When to Outsource

August 21, 2012, 10:55 am Alex Brophy Yahoo!7

When and what to outsource is always a tricky decision. To help you make it with confidence, here are the 3 crucial things you need to consider.

When to Outsource

Small business owners have a tendency to think they can and should take care of all business functions themselves - from bookkeeping to branding, PR to procurement.

But if you find yourself doing anything and everything required to keep the business running, chances are there will be no time left to do the work you’re good at. The answer, time poor business builders, is outsourcing.

Outsourcing used to be a dirty word, bearing strong associations with cheap labour and redundancies. But in today’s entrepreneurial environment it’s the only way to go. To buy some time back, if you like.

The big question is when. To help you answer this, here are the 3 key things you need to identify before calling in the cavalry.

1. Know what your time is worth

Central to the outsourcing decision is knowing how much your time is worth. Once this is identified it’ll be much easier to know when it’s worthwhile to hire another pair of hands.

Someone who charges $80 an hour for consultations can save $50 an hour by paying a bookkeeper $30 to crunch the numbers for them. Plus the outsourced expert will be a lot quicker than the business owner and better at it too, so you can probably double that saving up.

2. Know what your weaknesses are

Entrepreneurs often struggle to come to terms with the fact they can’t do it all. Better to just admit there are some things you do better than others and look at outsourcing the weaknesses.

Other people will do a better, quicker job of these tasks and in the end this will only benefit the business. Focus on what you’re good at and let other people do what their good at.

This is especially the case for specialised skills and only temporary or cyclical requirements that are impractical to bring in house.

3. Know what’s important

Identify the key drivers of your business’s competitive advantage and profit (if you’re lucky enough to have one). These need to be overlooked by you or be done by someone else within the business.

You can outsource inconsequential tasks and non-core competencies all you like, but keep these crucial activities within the business. You don’t want to be relying on a random for make or break components, nor sharing secret recipes with them either.

By understanding the answers to these three questions the decision of if, what and when to outsource will become a lot clearer.

Sourcing an Outsource? – Sites like Freelancer.com and Airtasker.com are a great place start.

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