Can we be honest for a moment? Humans are lousy multitaskers! A lot of people claim to be great at multitasking, but the truth is most are not. When we take on too many tasks, the result is we either don’t get anything done, or we have to cut corners in an attempt to get everything done. Buddhists believe you should concentrate all your effortson one task and become great at it. This heightened focus on one area will help you become better at it than everyone else. And that plays well in developing and improving your strategic and competitive advantage. It doesn’t matter what the task is or how small it may seem. If it is vital to your business or a fundamental function of your department put your focus and energy into it, do your best, and then move on. But, what if you have other things you need to get done that you aren't great at, are important, but not fundamental to your work, or are a necessary nuisance, or time-consuming repetitive task?
What Exactly Is Outsourcing?
Well, there is a way to multitask that will lead to efficiency gains. It's outsourcing! You can outsource some of your tasks. Outsourcing has exploded onto the scene in the past decade and is an excellent way to leverage your time. You can get multiple tasks completed in a fraction of the time and depending on the quality of the outsourcers done with more skill than if you did it yourself.
The good news is you can be selective about who you choose for your outsourcing. If something doesn’t work out, you simply ask them (the person, team, department, or company you outsourced to) to correct their mistakes, or just don’t use them again. When you find a great team of outsourcers, you become an unstoppable force.
Outsourcing Is Relatively Easy
Why fund a credit department when there is a company that can do it for you? The same goes for payroll, IT, bookkeeping and accounting, and a host of other business functions. You don’t worry about salaries or benefits when you do this. You simply pay a fee for services based on your agreement with them.
Depending on the size of your company and the services that you are outsourcing, you can save a significant amount of money when you do this.
Some companies are even allowing their employees to outsource portions of their duties, where it makes sense to do this. For instance, web programmers are not typically known to be good designers. The company either doesn’t have a graphic design department or the group is booked solid with work for other groups. Outsourcing the design can solve this dilemma and give the project the right look and feel.
Of course, you will need to manage the outsourcers, and that often includes getting the specifications right for what you want to be accomplished. But, this is a skill like any other and is something you will get better with over time.
What to Outsource?
Now, to be clear, outsourcing as an entrepreneur is a little different than outsourcing when you work for someone else. As an entrepreneur, you make the decision and then execute. When you work for someone else, depending on your position and policies and procedures within the company, you may have more red tape and approvals necessary before you can implement an idea. You can still outsource. You can outsource certain activities to other departments or hire temps to come in and complete tasks. For larger scale activities, you will no doubt have to work with several departments to determine whether it fits into the overall strategic goals of the company.
With that said, entrepreneurs know running a successful business involves completing numerous tasks on a daily basis. Solepreneurs ("solo-entrepreneurs"), without an army of staff behind them, can quickly become bogged down with the small, but essential daily tasks. It’s fair to say that you become a “Jack of all trades” by necessity rather than desire. Unfortunately, completing these tasks is time-consuming, which takes you away from the important job of generating sales and leads. Without sales, your business won’t be viable. It has been estimated that at least 80% of a business owners time should be spent on sales or direct sales-generating activities.
Unless you are prepared to work 24 hours a day it would be impossible to spend 80% of your day generating sales if you work alone. Thankfully, there is a solution. You could outsource certain tasks to freelancers and contractors, so you can concentrate on growing your business.
The Internet allows us to make contact with freelancers in all areas of expertise on a global basis. Outsourcing to a freelancer rather than employing a staff member eliminates recruitment and employment costs, additionally, you will only pay for the work that’s completed.
Here are some examples of tasks you could outsource.
Communication is key to running a successful business, but there are so many aspects to it. As the business owner, you will most likely want to keep the task of communicating (related to generating sales) to yourself. You could consider outsourcing tasks such as texting to textbetter.com who offer a business text messaging service. Telephone answering services could be outsourced and you could consider hiring a virtual assistantto manage communication tasks such as email, letter writing and appointment scheduling.
Maintaining accurate accounts is essential for any business, but it is tiresome and time-consuming. You could hire a bookkeeper on a freelance basis to manage your accounts and hire the expertise of an accountant when tax returns are due.
Although we have previously mentioned that sales are an important task for the business owner to complete, telesales can be outsourced. Many people are not comfortable with cold calling, so hire someone with the expertise. Telesales is a good way of generating leads, which you could personally follow up later.
In today's market, just about everything is completed online. If you haven’t tapped into the power of social media for growing your business yet, you’re missing out on a huge market. Managing social media platforms is time-consuming, you need to create active accounts which respond quickly to queries. Your posts need to be engaging and you need to increase your followers in order to get your brand “out there!” You can outsource the task of social media management which will release time to concentrate on other tasks.
When choosing the right freelancer, you should proceed with as much caution as you would when hiring staff in the traditional sense. Ask for references and look at examples of previous work. Once hired ensure you communicate effectively with the freelancer to make sure they stay on track.
Hopefully, by following the above advice you will be able to concentrate on growing your business.
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