If money was no object or you were fortunate to have just raised investment to accelerate your business development, what would you no longer do? Have you ever asked yourself this? Maybe, you should.
Another business founder and I found ourselves had a deep theoretical conversation dreaming about all the tasks that our businesses would pass on to others to undertake on our behalf. The list was quite long!
It is helpful to recognize that there is a huge difference between the stuff you would like to outsource, versus the stuff you really must to run your business. Perhaps you might have similar conversations at home? If you won the lottery, what would you outsource? Would you have live-in nannies, personal chefs, and a sommelier to run a well-stocked wine cellar? Whereas for the working parents amongst you, perhaps your reality list includes outsourcing your ironing or cleaning on a regular basis to release time for work or family fun.
(1) Your Time is Your Money
I advocate leveraging the talent of others through collaboration to create the most effective outcome where you can. Where funding allows, I encourage you to buy in expert services and software to operationalize your business, releasing time to income generated from your core expertise. On the occasions it is not possible to buy in expert services, many founders fund themselves or their team to upskill. They attend courses or subscribe to regular coaching and mentoring to accelerate their learning in a particular area, saving time and money in the long term. Always remember, your long term vision is the one which makes you rich. The short term vision would suffice only to fulfill your daily needs, and not beyond that.
(2) Avoid Getting Demoralized
There are certain tasks that you can learn to undertake but while some people will love to do them, you will detest. The frustration levels can become so high, it can be utterly demoralizing. This may be because you are not used to doing things that you are less capable of and they can trigger a downward spiral in your mood and wellbeing. The knock-on is that you then loose head space for the things you excel at. Be aware of what you agree to tackle yourself. Failing to do so might even cause you to shut down a part of your business.
(3) Ensuring Outsourced Activity is Fit for Purpose
As a huge advocate of collaboration, you will not be surprised that I see outsourcing as a collaboration from the offset. Every business I buy services from I considers to be part of my team, which means I avoid working transactionally. My suppliers understand my business stage, my vision, my focus at one time and how their skills enable my business to reach future milestones. The importance of taking this approach is that they, as the experts in their field, can adapt their service to best suit your needs, without you having to fully understand every aspect of what they can do for you. When you articulate the desired outcome, those you outsource with are given the opportunity to ensure you receive fit for purpose support. Never over-specify the solution you are looking for, talk in outcomes.
(4) Get Creative Whenever You Can
Outsourcing can be a very difficult decision for an early-stage startup, particularly pre-revenue. One way I have seen many businesses get around this is by trading skills. Businesses team up with others who have complementary strengths to bridge gaps with their peers in reciprocal arrangements. For businesses that are already income-generating, it is important to be aware of the activities you must let go of moving forward and ensure those costs are built into your business model. Without this, your pace of growth will really slow down. So, get out, research, brainstorm and innovate your way through the difficulties you face in your daily business management process.
(5) Be Realistic with Everything
On those occasions where outsourcing simply isn’t feasible, just be aware of the trade-off. Don’t be hard on yourself when this involves compromise. Recognize that you and your business are not experts at everything and be conscious of what you do yourself that may, therefore, carry risk. Manage that risk and manage the associated expectations. Risk must be undertaken in a calculative format and there must be a back up ready to face the failure. If you are not prepared to tackle the consequences of risk failure, you should probably stay away from the same.
(6) Setting the Quality bar for Delivery
In order to create work of adequate quality and meet the expectations of your clients and yourself, you will have to learn to let go of other activities. These are the tasks that you would otherwise spend hours doing and to a far lower standard. Compromise on this at the wrong time and you will not retain clients.
Conclusion: The Bottom Line
While there is always a run down whenever it comes to planning work, it is always helpful to outsource it. It does formulate choosing the right people to get the job done but also accounts for the timelines. Outsourcing, if done well, could always help you save time and money. But, if not planned and executed well, it might result in major loss of revenue.
Sometimes, you must realize that by keeping everything in-house you might be risking your own company’s growth, it’s future and at times, your life. You need to learn to let go of this that matters less to your business. And further, put more focus on the tasks which could help you level up success charts by +1. Hope this article was insightful for you and served you with value.
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