Outsourcing: Three Keys to Outsourcing Success

Outsourcing work to other small businesses can help your grow. Here are some benefits your business can derive from outsourcing and three tips for making it successful.

Outsourcing is a term that a lot of people in the US don’t like because big businesses have outsourced so many jobs overseas.

But outsourcing is actually a means of getting work done that provides income to small companies (as the recipients of outsourced jobs), and also helps those small companies grow (by outsourcing some of their own work to other small companies.)

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

When you are a one-person or micro-sized business you not only have to create the product or do the income-producing service, you also need to market the business, answer calls from customers, make sales calls, get a website set up, get active in social media, send out invoices, do the bookkeeping,  and do a whole lot of other things, too. To keep up with it all you could easily work 12 to 14 hours a day , 6 or 7 days a week.

Hiring employees to do specific tasks may not be practical or efficient – particularly in the early years of your business. Your funds may be limited and you may be concerned about adding a permanent expense before you are sure you’ll have enough work to keep the employee busy and steady income to pay the employee. Or there may be too many varied tasks that need to be done, making it difficult to find one person who can do them all well. If your small business is homebased, you may not want employees coming to your house.

You can solve many of these problems by outsourcing work to freelancers or other small companies.

What can you accomplish by outsourcing work?

Outsourcing lets you:

  • Add resources and get work done on an as-needed basis. Do you occasionally need to edit and format very long Word documents or create engaging graphics for a PowerPoint presentation? Outsource the jobs to appropriate specialists so you can use your time to bring in new business or consult with clients.
  • Get work done when you or your existing employees don’t have the skills yourself. Need a new brochure or flier for your business? Have a freelancer or agency who specializes in copywriting and design create it for you.
  • Complete time-consuming tasks you keep putting off, or don’t do as often as you should. For instance, many business owners procrastinate about writing blog posts and promoting them on social media because writing isn’t a task they’re used to doing. Furthermore, running the business doesn’t leave them a lot of time to focus on writing or social media. But web content and social media can be powerful ways to attract business. Outsourcing writing and posting to a freelancer  or marketing agency in your community can get the job done professionally and on a regular basis.  

  • Handle jobs that would otherwise be too big or complex to do on your own. Outsourcing work to competent professionals in your industry can let you bid for and successfully complete work for big corporations that you wouldn’t win on your own. 
  • Focus on your core business.
  • Get time consuming and annoying tasks (like bookkeeping and payroll) out of your hair.

How To Start Outsourcing

Like anything else you do in business, outsourcing takes some planning and research. Here are the three most important things you can do to make outsourcing work for your business:

1. Identify the tasks you can outsource

Keep an activity log showing the things you do. Look for things you do on a repetitive basis that could be done just as well by other people. Look for things you do that you don’t really have the expertise to do and that would therefore be done better or faster by someone else.

RELATED: 25 Tasks to Outsource to Freelancers

2. Systematize tasks

To outsource tasks to a freelancer or company, you’ll need to let them know what needs to be done, and any information they need to do the job the way you want it done.. Put the information in writing being as detailed as you can be about the tasks to be done and your expectations.. Then provide that document to the company you hire to do the work.

3. Locate and get to know companies and people you might want to use – ahead of time.

When you attend local business meetings and industry events, keep your eye out for individuals or companies who might be able to do some of your work. Get their business cards and any company literature and check out their websites. When you’ve found people you think you could work with, check their references, and then start them out with a small project to see how well they perform.

These simple steps can help you find and work with other small businesses who will help you grow your business, make more money and have more time for yourself.

For more tips on making outsourcing work for your business, click here.

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