Chatting this week on PW Unplugged Radio with Christina Hills about all the reasons why you should NOT outsource your website technical support, got me thinking about this whole notion of outsourcing in general.
A lot of folks will have you believe if you own a business, you MUST outsource and hire contractors and virtual assistants and build a team and whatnot, and if you’re not doing that than you’re in some sort of Resistance.
I don’t necessarily believe that’s true. In fact, I would go as far as to say that view is a little too simplistic.
So, to help you figure out what you should (and shouldn’t) be outsourcing, below is a handy dandy checklist.
* How big of a business do you want to have? If you want a big, 7-figure-plus business, then outsourcing and building a team is definitely in your future. But if what your heart REALLY wants is more of a small, cozy business where you have lots of freedom and not a lot of overhead, then building a big team is the absolute last thing you should do.
Your team should fit your business. The smaller you want your business to be, the smaller your team should be (or maybe you don’t even have a team). Don’t build a team you can’t comfortably support with your current or projected cash flow.
* Do you prefer to outsource business tasks, personal tasks, or a combination of the two? Outsourcing isn’t just about business. Hiring someone to clean your house or be a personal chef can be just as important as hiring a bookkeeper. If you can’t stand cleaning your own house, then by all means hire someone to take care of that. The point of outsourcing is to free up your energy so you’ll be able to focus on doing the things you love. And it may make far more sense for you is to outsource your personal tasks and not your business ones. (For instance, if you’re someone who wants a small business so you have plenty of time for your family, you may really resonate with not having a business team at all but instead hiring a housekeeper so you also don’t waste your precious family time vacuuming and dusting.)
* Are you outsourcing things you hate, drain your energy, or take you hours and interfere with you making money? Once you have a handle on how big or small your team (either business or personal or both) should be, the next thing is to make sure you’re outsourcing the right things. I would definitely start with anything you dread doing and/or drains your energy or is something you really struggle doing. For instance, let’s say you do your own books and it takes you a couple of days each month to get them done. But if you hired a bookkeeper who could do what you do in a fraction of the time, doesn’t that make more sense? You can take the time you normally would spend struggling with your bookkeeping and focus it on income-generating activities.
* Are you comfortable with your current outsourcing decisions? This is probably the most important question yet. Are you good with what you created? Do you feel like you need more help? Do you feel like you have too much help? Do you feel like you’re spending too much money? Do you feel like you’re spending too much time managing and not enough on what you love? Do you feel like you really WANT more help but you’re too afraid to hire someone (and you have all sorts of excuses why you shouldn’t be hiring anyone)?
Be honest. How do you really feel about what you built? Because only by being honest will you know if you need to scale back, add more, or if everything is just right.
Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to regularly review your outsourcing decisions. After all — things change. You may decide you’re now ready for a 7-figure business or it’s time to scale way back. And whatever you decide, you want to make sure your team is supporting your goals, not hindering them.