue for you, due to the juggle of trying to do everything, using an expert could allow you the freedom to know whilst you are working on a project, other elements of that project are being carried out by someone else.
Whilst there are lots of benefits to outsourcing, there are also many concerns and like with anything, you will have heard horror stories, you may have even experienced poor service yourself.
- Fear. The person/business will never understand it in the same way I do because it is my business and I have worked so hard to get it to this point. This is where you need to be clear on the level and type of support you require, along with providing a very clear and detailed brief. I usually find it is useful if I understand the bigger picture, not to mention what their values and goals for the business.
- Lack of control. You might not want to admit but you are a control freak, but as mentioned above, it is important that you give direction, along with a clear brief, and set and manage expectations.
- Security risks. Naturally, this will always be a concern but with the introduction of GDPR, it is important to check what measures will be implemented to stop any security issues before they arise. For example, if you need to share login information, how will you share the data? You should also ensure you have contracts in place to protect all parties involved, as well as checking the person you outsource to, has the relevant insurance.
- Poor communication. This can be a big one, especially as things can often get lost in translation. Always double, triple-check that the person/business you are outsourcing to has clearly understood what you have asked for, leaving no room for any ambiguities.
- Reduced standards and quality. Is the work produced going to meet your expectations? This is where you need to do your homework, to check testimonials, previous work examples (providing it isn’t confidential) and possibly set a test.
Is it really worth it?
Sometimes you’ve got to kiss a frog to find your prince!
Of course, making the decision to outsource isn’t an easy one but in the next few blogs, I will cover how to find the right person/business to outsource to.
You might not be aware of this but I also have a small team of freelancers who support my clients in different ways providing tech, admin and project support.
If you’re tempted to outsource but don’t know where to start, book a free 20-minute call and we can discuss points to consider.
If you don’t know what the best move would be for your business because you feel like you are at a crossroads, book an Energiser call with me and we can dig deeper into the detail. Talk about the future direction of your business and what you are hoping to achieve. Alternatively, send me a message and let’s see what the best option would be for you.