5 tips to successful outsourcing
Outsourcing can be a great way to grow a business, and complements business systemisation. There are different types of outsourcing, and each one has different benefits.
Benefits of outsourcing include:
I can blog more on “benefits of outsourcing”, as several of my clients have successfully outsourced. One has grown his business AND at has more time to spend with his young family. But the two main benefits are …
- Outsourcing means that you don’t have the commitment of hiring someone full time. This is important when you only need their skills for part of the time.
- You can probably hire a better skilled outsourcer. Georgraphy and location may not be relevant (and you can hire someone from round the corner).
However you also need to be aware that there can be pitfalls of outsourcing. One of the most common pitfalls I’ve seen is “abdicating” responsibility for the project that’s outsourced. They think that the “agency” will deliver, but often the inial brief is “woolley” leading to a woolley outcome.. How well they deliver will depend on how clear you are on what’s required. But let’s back up a step and think about what’s useful to outsource.
What to outsource?
Step 1 – outsource to get your time back!
For a few of my clients, when I initially start to work with them, lack of time is a bit of issue. So busy – sometimes they become a victim of their own success. So we start by looking at their time, how they spend it and what they enjoy. Often I do something called a “skill / fun” matrix with them. You can do this too.
Skills / Fun Matrix
Start by making a quick list of the tasks you do. Then think about whether they need your “skills” and whether you “enjoy” them. This can be enough for you to have the “ah ha” moment. And if you’d like a copy of the matrix, give me a shout, and I will send you a copy of the “skills / fun matrix”. I’ll even talk you through how to use it!
After thinking about your tasks in terms of “skills” and “enjoyment”. Then take note of the tasks that are a lower skill and less fun, as well as any specialist tasks that you don’t really enjoy. These can be a good tasks to begin to outsource. This is just the first step.
You may need to step back and be brutally honest. Just because you’ve “always” done something, doesn’t mean that you are the only person that “can” do the task, or that it requires your specialist skills.
Start with the end in mind
If these are tasks you currently do on a regular basis, you should have a very good idea of what end result you’re looking for. It’s really important to get clear about what a “successful outsourced job” will look like.
TIP 1: Before you outsource – have a clear idea of what succses looks like.
Who to outsource to?
There are tools such as Calendly for diary management. As well as Virtual Admin agencies who can take over diary management.
These days there are also on-line brokers for hiring trades.
How to outsource
This might sound a bit odd, but it’s likely that you will learn new skills when beginning to outsource. So if it seems “hard” at first, remember that you are learning a new skill – and the short term pain is well worth the longer term gain. Stick at it!
- Tip 2 – learn the art of DELEGATION: know how to delegate work, to be able to hand it over and to know how to follow up and check
- Tip 3 – hold the outsourcer ACCOUNTABILITY: be able to hold the person accountable to deliver, on what they say they’re going to deliver
- Tip 4 – be clear about your REQUIREMENTS: be clear on what a “good (end) result” looks like as well as how you want to be kept involved in the loop
- Tip 5 – state your preferred methods of COMMUNICATION: How do you want to deal with the outsourcer (phone / email / over a coffee locally)? What sorts of times suit you? If you want to respond evenings, perhaps someone in US could do the work, or if you’re an early morning person “go East”. Or perhaps it is someone local is your best option to have the ability to meet.
So, there you have it. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen business owners make is to “abdicate” the task to an outside “agency”. Hopefully these tips will keep you on track for successful outsourcing of tasks. If you want a copy of the skills fun matrix, or want to talk about how outsourcing might help your business grow – give me a shout.
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