Your business only has so much time, energy, and manpower. If you try doing everything on your own, you’ll eventually exhaust your resources and hurt your business. The question is, what do you outsource and what do you continue to handle in-house?
To Outsource, or to Keep In-House? That is the Question
Some tasks are intended to be handled internally. And if you hand them off to someone outside of your organization, it could actually create negative consequences. Other tasks, however, are inefficient and expensive to handle in-house. These should be outsourced to someone who is inexpensive and/or more skilled.
But how do you know when to outsource something?
Try asking yourself the following questions:
- Is this task a primary service offering for your business? (If the answer is no, you shouldn’t waste too much time on it.)
- Is it a specialized service or task that you only do occasionally – like a specific marketing campaign? (If it takes more time to learn how to do a task than it takes to execute it, you should outsource.)
- Is there some sort of competitive advantage gained from doing this task in-house? (If you can’t discern an advantage, you might as well hire it out to someone else.)
- Is it a commodity service – meaning there are hundreds or thousands of other professionals who can do it? (If the answer is yes, you should outsource it.)
- Is the task taking away valuable time that your employees should be using to handle more important core tasks? (Definitely outsource.)
Based on the answers to these questions, it should become apparent which tasks are better off outsourcing. Likewise, you’ll identify the tasks that should remain in-house (ensuring you continue to provide your customers and clients with value.
5 Tasks Businesses Can Outsource
Every business has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, but here’s a handful of different tasks that are usually ripe for outsourcing.
It doesn’t matter how mathematically-inclined you are, accounting is not something you need to handle on your own. Unless you have a massive company with enough resources to justify hiring a CPA, you’re much better off outsourcing this task. Not only will it save you hours of time every week, but it will also uncover opportunities to save money. A good CPA will save you far more than they cost you. That’s a net gain!
Marketing is something that most businesses handle in-house in the early stages of growth. But there comes a point in time where you need a little extra “juice.” And for most businesses, hiring a skilled in-house marketing team isn’t cost-effective. But outsourcing is.
In particular, you should outsource your link building. In doing so, you basically have a scalable marketing arm that’s cost-effective, convenient, and surprisingly affordable. Go in with eyes wide open as there is a right way and there is a wrong way to do it.
Other good candidates for outsourcing include graphic design and social media.
IT management is something you can keep in-house, but with the availability of IT professionals on the freelance marketplace, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If it’s not your core competency as a small business, you should always outsource the management of your website, email admin, customer relationship management system (whether cloud or self-hosted) and your accounting. You can outsource relatively easily and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Thus there’s no sense in wasting your precious time on it.
- Administrative Tasks
Any sort of repeatable administrative task is an easy candidate for outsourcing. This includes inbox management, scheduling, posting to social media, data entry, data reporting, etc. You can probably find a virtual assistant (VA) to do all of these things for you. They cost between $10 and $30 per hour. (Though you can spend more than twice that if you need some sort of technical expertise.)
- Customer Service
Depending on the type of customer service, you can probably outsource it. If it’s something super technical and specific to your niche, it’s not a bad idea to hire a couple of professionals that you can train. Otherwise outsourcing to a customer service firm is an easy way to save time and focus on your core competencies.
Putting it All Together
You don’t need to suddenly outsource every one of these tasks, but the sooner you start, the better. Begin with outsourcing the one or two tasks that eat up most of your time. This will free up space in your schedule to focus on more important value-adding tasks. And once you get a taste of how beneficial it is, outsourcing will become something you rely on even more in the future.