What’s holding you back?
There are several reasons to be cautious when it comes to making changes for your business. Your business is your baby. You’ve invested time, money, and energy setting it on a productive path. Well done!
You’re doing the grind. And now you want something more…
You want your business to grow. You have the know-how and have plotted your strategy accordingly. But something still holds you back. You wonder, “Why take the risk?” Or, “Why step out and change?” You reason, “Risk and change are scary. Better to just keep things steady.”
Does this routine sound familiar? Beware. Familiarity can be deceptive.
It comforts us and sets our expectations, but it can also shackle us and limit our opportunities too. Consider your typical business tasks. You might see some of your more repetitive tasks as time-draining obstacles that keep you from achieving your goals.
Sure, the tasks are essential elements of your core service, but truthfully they tie up your focus, time, and keep you from investing in the bigger ideas you’ve planned and dreamt of for a while.
If you have a team, maybe you’ve tried sharing the burden of those tasks. But, it’s likely your team members are also already operating at maximum capacity.
No time to grow? Outsourcing may be your best bet.
If you can’t find the time to focus on growth, it’s likely time to look for some help. The quick and easy answer is to outsource.
Outsourcing is not the devil it’s made out to be. It’s simply a streamlining tactic that helps you maintain focus on your core business by enlisting an outside party to complete those repetitive, low-revenue yielding tasks that impede your goals.
Additionally, outsourcing allows you to bring change to your operations immediately. You don’t need to launch a costly, in-depth search and hiring process for a permanent employee, if you aren’t ready.
There are, unfortunately, several outsourcing myths. You may, infact, ascribe to some of those myths.
Let’s be fair though. Your concerns, or fears, are likely based on experiences.
There’s no need to pretend the fear isn’t there. There’s also no need to pretend there isn’t a reasonable way around those fears.
It starts with a thought shift and decision to accentuate the positive. Let’s embrace the idea that where there is fear there is also opportunity.
3 Common outsourcing fears and their hidden opportunities
Fear #1: You can’t afford outsourcing
It’s easy to imagine why anything finance-related sparks feelings of dread. It’s not often a comfortable topic. But hey, you own a business. Your bottom line probably crosses your mind on a daily basis. And if not casually crossing your mind, it might actually be running vigorous laps around your brain.
After a year of pandemic shutdowns, general uncertainty, and perhaps an erratic cash flow, fear of new expenditures may well be justified right now. You might be more preoccupied with building up your reserves than even thinking of the word, outsourcing.
Yes, your business needs your thoughtful financial consideration. You’re required to make choices. And, there’s no lack of them. Small choices. Bigger choices. And, the risky choices.
And sometimes, you can’t afford NOT to make a choice. Especially, if that choice is whether or not to outsource some of your business tasks in the name of growth.
It’s fair to say many businesses are operating on slim profit margins of late. The thing about outsourcing, however, is it frees you from low or no-revenue yielding tasks and creates space for you to focus more creatively on your business to implement higher-revenue products and services.
The Opportunity: Outsourcing fits small and large budgets
When you don’t make the choice you need, you risk leaving your business in a state of stagnation and unfulfilled potential.
Be it a great client you don’t have the capacity to take on, a project you can’t complete on time, or, even the breathing space to take an overdue vacation.
If clearing space in your schedule and removing tasks from your plate is truly what you need to thrive, why not try these options:
Outsource on a flexible or limited basis
Control some of your costs by using white label service providers to take over the high-cost, low-value work that’s dragging you down. You can also find hired help for short-term project work.
Consider hiring newbies
Lower-cost, newer professionals may save you money and still get the job you need done. Not every outsourced job requires the most veteran (high-priced) worker.
Outsource specific tasks
Fear #2: You don’t have enough work to keep a contractor busy
Many outsourced contractors are savvy and skilled. They perform their jobs so well that they’ll zip through your assignments and eagerly await your next instruction.
If that scenario just gave you heart palpitations, yep, you fear filling a contractor’s schedule and justifying the expense.
What does Vilfredo Pareto say?
Wait. Who’s Vilfredo Pareto?
He was an Italian economist, engineer and philosopher. He lived centuries ago and theorized that society produces an inherent imbalance of inputs and outputs – an 80/20 imbalance to be precise. Generally, he believed 80% of consequences are the results of 20% of causes.
To avoid playing a round of the game, “Whatabout-ism and Counter Arguments,” for the sake of this article, let’s just accept that Pareto was on to something.
Forbes magazine even demonstrates Pareto’s Principle as this:
- 20% of sales reps generate 80% of total sales.
- 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
If we apply Pareto’s Principle to your business, 80% of your clients are not providing the bulk of your earnings. Your bread and butter is coming from that smaller 20% slice of your customer base. So, let’s consider how you allocate your efforts.
Surely, every client is important to you. That’s probably a fact. You have limited bandwidth. That’s an absolute. Signore Pareto shows that there’s plenty of room for a contractor to assist in your daily work.
Just imagine if you could tighten your focus on the highly-profitable 20% or nurture a ripe segment of that 80%? All it takes to see results is the additional implementation time you’d gain by having outsourced help.
The opportunity: Outsourcing small tasks will make a positive impact
The truth is outsourcing takes organization. Lots of it. It’s imperative you have a clear understanding of the tasks you need the contractor’s help with prior to hiring them.
Imogen Allen, owner of Umbrella Digital Media, says of her outsourcing experience, “I worried I didn’t have enough consistent work for a contractor. To get over this worry, one definitely needs a plan. You have to be prepared and plan ahead for the work you want the contractor to do. My advice: start small. Delegate small tasks at a time. Assess how it goes then you can gradually build up the contractor’s responsibilities.”
It’s also important to make sure you understand the difference between out-tasking (those one-off projects) and true outsourcing (repetitive tasks). Outsourcing allows you to train and entrust a contractor to perform well with very minimal involvement from you.
The more prepared and confident your contractor is tackling your tasks, the better. Set them up for success. So, yes, you may have to invest in training upfront, but just imagine the payoff.
Don’t forget to sharpen your work tools
Steady communication with contractors is a must. If you are not already using team channels like Slack or project management tools, like Asana or ClickUp, give them a try for the peace of mind to know that projects are on-track and clearly understood.
Fear #3: You could lose your reputation for high-quality service
Nobody needs to tell you how hard you worked to attract your clients and retain strong relationships with them. You want to keep them happy.
It can indeed be difficult relinquishing your control to the performance of an outsourced contractor. There’s no need to sugarcoat this concern. If bad work costs you a client’s trust, you’ll have to work 3 times as hard to earn them back, if at all.
Unfortunately, you can’t clone yourself today and show up to work tomorrow with “you” splitting tasks. But give scientists some credit and time. Who knows what the future holds?
Until that miracle, you have to get comfortable knowing there’s only one you. You can set standards and train your team and even contractors to deliver like you, but they’ll never be you. So, you must decide to co-exist with the fear of relinquishing some control. Growth opportunities shouldn’t be annihilated by the mere existence of fear.
Have you ever stopped to imagine the possibility that a well-vetted contractor could actually enhance your reputation and service?
The opportunities: Your business can become more productive by outsourcing
There is a right way to outsource. Delegate smartly. You should not be outsourcing your core services. You should be relinquishing the low-profit yielding, repetitive tasks that will allow you to focus on growing those profitable core services.
Many companies that outsource actually find that they become more efficient. And that with higher efficiency, their reputations actually grow stronger!
If you’re not yet convinced, listen to Rich Stevens from Anorak Cat. Rich had the same outsourcing apprehensions that you may feel now. Discover how he approached delegating his work to a contracted developer from GoWP in this interview.
At the end of the day — a long, repetitive day — just remember there is skilled help out there. The world does still have reliable workers who can set you on course to achieve your business goals and implement changes that will lead to your growth.
Talk to other business owners. Join GoWP’s Digital Agency Owners group to learn best practices and lessons gained from other leaders who’ve made the same choices for their business that you’re considering now. Plan your outsourcing steps and then plan some more.
But whatever you do, don’t allow fear to limit your opportunities to grow.