Most entrepreneurs revel in their ability to wear multiple hats. Tackling dozens of tasks at once and multitasking their way from a startup to a consistent income stream.
But while multitasking is indeed something that we all do from time to time, it’s not always the best option. Studies show that when you push yourself too far, constantly switching back and forth, it can do more harm than good –negatively impacting our productivity.
Our brains really can’t successfully perform more than one task at one time –at least not very well; which doesn’t bode well when these tasks are complicated, high-level ones.
It’s understandable that you want your company to grow. However, at what costs? From a growth perspective, you essentially have two solutions to your multitasking conundrum.
- Tactic 1 is slow and steady growth. Work at a pace that allows you to manage one task at a time.
- Tactic 2 is to scale rapidly. You can outsource any specialized and tedious tasks; thereby freeing up your time, and scaling your business concurrently.
For me? I’d go for tactic two any day. For most entrepreneurs, the ability to scale your business quickly and sustainably matters –far more than your skill at fitting lots of tasks into the same time block.
If you’re looking for help scaling your company, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll dive into the benefits of outsourcing, and see how you can start harnessing available resources in a way that’s not just expedient –but profitable.
Can You Benefit From Outsourcing?
There are plenty of reasons that an entrepreneur might consider outsourcing.
Typical reasons include:
- Accessing talents, skills, and service not available within the business
- The need to increase production and output
- Reducing expenses to stay competitive or increase margins
On a tight budget? Need a service you cannot perform internally? Are your staff and management already overworked? Are you finding that your progress has plateaued?
If all these things sound familiar, you, then there’s a good chance that outsourcing could be the right solution for you.
Making Outsourcing Profitable
Of course, when it comes to outsourcing, you don’t want to merely offload tasks in the hope that it’ll somehow make you more productive, or that it’ll end up paying for itself.
Instead, it’s important to set your sights a bit higher: and ensure that outsourcing is profitable.
To start, you’ll want to ensure that the task that you’re outsourcing is something that’s necessary, or adds value to your company or customers in some way. The last thing you’d want to do is pay someone to perform a task that has no real value. So consider carefully first whether it’s something that’ll make a difference.
Once you’re certain that the task will add value (think: customer service or advertising) or is a necessary part of doing business (taxes, legal help, etc.), you’ll want to ask yourself if the task is something that can be automated in some way.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t have to be fully automated, even simplifying the task so that it’s as straightforward as possible –before you farm it out, is a good idea.
By simplifying the task, you’ll be able to save money when you outsource, thereby ensuring that you’re outsourcing in the most efficient, streamlined way possible. So before you outsource your social media strategy, you’ll want to get ahold of a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer!Okay, so your task is necessary and it’s simplified, now it’s time to start thinking about outsourcing it.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that outsourcing can be a viable –and indeed, profitable option for your business.
Here are a few of the top profit-boosting benefits of outsourcing:
- Reduced Labor Expenses: This is typically the primary reason outsourcing is attracting to most companies. When executed properly it can have a substantial and immediate impact on the company’s revenue; contributing to an increase in profits. But again, you’ll want to make sure the task is something that adds value, before you outsource.
- A Renewed Focus on Core Competencies: Many companies see that they are experiencing mission creep; or trying to be too many things to too many people. Outsourcing time-consuming tasks to experts allow your business to focus on skills in which they have already mastered –allowing you to continue to do what you do best –and helping to maintain brand integrity.
- Reduced Stress via Reduced Workload: When you have the bulk of your menial tasks being performed by a virtual assistant, you’ll find you have much more free time. The dwindling internal resources that were adding stress can now be turned into productivity. Just make sure you have a plan that will allow you to put that extra time to good use.
- Reduce Management: Risk mitigation is another a positive attribute of outsourcing. Instead of having 2-3 employees in performing tasks that they have limited knowledge on, you’re able to have the work performed by vetted professionals. Looking at the above benefits experienced by companies that outsource, you’ll see why it is the secret behind so many rapidly growing companies. It has become the core component in business strategies nowadays.
Jobs to Outsource for Maximum Scalability
“Don’t outsource something just because you don’t want to do it,” says Jim Lanzalotto, principal at Scanlon Louis, a marketing and strategic outsourcing company. “Sometimes there are things you don’t want to do, but they are important to your core business.”
Instead, it’s important to keep your focus on outsourcing as a means of gaining a strategic advantage; a way to boost profits, or benefit your company.
This is a lot more valuable than simply offload tasks –just for the sake of clearing your planner.
If you’re wondering if outsourcing could benefit your company, here are the seven key areas that can help to provide a dramatic change from a revenue and productivity perspective:
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
If you are an e-commerce business owner, you know just how crucial it is to get every drop out of your traffic. Most of those visitors to your site aren’t ready to buy; as in 96%! That means you either need to optimize your conversions for higher sales and profit or be content with living off that 4% of customers you’re selling to.
Instead of wasting time and money on guessing and experimenting, outsource to an outside expert. The sooner you improve those conversions, the faster you’ll profit and scale your way to success.
- Customer Service Specialists
Your customer service team is your one and the only direct line to your customers. Consider how inexpensive it is to keep a current customer, and their lifetime value. Then think about your total customer acquisition costs. You’ll find in the end that it makes sense to invest in retaining your current customers.
Hire a virtual assistant who understands your industry and the products and services you offer. A customer service pro can help you focus on the channels your customers use the most. They can also provide you valuable feedback from customers, or help you close a sale by answering questions about your product or service. Being able to outsource customer service will also enable you to scale your company far more quickly as well.
- Lead Generation Specialist
This falls into the same category as CRO. Lead generation is difficult and directly impacts how far you can scale your business. It is also a very technical and time-consuming endeavor. If you’re thinking of tackling this one on your own you’ll want to take into account the trickle-down costs involved with managing your lead acquisition, and the opportunity costs associated with scaling more slowly. Often, this is a great task to outsource.
Can you think of anything more tedious and time-wasting for an entrepreneur than analyzing and ordering inventory over and over again? Diving in and sorting out your system before handing it off to someone else is fine. However, for a long-term savings approach, consider hiring an inventory and fulfillment center or logistics specialist. They can handle all of the details for you and streamline the process.
- Content Marketing
Content marketing is a fantastic tool to connect with your customers. It provides a medium that you don’t have to be overtly pitchy in and is an excellent way to establish your authority and credibility. If writing isn’t your expertise, then outsource it. Find a content marketer who can create the type of copy that converts to help educate, inspire, and generate leads for your business.
- Financial Analysis
Hiring a talented CFO is an expensive person to have on staff. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find a skilled virtual CFO. Consider hiring someone on retainer to work a set number of hours each month; this person can come into the office every few weeks. Take the time to review your financials and bookkeeping to ensure your company is in good health and staying on track for success.
Your alternatives are not so hot: By not employing a quality CFO, you could fail to understand or foresee a financial disaster on the horizon. Avoiding that fate could make the cost of outsourcing a worthy investment.
A Few More Roles to Consider
Generally speaking, just about any task can be outsourced, but here is a quick list of positions you do not necessarily need to be running in-house:
- Administrative assistants
- Accounting/bookkeeping personnel
- Business consultants
- IT consultants and specialists
- Legal advisors
- Marketing and PR teams
- Safety consultants
- Recruitment experts
- Technical writers
- Social media managers
- Safety consultants
- HR and recruitment
Of course, there are many, many more roles you can have done externally, but these are some of the top positions you can eliminate in terms of expenses.
Okay, so you know how outsourcing works, and what roles you can contract out. Before you begin the discovery process, here are a few essential tips to onboarding your new virtual employee.
When interviewing potential candidates, asking the following questions can help you to make the right decision:
This list includes:
Can the contractor do what you require?
Do they complete projects in a timely matter?
Do they meet goals?
Do they communicate often and effectively?
Are they responsive to feedback?
What’s their record like? Ask for references and example of previous work.
What are the payment options?
While ensuring that you’re outsourcing strategically can take a bit of a time investment up front, it’s something that I highly recommend doing. By setting clear goals, and assessing your tasks, you’ll be able to take advantage of available resources in a way that’ll help you to increase your profits, and set your company up for success –both now, and in the future.
Entrepreneurs: how do you identify tasks to outsource?