Strategies for outsourcing the things you really need to be outsourcing
We all reach a stage in our business where we simply can't do any more. Our days have become longer and longer and we are spending way too much time doing the tasks that we really shouldn't be doing. We know we need to outsource, but where do we start, will it be worth it, and what about those bad experiences in the past?
The reality is it's not sustainable to keep taking on more and more. There are only 24 hours in a day, and if we spend 16 of them working, burnout is inevitable. And that is seriously hard to bounce back from. We all reach the stage where outsourcing is the only option to keep our sanity.
So where do we start when it comes to outsourcing and what do we need to be aware of? From my experience, the following seven strategies will help you to outsource any task or project in a strategic way that will get long term results:
- Make a list of everything you do right now and next to each item, give a score from one to ten (this relates to how much you enjoy doing that task). Ten means you really enjoy it, one means you hate it. Any 'ones' should be the first things to be outsourced. Then start at the two's, and so forth.
- Set really clear goals and expectations with the person or organisation who you are outsourcing to. This needs to be discussed up front, agreed upon, and in my view put into writing, so there is absolutely no doubt at all about what is expected (from both sides).
- Whenever you are trying to find someone to outsource something to, ask around, get referrals from other people who you know and respect. It's so much easier to find the right business to outsource to when you get a good referral.
- You have to make time for outsourcing something that you currently do. One of the reasons most of us struggle with outsourcing is simply because we don't have the time to teach someone else to do what we do, to go through the learning curve as they get a grip on the task at hand. Take the time to outsource a task properly, to give the person who has taken over the task every chance to be successful at it.
- Outsourcing doesn't mean you now have no responsibility. Getting someone else to do a specific task means you are still ultimately the one who needs to make sure it gets done. So, make sure you have a way to check in, a process to identify problems if they arise, and a mechanism to deal with any issues.
- Don't be afraid to try a few different outsourcing models. The truth is that if you are not good at outsourcing, and most of us aren't, it might take you a while to get the hang of it, So be prepared to have a few false starts, but don't slide back into the "it's easier to do it all myself" mindset, because that will get you in trouble long-term.
- Last but not least, don't try and outsource everything in one hit. Start slowly, learn from your mistakes, start to see the benefits, get to know yourself a little better on terms of what you are like at letting go, and become better at outsourcing over time.
I'm certain that if you follow the above, your outsourcing experience will be a good one. You might even start to enjoy it, and you certainly will see the benefits on many levels.
About the contributor:
Andrew Griffiths is Australia's leading Small Business author with 12 books published and currently sold in over 60 countries. He is widely acknowledged as one of the leading minds in the Small Business space. He is a regular columnist on Inc.com out of New York, a Small Business commentator for CBS, a Mentor in the highly acclaimed Key Person of Influence programme and much more. Touting his own unique style of street-smart wisdom and inspiration, Andrew really is one of a kind.