What is the one thing every business should outsource to an expert?
We all have something in our business that annoys us, or we find is too time consuming. What do you feel is the one item in your business you would prefer to outsource to an expert?
Everyone should work out their core skills - the things they love doing and are best at....and focus on them. Outsource the rest. Maybe you can't outsource everything in one go....but start with the things you like least....bookkeeping for example....and let go of more as you can. The more you focus on what you are best at....the more successful your business will become. (I hope it's not bookkeeping...unless you are one!)
Bec Derrington ,
Founder at SourceBottle & The Media Bag
I always think it's important to outsource the things you can't afford to get wrong, like legal, accounting, business structuring, IP etc. And then, when the business starts to hum, you should start outsourcing the things you don't need to do (like admin etc) so you can focus on the things that impact on your bottom line.
Alison Walton ,
Principal at Sensible Office Solutions
Anything within your business that is not your core strength. For me it is marketing.
I feel the best thing to outsource is any thing you feel you are not an expert in an you can save much time from outsourcing.
I work with numerous companies who are really great at doing SEO/Online marketing yet as they do not have the time to do the ground work they outsource it too me, to me these people are the best because they know what quality work involves and you can not just send them some dodgy work.
So in the end of the day if you are time poor work out what you can effectively outsource within the best appropriate time levels.
Sam ( Sameer) Shetty ,
General Manager at NetRegistry
Checklist: Whether to outsource - What to outsource
There are many issues to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource. The points below form a checklist that you can address to help ensure that the decisions made about outsourcing are best for your business.
1. Will the control of the business be maintained in the manner desired by the business owners? The skills an employer wants to be able to easily access and the best way to do this should be considered. A particular choice of labour may simply cut-off the business from the provision of skills in the sense that the business simply contracts to have the work done without any real control over the personnel doing the work.
2. Will the cost of labour decease when 'true' comparisons are made? This means that some detailed work on the true cost of labour has to be done. Labour patterns and usage are important - eg is there a lot of work which attracts penalty payments to employed labour? Are the insurances required properly brought to account? Is the paid time when no-work is done taken into account (eg annual leave for permanent employees)?
3. Is the nature of labour markets manageable so the business will not be left in a difficult position seeking labour in the future? The nature of the markets in which a business is operating is important. Will you be seeking the same labour at the same time as your competitors and does this create certain pressures?
4. Will outsourcing contracts destroy the ability to change or be flexible? How locked-in to contracts are you willing to be? For example, long term contracts for the supply of labour may appear less costly but your flexibility is reduced.
5. Are financial projections about the cost of labour adequate/sufficient for the long-term viability of the business? How far ahead have you made financial projections? Is this far enough?
6. Has 'Quality v Costs' been considered and whether quality can be maintained or improved? Are you outsourcing so that you can upgrade the quality of the labour/work or is it purely for cost reasons? Costs can vary and contracts are renegotiated so an immediate cost benefit may turn-out to be false economy.
7. Will business growth be enhanced by choosing one form of labour over another? If so, how? Will outsourcing grow your business by creating new business opportunities or alliances? If not, are you sure that the business decision has been properly thought through?
8. Will outside expertise be added to the assets of the business? Have you thought about outsourcing a process/function/activity that you currently do not do? It may make good business sense to have certain expertise available to assist the growth of the business. This could be best supplied by going straight to an outside source.
9. Will sales be increased more by one form of labour over another? If so, how? Have you considered outsourcing the sales function if your product or service is good but undersold?
10. Can communications technology be exploited more successfully by one type of labour compared to another? Modern communications technology has made it possible to contemplate and realise the outsourcing of functions that were previously impossible. Alternatively, working from home (teleworking) may be a real possibility.
11. Have the possibilities of cooperating with competitors been explored in the context of common use of labour? Has the possibility of cooperating with competitors or ‘same industry’ businesses for mutual benefit been considered? For example, the routine processing of documentation could possibly be managed at a central location.
Jon Manning ,
Managing Director at PricingProphets.com
Interesting that no one has mentioned pricing, as we provide an online pricing advisory service that clients just love.
Great question Hazel.Its hard for me to give one answer to this, but my top 3 would be Admin, Bookkeeping and Design.
Tim Greig ,
Owner at Green Galah Pty Ltd
Coaching. Ok, I may be cheating with that answer as a great business coach covers all areas. So maybe I am outsourcing my 'mastermind'. The one thing every business needs is a great coach who has run their own businesses (other than a 'coaching' business) and has great resources to share. Other than that, I outsource graphic design. But, good ones are hard to find.
Anything that you are not confident at or takes you too long to do. Chances are that the person that you outsource it to is more experienced, more confident and can product whatever you need in a more cost effective manner.
Anything you prefix with "my." As in, I use "my" accountant, and "my" lawyer. So if you have to consult someone you call "my" [job title], that's what I outsource. Think of who you are as someone's "my" - as in "my" copywriter or "my" graphic designer. That's your core competence. If they don't think of you as that "my", then it's probably best you outsource it!
Kirsty Fox ,
Principal at Spitfire Accounting Solutions
You have to talk to some experts first. If you get it wrong setting up your business from the start, it can be extremely hard to correct it later. Talk to the experts for those areas that are a MUST to get right, then outsource what you don't like doing - think of it this way: If it takes you all weekend to do your bookkeeping, when you charge (for example) $100 per hour for your business, it has cost you $1,600. When you compare that with how much a bookkeeper/accountant charges you for that work, is it really costing you money? Your time is valuable too.
The one item in my business I would outsource is marketing. I recognise it's something I'm not particularly good at, but something that's critical to driving ongoing growth of my business. It's not necessarily that it annoys me, or it's time consuming (although it is) - it's just that i'm no good at it. That said, I've already outsourced some of the technical work I do to others that I know and trust. I've outsourced some work on our logo. I outsourced legal work to create contracts (although not many smes have inhouse legal). Naturally - I think all small businesses should outsource the ongoing support of their IT environment :P