Today, I want to share some of my best small business outsourcing tips.
Whether you own a big business, a small business or a home-based business; YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL BY YOURSELF.
Yes, you can try. But, that will lead to frustration and burn out AND you won’t accomplish anywhere near what you could have, if you outsourced some of your work. Trust me, I tried to do everything myself and I didn’t like where it got me.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest mistakes I see new entrepreneurs make is doing $10 per hour tasks with their $100 per hour time. Don’t make the same mistake. Your time is valuable and you only have so much time to go around.
If you’re spending your time cleaning the office, doing invoices, organizing inventory or other NON MONEY PRODUCING TASKS, please stop it immediately. Your most important tasks are sales, marketing and lead generation. Everything else should be delegated, or done AFTER your money producing activities are finished.
Like I mention in other articles on my blog, the technical work of your business is not your real business. Marketing, promoting and selling your technical work is your REAL business.
For instance, if you own a restaurant, cooking and running your restaurant aren’t your real business. Although those things are very important, MARKETING AND PROMOTING your restaurant is your real business. Does that make sense?
To put it in perspective, you could have the best food and service in your town. Your steaks at your restaurant could be “out of this world”. But, if no one knows about your business, you won’t be in business long.
Your products or services are never your real business. MARKETING and SELLING your products or services is your real business.
To help you get your life back, and work smart, I want to share some of my favorite outsourcing tips for small business owners.
If there is one mistake that I regret the most in my business, it’s that I didn’t outsource sooner. Instead of outsourcing tasks, I tried to do everything myself and ended up working twice as hard, for twice as long as I should have.
You see, if you have a small business, you can’t do everything yourself! If you’re a cheap skate like I was, you will justify that you don’t have enough money to hire other people to help you, so you will just do everything yourself. As a result, you will be busy, spinning your wheels, going nowhere fast!
That’s what most small business owners do. And that’s why most businesses fail.
You see, not all of the tasks that you do every day are EQUAL. In fact, only a few of the things you do are MONEY PRODUCING ACTIVITIES. And if you’re like most business owners, you don’t spend much time on these tasks.
Therefore, you need to outsource most of your work, so you can free up your time and focus on activities that make you money. The small amount of money you spend to do this will give you a HUGE Return on Investment.
Top Small Business Outsourcing Tips
Listed below, I want to share some of my favorite small business outsourcing tips. They are listed in no particular order.
# 1 Know Which Activities Generate You Income
The money producing activities in your business are product development, meeting with clients, showing presentations, following up with clients and leads, and advertising/sales/marketing. Cleaning your office is not a money producing activity. Neither is surfing the web or organizing your inventory. Make sure that you spend at least 80 to 90 percent of your working hours on the money producing activities. Your goal is to outsource all the non-money producing activities as quickly as possible.
# 2 Hire a Virtual Assistant
You can hire an overseas virtual assistant for $20 to $40 per day. They can respond to emails for you, take care of online shopping, do invoices and countless other things for you. Even if you have a virtual assistant work for you just one day a week, it will save you a lot of time. I use sites such as upwork.com to find virtual assistants.
# 3 Know Which Activities You Enjoy and Are Good At
We all have different skills and strengths. If you suck at something, or don’t enjoy doing it, your odds of ever doing that task well are pretty slim. What’s most important is to focus on what you are good at and enjoy, and outsource everything else in your business. The only exception is the money producing activities. You should always do those yourself, or at least be very involved (if someone else is doing it).
# 4 Track How Much Time You Spend on Different Activities During the Day
For the next week, keep a journal and track how much time you spend each day on different activities. This will be a really eye-opening experience when you see how much time gets wasted on activities that really aren’t all that important to begin with. In many cases, we are busy just to be busy.
# 5 Start Small by Outsourcing Just One Activity
You eat an apple one bite at a time. Do the same thing with outsourcing. Start out by just outsourcing one single activity or project and see how it goes. Start small. You will learn a lot through the process and it will help you discover how easy and good outsourcing really is.
# 6 Each Week, or Each Month, Outsource One Additional Activity
Keep taking baby steps. Every week, or every month, outsource something else in your business. Do this over a period of six to twelve months and you will have lots of things outsourced. And you will be much more comfortable with the entire process. You will also have more time to focus on tasks that actually make you MONEY!
# 7 Monitor Your Progress
Keep an eye on all of your outsourced work. There will times when you need to replace contractors who do sub-par work or fail to meet deadlines. That’s perfectly normal. I typically have to replace 9 out of every 10 contractors. Keep a simple spreadsheet with everything you have outsourced, along with the due dates, contract information and contact information. This can be your single, one stop resource.
# 8 Set Clear Objectives
When you assign projects for your contractors be as specific as possible. Don’t just expect that people can read your mind. You must clearly articulate what you want done, how you want it done, when you want it done by, and what the milestones are. This is hands down one of the biggest mistakes I have made with outsourcing. In the beginning, there was lots of confusion with my jobs because I didn’t clearly articulate what I wanted.
# 9 Don’t Always Go With the Cheapest
It’s tempting to go with the cheapest person you can find. Who doesn’t like a bargain? I will have to tell you though that you get what you pay for. I normally ignore the person with the lowest bid and choose from the remaining bids, based upon feedback, experience and references. It’s important to note that I rarely pick the highest bid either.
# 10 Within One Year Try to Outsource 90% of What You Do
Make it a goal to outsource at least 90% of your tasks within the next 12-months. This will free up your time to focus on what you are good at, and it will lessen your stress and help you make more profit. Believe it or not, the amount of time that outsourcing frees up can save you a lot of time and help you make more profit in your business.
What You Should Do Right Now
Make a list of ALL of the activities you do in your business on an average day or week. Write them all down. You should have at least 30 things and probably more. Once you have your list finished put a * next to the tasks that are money producing activities.
With all the remaining activities, put a smiley face by the tasks that you really enjoy. Next, put a X by all the tasks that you don’t enjoy. Start out with 1-2 of those X tasks and hire your first independent contractor to do it for you. It’s really that simple. As time progresses, outsource all of the tasks with an X by it.
Thanks for reading my top 10 small business outsourcing tips.
Remember this, if your business needs YOU to succeed, you don’t have a real business. If you are doing all the work yourself, you own a job. And that isn’t a very good position to be in.
Instead, you want to think of yourself as the Project Manager. You determine what needs to be done; you set the goals, develop the strategy, and then delegate the work to others to help you reach your goals.
That’s what owning a business is really about. Doing everything yourself is the quickest way to fail.