If late nights in the office have become your norm, it may be time for you to consider outsourcing. Here, Beverley Reinemann explains how to spot the signs you may benefit from outsourcing, and how to go about it.
It’s 3AM and you’re still in the office, polishing off that “one last thing”. The picture is nowhere near as romanticised as Matchbox 20 paint it in their song of the same name. Your partner hasn’t seen you in days, and your kids? Ha! You’re not going to see them until their school switches to a nocturnal schedule.
Sound familiar? If so, it may be time to for you to consider outsourcing. Sure, you’ve built your business or career on working hard and being the wearer of many hats, but there comes a time where having the space to specialise your daily efforts will benefit both your business and your personal life. So, how do you know you’re ready to outsource, and how should you go about it? Let’s take a look.
SEEING THE SIGNS THAT IT’S TIME TO OUTSOURCE
#1. You never go home: I know, I know, you think you’re Superman, but the fact of the matter is that nobody, no matter how vital, can work nonstop. In fact, working much more than 10 hours at a time is likely to result in poorer quality work, spread evenly across all of the tasks you’re doing. Working so much overtime is also bad for your health, increasing the likelihood of falling ill, which can really disrupt the flow of work for everyone in your office if you have so many responsibilities. Related signs: high blood pressure and generally hating everyone..
#2. Your job title has too many slashes: The smaller your business, the more likely it is that you perform many functions across multiple job titles, and that you’ve learned how to do many of these tasks on the job. This is, at first, a necessity in start-ups, as you simply don’t have the budget to hire someone to fill all of these roles. But a jack of all trades is a master of none, and when you reach a certain level of success, insane levels of multitasking are only slowing you down.
THE TASKS TO OUTSOURCE
#1. Finances and accounting: Google accountants or bookkeepers in your area, and you’re bound to be inundated with credible results. That’s because many financial professionals have worked under the umbrella of their own business for years, as these are tasks it’s quite common to outsource. Within accounting, payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable are the most commonly outsourced tasks. Outsourced financial professionals provide a healthy outside perspective so that you can streamline your systems and take advantage of new opportunities. And because they’ve got multiple clients, they can keep rates relatively reasonable, without you having to worry about benefits.
#2. Administrative tasks: Whether it’s answering your phone, scheduling meetings or booking travel, there’s no reason to waste your time on administrative tasks if you don’t have to. Virtual assistants can operate in a number of ways, giving you several days, or just an hour or two here and there. What’s more, on sites like TaskRabbit you can find people to do even more boring tasks like data entry for extremely low prices. Again, think of how much money you can make in contrast to how little you’ll spend in hiring.
Beverley Reinemann is a former Australian expat and writer based in London and social media business owner.
The above is a teaser extract from our forthcoming March issue. To read this piece in full, including a whole bunch more awesome outsourcing tips – including how to avoid making a mess of it – keep an eye out for the March 2014 print or digital issue of My Business.