According to Deloitte, 59% of companies outsource to cut costs. Entrepreneurs are notorious for being disciplined, smart, and control freaks. However, many restrict their ability to scale due to the latter part. Here is how to outsource as an entrepreneur.
Learn how to outsource yourself as an entrepreneur and scale your organization today.
As most successful entrepreneurs know first-hand, you need to outsource tedious tasks and focus on your business core competencies.
But what do you outsource? Outsource tasks that anyone can do with a little bit of training and detailed guidance, such as responding to customer emails, accounting, or even marketing.
Fortunately, the internet makes it easier than ever to connect and partner with subject-matter experts who will show you exactly how to outsource as an entrepreneur.
Whether you are a small business owner or are an entrepreneur trying to make money online, you need to know how to scale your operations successfully. From writing content to accounting, and everything in between, scaling certain aspects of your business will save you precious time and prevent you from flat-lining.
To help guide you during your outsourcing efforts, you need to consider six guiding principles. These principles will help you calculate your costs, successfully plan, and understand what needs to be done on your end to ensure your partners get the job done right.
Know Your Budget
As the owner, you do not need to know the nuances of computer programming, marketing, or sales. But you do need to know your operating budget.
Before you commit to outsourcing, you need to know much you can afford to pay contractors, freelancers, or strategic partners.
If you are still wary about how to start outsourcing as an entrepreneur, then start small. Beginning simply is the best direction for entrepreneurs because it does not require a substantial upfront investment.
Starting small will allow you to experience the process first-hand, learn, and reflect.
Outsource Tasks that Drain Time
After you comb through your financial statements and garner a holistic picture of your business, you need to decide what to outsource.
First and foremost, do not outsource the core competencies of your business.
If you are a content marketing agency, do not outsource the writing. You are already paying a team of writers who are reputable, experts, and deliver up to your standards.
Instead, focus on outsourcing tasks that drain the most time and do not impact the user experience. Some common examples are answering phone calls, responding to emails, process payroll, or packaging orders.
Define Measurable Goals and Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations and defining your goals is the most important and requires the most work on your end. You do not want to leave anything up to chance. The more detailed you are, the better.
Providing detailed instructions on what needs to be done will allow the contractor or freelancer you hire to get right to work. Ensure your instructions include a specific timeline and the quality you expect.
To help your partner, provide examples of what you would like to be done. This will serve as an excellent reference as they work on their assigned task.
But remember, make sure the goal is measurable, realistic, and attainable.
If you are outsourcing a technical project, make sure to provide your contractors enough time to adequately research and plan their deliverables. Programming is a delicate process that takes time and iteration.
As we all know, no one likes a boss that micromanages and sets unrealistic expectations. Besides, providing your contractors with more time will allow them to put forth a valuable effort.
For example, if you decide to hire a freelance marketer, a good goal would be to publish three guest posts on other large publications by the end of the month. The goal is clearly defined, is measurable, and is attainable if they are a good content marketer.
Research Potential Clients & Create a Bid Package
All too often, business owners are quick to pull the trigger and spend money.
While you can find quality freelancers or virtual assistants on Fiverr or Upwork, make sure you reach out to your professional network and ask for recommendations.
You are not the first entrepreneur looking to outsource, and you are certainly not the last. A quality referral will speed up the process of hiring and will narrow down your choices.
Make sure to thoroughly review each contractor or freelancers’ qualifications, reach out to previous customers, and conduct some sort of interview, whether it be online or in person.
The interview process is an excellent time for you to see first-hand if they are committed to exceeding your expectations and are passionate about the project. More importantly, this is an opportune time to see if they are truly subject matter experts.
Once you generate a list of three to four potential partners, create a bid package that outlines the scope of work, requirements, timeline, and expectations. A comprehensive bid package will allow your future partners to calculate expenses and decide on what resources to allocate to your project.
Hopefully, with the information you provided, they can put forth a reasonable bid for the job. Reviewing three to four proposals will allow you and your team to compare costs and services. Do not jump the gun and go with the cheapest bid. After all, you are paying for quality work that is done right the first time.
Provide a Legal Contract
Once you decide on a contractor to hire, provide them with a legal contract that explicitly outlines the scope of work, expectations, and timeline.
To draft the legal contract, consult with your in-house legal team or speak to a business lawyer. You want to make sure you are legally protected in case anything goes wrong, or if they end up shortchanging you on your work.
During this phase, both parties can ask last-minute questions and address any immediate concerns. Ultimately, you want to protect your business entity, intellectual property, and yourself. As a wise man states, better to be safe than sorry.
Outsourcing is a team effort. While you are not necessarily doing any manual labor, you still need to provide oversight of the project.
A great habit of getting into is asking for weekly or bi-weekly updates from the contractor. You want to make sure all lines of communication remain open, so both parties can provide feedback and ask questions if need be.
As an entrepreneur, there is no such thing as an off day, you need to make yourself available 24/7 so you can answer questions and set the direction of your business.
Final Thoughts: How to Outsource as an Entrepreneur
While it is daunting at first to outsource work as an entrepreneur, it truly is straightforward and a smart business decision to make.
For some, outsourcing moves the needle for their business or side-hustle (see simplemoney) because it increases their revenue and frees up valuable time to work on core business competencies.
Remember, as an entrepreneur you need to connect and network with like-minded business owners who know how to outsource. These professionals, along with the six guiding principles we laid out above, can help you make calculated and smart financial decisions.
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Drew is the founder of Simplemoneylyfe.com a leading Personal Finance and Small Business Blog. He has been quoted and featured in CNBC, The Huffington Post, Fox Business News, SmallBizDaily, StartupNation, and more for his tailored insights.