You Know it’s Time to Outsource When…

Manage_TimeHow You Know It’s Time to Start Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be a dream come true… when you do it at the right time. Along with automation, it should drastically reduce your workload and allow you to spend more time with your family. There really is no “right time” to start outsourcing. It’s different for every business. When people start businesses, they often prefer to do everything themselves… at least for a while. But soon they learn, as I did when I was starting my department at Minolta, that outsourcing is the only way to get the work done and maintain quality – and it’s generally a tough lesson for many small business owners to learn (it was for me). Here are a few signs that it’s time to look seriously at help from outside.

You’re Spending Too Much Time on Mundane Chores

When a large portion of your day is spent doing the routine tasks that someone else could really do (often better than you), this is a great opportunity to start looking for a freelancer or virtual assistant to pick up some of that load. First, let’s assume you know how much your time is worth to your business – as, of course, you should. Then look at some of those time devouring “chores.” You’ll usually find that the reality is that you can hire someone to do those tasks for less than it costs you to do them… which means your day gets shorter and more productive – and more profitable.

Maintaining your databases, posting content, submitting content, managing listings, managing spreadsheets, transcribing documents, handling emails, etc. These, and many others, are the tasks that lend themselves well to outsourcing. You’ll find it’s well worth the small amount of time you will invest in finding and training outsource talent to gain more time for the tasks that really need YOUR attention.

I found it to be true with programming shows. I could do it, but others could do it better – and at lower cost. And by hiring programmers, I was freed up to… MANAGE! For instance, when I was programming, I had to take time away to arrange shipment of show equipment – and as a result, neither was done as well as it should have been. I started hiring programmers, and shows got better (and started winning awards), and I organized the shipping much better. Win/Win – period!

Remember, Your Time has a Cost!

On the surface, it seems like it saves you money when you do these tasks yourself. But look deeper. Remember that the time you devote to those simple tasks is still costing you your hourly worth to your company. Let’s make up some simple numbers.

If you are worth $30/hour to your company and it takes you three hours to finish a task, that task cost your company $90. But if you find a freelancer or virtual assistant to do the job at $15/hour, and it takes them the same 3 hours (and remember, it many take them less because they won’t have to answer your phone, plus they may be more efficient than you), that same task now costs you $45 – you’ve cut your cost in HALF!

But here’s the real hidden value… you are not spending that three hours on that simple task… best case scenario, you get to go home 3 hours earlier. Or, you spend those three hours doing something that ONLY YOU CAN DO (arranging shipping in my case), so your day has become more productive, you’ve saved money, and spent more time with your family. How’s that for value?!

There’s an old adage in Communications: You can have your show: good, fast, cheap… pick TWO! This simply says that if you want good and fast, it won’t be cheap… if you want fast and cheap, it won’t be good… and if you want good and cheap, it won’t be fast. I always found this rule to be unbreakable.

HOWEVER… as I mentioned earlier, by bringing in outside help, things CAN get better, faster, and cheaper.

Your Business is Improving

Though many recommend that you start outsourcing immediately, that could cost you quite a bit of money. For most businesses, it’s much better to wait until you start realizing income and have a budget. It can be tough when you’re spending out of pocket… that may not be the time to start outsourcing. However, as you start generating revenue, then it’s easier to carve out a small amount to get help and easier to actually make the decision to outsource.

The Learning Curve Is Just Too Steep

There are certain tasks you would consider outsourcing right away. They’re tasks that you don’t know how to do yourself and it would take too much time to learn. For instance, you may be considering YouTube videos or podcasts. Making these reflect well on your company can take not only specialized hardware and software, but also, getting production values that make your company look good takes experience, and generally, lots of it. Sure, you could invest in the right equipment and software, but experience is not something you can just buy over the counter at the store. The only place that comes from is, well, experience. And that takes time. But you really can’t stop your business while you learn to produce these well. As I said, you can’t buy the experience in the store, but you can HIRE the experience you need to create the materials you need and do it right and on budget (and today, these people generally have their own equipment).

Also today, of course, you can find these resources around the corner or around the world, they’re just a mouse click away. There are freelance sites where service providers are waiting for your job posting. On these sites, providers bid on jobs they like and you get to choose the right professional at a cost that fits YOUR business.

This is the first of a series of posts on the benefits of outsource.


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