WHAT IS OUTSOURCING
Outsourcing is paying someone else outside the company (or yourself) to perform certain tasks. These are tasks that are typically handled in house, but outsourcing helps ease the workload – especially when you are a one-woman/man operation – or the workload of employees for larger businesses.
Outsourcing has become more popular in the last few years because in has become clear that hiring outside contractors to take care of simple, routine tasks give the independent business man/woman (or your employees) more time to take care of more important and complicated tasks.
When you are a one-person business with a limited budget it can be difficult to make the decision to outsource jobs that you can do. You may tell yourself that it is a waste of money. But, in spite of that hesitancy, you must consider the reality that outsourcing makes good financial sense. If you can pay an outside source to take care of tasks for less money than it takes to pay yourself and they can do it just as well, or better – and free you up to do what you really need to be doing – it is a no-brainer. When the smaller details and routine tasks are covered, you can devote your time, energy and attention to larger issues that actually generate profit.
You may consider hiring someone to do the following: answer calls, receive and sort emails (respond when appropriate), set appointments, basic bookkeeping, track expenses, and handle payroll duties. For me, as an author, time consuming tasks that can be outsourced are editing, formatting and submission of manuscripts, which leaves me more time to write. What are some specific tasks for your business that could be outsourced?
A good outsourcing service has learned to raise the level of their services to an art form because they focus primarily on performing a small subset of services. They may even have more advanced methods, computer programs, and equipment that a smaller business may not be able to afford to buy on its own.
There are other areas that may not be your area of expertise that would be more cost efficient to outsource, as well: web design, social media marketing, customer service, etc.
But for now, let’s start with outsourcing the routine, but necessary tasks, which frees up time and money that can be used to increase the overall growth of your business.
THE DOWNSIDE OF OUTSOURCING
Getting started with outsourcing takes time and effort. Below are some things to keep in mind:
- You must train your outsourcing company to do the job your way – especially when dealing with customers. This can take some upfront time, but is critical to maintaining quality and good customer relations.
- Quality must also be monitored periodically to ensure that the work is up to the level that you require, and if it is not, adjustments must be made.
- The risk of delays is always a possibility when using contractors and you do not have as much control over handling the delays as you would if the work were being done in house.
- There is the danger of an outsourcing service suddenly becoming unable to handle their workload for some reason and dumping in your lap an inordinate amount of work that you had not expected.