Working smarter

When should a business outsource?

Trying to do everything yourself can lead to feeling overwhelmed and distracted. Should you consider outsourcing functions in your business?

19 September 2023

As a business owner, it can seem tempting to do everything. However, with burnout an increasing problem for business owners, should you consider outsourcing to lighten the load?

The benefits of outsourcing can be multiple; from relieving the burden on existing staff to getting access to specialist skill sets.

“Trying to be a jack of all trades may seem to be a money-saving strategy on the surface, but actually it can backfire. Overwork can cause stress in relationships, mental and even physical health issues,” says Sharon Melamed, founder and managing director of  Matchboard.

“Also, taking on too many different types of tasks can mean that you don’t have enough headspace left to focus on important things, like building customer relationships, setting goals, and developing new products or marketing plans. Outsourcing can provide huge benefits which free you from the day-to-day quagmire to think and execute more strategically.”

What can I outsource?

It can be overwhelming to know where to start – but a good rule is to think about the aspects of running your business that you enjoy the least.

“I’d suggest making a list of the top three things you’d rather not be doing on a daily basis, and then identifying whether these can be easily transferred to a third party,” Melamed says.

This particularly applies to tasks that require specialist knowledge, such as search engine optimisation (SEO), bookkeeping, graphic design, social media, and Google ads management.

“Some tasks are so specialised that you feel like a duck out of water and on such a steep learning curve, it’s overwhelming. That’s the time to think about outsourcing to the specialists,” Melamed explains.

“Something like SEO is so complex and technical these days, it’s rare to be successful without the input of an SEO consultant who does this day in, day out,” she adds.

Or, if you’re taking so many routine calls after hours or when you’re trying to do other work, you might want to look at call centre services that can manage your calls 24/7.

Alternatively, a service like My Business Workplace helps businesses with HR and employment-related functions by providing affordable contracts and policies, plus phone advice backed by award-winning lawyers.

And while it’s possible to offshore some tasks, the compliance burden still sits with your business.

“It’s important to note you can’t outsource compliance. You need to take responsibility for managing your outsource vendor relationship and ensuring they have the appropriate frameworks in place to protect your customer data. If something goes wrong, the buck stops with your business, not the outsourcer,” Melamed says.

Where to start

Once you’ve decided what to outsource, here are a few tips for finding and working with the right partner.

1.     Finding a partner

  • Understand the options available – such as a freelancer (a sole operator) or an agency
  • Ask for personal recommendations from your network
  • Otherwise, try googling businesses who’ve worked in your industry. Read reviews and ask for examples of past work
  •  Meet with them and decide whether they’re a good fit for your business
  • Have a clear idea of what you need and brief them comprehensively.

2.     Working with a partner

  • Draw up a contract and clearly agree on the scope of work and budget
  • Provide meaningful feedback, and give them a chance to improve if you’re not happy with their work
  • Ensure they’re aware of all your policies and procedures, such as your social media policy and code of conduct.

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