Outsourcing is a great way to expand your business while freeing up your own time and saving money too. Whether you need occasional or ongoing assistance, professionals like graphic designers, copywriters, bookkeepers, website programmers, and office assistants, are all readily available.
Are you a plumber who needs book keeping? Or a professional speaker who needs help arranging your appointments? Perhaps you would like some help writing proposals, designing a new website, or sending out press releases.
There are a number of arguments for and against outsourcing. However, the arguments in favour are more appealing, especially to small business owners.
Benefits of Outsourcing
The Cost Factor. There is no doubt that outsourcing can considerably reduce the operating costs of a small business owner. When you hire in the traditional manner, you have to be prepared to incur a number of costs, namely:
* Office space for the employee
* Fixed salary which have to pay whether your small business turns a profit or not
* Incidentals, such as stationery…and even office coffee!
These costs can be drain on financial resources and stifle growth and expansion especially during these difficult economic times. As a small business owner you need to capitalise on every opportunity to reduce your operating costs to the bare minimum without compromising on the quality of output. When you outsource, you only pay for work done and it is all tax deductible.
Efficient and Reliable. Outsourced professionals offer even more advantages: they are loyal to their client companies and will support your goals – they will help you generate ideas and allow you more time to make your business more profitable.
How to Outsource Successfully
The best way to outsource successfully is through word of mouth. However, regardless of a glowing referral, I recommend testing the compatibility of working with a particular contractor by setting realistic expectations and then assigning a short-term project that can be evaluated based on predetermined standards. The goal is to enjoy a long-term collaborative partnership with someone you can trust and count on. So do your due diligence to find the right match
To determine whether a task can be outsourced, you should ask yourself the following two questions:
* Can the task be performed remotely?
* Will the worker maintain the same level of quality or provide better output?
Effective communication: In a virtual environment clear communication (mostly in writing) is vital. Business owners must communicate policies, dos and don’ts, and even have leisure chats with their contractors every once in a while. It takes more effort to communicate clearly when you cannot see the person you are working with.
Good help comes at a price (but its well worth it). Virtual Assistants charge from $10 an hour on the very low-end to $75 an hour on the very high-end. Depending on the type of work and the professional you are outsourcing too the fees could be higher. You can best view the range as – you get what you pay for.
You will find that there are a lot of good contractors out there who deliver superior service because as a fellow entrepreneur they can relate to your challenges and really do want to add value to your business.
Will it work for you?
Would you pay someone else to do tasks that don’t make you money? How much is your time worth? Is your time better spent in the office working on proposals, sending invoices, checking emails or balancing books? If you earn $100 per hour selling real estate, it would be silly not to outsource these tasks to someone who charges $35 per hour so you can focus on the areas in your business that do make you money.
It really is about economics of the simplest kind. I quote the author of, The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris, who said, “Ultimately, time is the most valuable, nonrenewable resource that we have.”
My suggestion – outsource and then use your time wisely – building and sustaining your business.