There are common fears and concerns with outsourcing segments of your business and business processes. If you've been thinking about engaging a contractor to perform elements of your regular processes, you've had these run through your mind. Undoubtedly there are genuine risks when trusting someone outside your organization to manage portions of your business. Yet, there are also actual risks if you don't either hire someone internally, or outsource the tasks.
Signs it is Time to Outsource
Overworked and Out of Balance: How often are you still completing tasks when you should spend time with family? Do you take phone calls at dinner? Are you answering emails at night? Do you ever 'turn off' work? How much time could you add back to your personal life if you enlisted someone to answer company emails or handle the company's social media? What if you had an answering service to respond to after-hour calls? Is it time to engage a help desk service to answer repetitive technical questions? A bit of time cataloging common concerns and questions, then turning those over to a virtual support team could help you create the life you envisioned when you began your business.
Tyranny of the Urgent: Is your time spent putting out fires rather than investing time in growth strategies? The 'tyranny of the urgent' model means you have to pay more attention to the urgent needs of your business rather than the important tasks. As long as you are filling the role of firefighter rather than leader, you will never experience the growth and meaning you long for. New ideas will lay undeveloped. And you will forget important tasks. If you often experience that feeling of, "OH SHOOT! I forgot to do that!" you could definitely benefit from a bit of help.
Bottlenecks and Back Burner: Where is your business slowing down? Bottlenecks can become the graveyard of your business. Delays in fulfilling contracts, forgotten emails or phone calls, misdirected requests for quotes; each of these damage your ability to scale and can damage your business reputation. When an area of your business is struggling to meet expectations, you only have a few choices:
a. eliminate the department or task entirely, up to, or until the resources to manage
it becomes available;
b. shift the responsibilities to an internal employee or partner, or hire someone to
do the work as an employee;
c. engage the skills of an outside expert as a contractor.
4. Work You Hate:
Invariably the things we hate are the things we avoid. No matter how many times you've
read Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog", the knee-jerk reaction is to put off until later (or
never), the tasks you'd rather not do.
When you get disagreeable tasks off your plate and into someone else's hands, you
invest your skills, time and talents on the things you do best and enjoy most. I'm sure
you don't have to think long about what those tasks are!
Proprietary Data, Copyright and Intellectual Property Protection
It is wise to consider which portions of your business you want to share with others. If a portion of your business depends on software or systems you have created, consider carefully who has access to that information. Just as you would with an employee, make sure you have concise language protecting your business information in all contractor agreements or that your contracts contract has language addressing this.
You might think investing the time to train someone else to answer those emails and phone calls, processes and/or financial books will take up more of your time than it is worth. However, it is the long view which is important here. Rather than calculating the minutes of time it will require, consider the hours of time it will save you over the long run.
Budgets and Deadlines
No doubt the expense of hiring someone to do what you are doing now is a consideration. Set your budget and communicate with your contractor. Do your due diligence on the person you are hiring. Yet even with all of those up-front checks, it is possible your project will require more time than either you or the contractor expected. Create a check-in point with the contractor to determine if the project will be on time or over. Always agree to a deadline for project completion.
With repetitive tasks, consider hiring your contractor on a flat-fee basis. A discussion of parameters of either hours included or project term is appropriate here. And most contractors would prefer a set amount rather than piece-meal project on an hourly term.
There are people who say they are qualified and aren't. This is true whether you hire an employee or a contractor.
It is acceptable to create a try-and-see clause or a short-term trial period in your contract. This protects you and the contractor. It's possible the contractor isn't a fit, or you aren't a fit for them. Clear, outlined expectations protect both you and the contractor. If they don't meet the expectations of the contract, you are free to end the contract with them early.
Be clear whether you approve of a subcontractor completing the tasks. A relationship with a a contractor that has subcontractors and/or their own employees helps in a myriad of ways. Developing a relationship with someone who has specialty subcontractors enables you to have confidence as you outsource long term or specialty projects.
How Waggoner Professional Services Can Help
Here at Waggoner Professional Services, we have a menu of services we can provide to help you get rid of the tasks you hate or are uncomfortable with and support you as you grow your business.
You can find complete details on our Services page. Below is a quick scan. Reach out to us today. We're here to help!