Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Raj Jana, Founder, JavaPresse
Outsourcing has been around since businesses first came into existence. Sending out for work simply makes good business sense. It frees up your time and resources without sacrificing quality, and it also rewarding specialists for their work. It’s a real win-win situation. And with the explosion of the digital revolution, it’s becoming easier and more effective to outsource work.
However, for a variety of different reasons, many small businesses don’t do enough of this. Outsourcing has an image of being expensive, or more work than it’s worth, especially if you have to chase people down and constantly ask for rework. But again, this is just focusing on the negatives. Most businesses can benefit from outsourcing, and here are some signs you need to pay more attention to it:
You’re not spending enough time on what you do best
Whether it’s saving people money, delivering innovative products or giving excellent service, there is some aspect of your business that is uniquely you. To grow and be successful, you need to make sure you’re taking full advantage of this natural competitive advantage.
So, if you’re all about designing exciting and useful apps, but you find yourself spending too much time recruiting and hiring, it might be time to bring someone in to help you identify and secure new talent.
If you’re struggling with time management, and this is causing you to spend too little time on your primary functions, then you should likely be looking for opportunities to outsource.
You have lots of Jack’s- and Jill’s-of-all-trades
It’s good to be flexible and to have employees that can do lots of different things. Part of being a good team player is taking on new tasks and excelling at them. But there’s a limit.
If you brought someone in to work on financial planning, and you have them working on payroll, benefits and content creation, something is wrong. What’s the expression? “Jack of all trades, Master of none.”
Stretching people too thin will cause them to burn out and to perform worse in other aspects of their jobs. So, having too many people who do too wide of an array of tasks is a good sign you need to start looking for opportunities to outsource.
Some things are costing too much
The concept of specialization is at the core of our economy. The idea is that if someone spends all their time doing something, they’ll be able to do it better and more efficiently (cheaper) than someone trying to balance more than one thing at a time.
So, whether it’s payroll accounting, recruiting or content creation, think about the business activities that simply cost too much, focusing on those tertiary aspects of the business that don’t rely directly on you or your top innovators. Giving these responsibilities over to firms dedicated to these tasks will almost always be cheaper than you trying to do everything yourself.
If you feel like some things are just costing too much money, there’s a good chance outsourcing will be able to help you.
You’re in over your head
Along these same lines, each of us has different strengths and weaknesses. Your awesome software development team might not have a clue how to build brand identity and awareness, whereas your marketing team might have no idea how to realistically improve your product.
If you’ve undertaken a project and are unsatisfied with the results, ask yourself if you’re in over your head. Think about what you could do if you had unlimited resources and time. Would you still get things to turn out like you want? If the answer is no, then just recognize this as one of your limitations and seek help. There’s nothing wrong with this admission. But once you get to this point, know this is a strong reason for outsourcing.
You don’t have enough time
One of the biggest challenges with running a business is time management. No matter how many cups of coffee you drink every day, it’s common to still feel like you don’t have enough time to get everything done. But the solution to this isn’t more coffee or less sleep. Instead, you’ll want to find areas of your job where you can get help.
What are some tasks that eat up your day that you would love to just send out, forget about and then remember when the work is delivered to you several days or weeks down the road? There are probably a lot. The stress and fast-paced lifestyles we lead are good signs we need to outsource more things in our business.
Learning to delegate is one of the hardest things for a business owner to do. Letting go of some of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the company is hard and requires a certain level of trust and good faith. But if you can learn to recognize when you need help, and you take the steps to go out and get it, you’ll free up your time and energy to help you focus on what’s really important for making your business grow.
About the author: Raj is the founder of JavaPresse, a specialty coffee subscription service that sends premium, freshly-roasted coffee to people’s door every two to four weeks. In building this business, Raj has learned a lot of valuable yet difficult lessons about what works and what doesn’t when trying to create a strong brand. He’s learned a lot along the way, and still has a long way to go. But in the meantime, he enjoys sharing his experiences to help other entrepreneurs.