We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, one of the biggest obstacles to growing your business is TIME. There’s just not enough time to do it all. That’s why we are such big advocates of outsourcing. As an entrepreneur, if you want the work-life balance that you’ve always dreamed of, you will have to learn how to outsource your life at some point. Don’t like the word outsourcing? Think of it as hiring help; that’s essentially what you’re doing. It’s the same thing any business must do when the work gets to be too much – hire more people. In this case, they just happen to not be traditional employees.
So, how do you outsource your life? How do you know what to outsource and when to do it?
Functions That Can Be Outsourced
Just about any business task can be outsourced these days. The most commonly outsourced functions include:
- Administrative Tasks. Data entry, scheduling, travel arrangements, typing, even project management can all be handled by a virtual assistant. Do you really need to spend your time updating contact information?
- Lead Generation and Customer Service. Outsource cold calling to generate more leads. Once you have a lead, hand it off to your internal sales team to close the deal. You gain more calls in less time and make better use of your sales team’s time.
- Accounting and Finance. There are plenty of small and mid-sized accounting firms that would be happy for your business. Outsource all or some of the following and save yourself the hassle and expense of doing it in-house: payroll, bookkeeping, invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, financial reporting, analysis and planning.
- Marketing. You know your business best, but that doesn’t mean you have the time needed to market it well or the outside perspective that is so often needed when trying to reach new customers in the marketplace. Outsourcing options include: project management, writing, graphic design, website design and development, brand development, press releases, social media, blogging, and search engine optimization.
- IT. IT has two things working against it for it to remain in-house: it’s complicated and it’s expensive. It can be extremely challenging to manage IT operations yourself. Outsource it to save time and money and gain expertise that you just don’t have.
- Human Resources. Yep, even HR functions can be outsourced! Most commonly this includes recruiting and hiring processes, including initial screening, background checks, and reference checking, but can also include benefits administration.
Given all of these options, how do you decide which functions to outsource? My advice is: don’t overthink it, just cut and cut and cut until you have a manageable workload. Get vicious and outsource anything you can afford to. Outsource anything that is non-essential to the business. Outsource anything you yourself don’t want to do or don’t do well. Outsource anything that you don’t have the internal resources to handle.
In many cases, it is much easier to manage outsourced functions from afar than to try to handle them in-house. That’s your goal – hand off as much as you can so you can focus on more mission-critical tasks and have some balance in your life!