I was recently talking with a friend about outsourcing a project for her small business and how she didn’t think it was feasible for her because of the added expense. I think many entrepreneurs struggle with this concept, so I wanted to share a few quick thoughts on how to find the room in your budget to make the investment in your business. Here are the top five types of tasks that will bring you a return on investment if you choose to outsource:
- The task is repetitive in nature and can easily be passed off to someone else. These are mostly administrative – posting blog posts to a website, updating plugins, and entering bills into the accounting system. The tasks are the same each time. Generally they don’t take a lot of your time on an individual basis, but when you add them all together, it can take up to 20% or more of your day. This time is an opportunity cost at the expense of growing your business. Outsource!
- The task requires expertise or equipment that you don’t possess and don’t have the time or money to acquire. I recently had a logo developed for my brand. I have no experience in this area, nor do I have the software tools at my disposal to do it right. I tried some online logo development sites, but the results just didn’t feel right or designed for me. So, I outsourced and I love the final product!
- Your time could be better spent on higher value tasks. Let’s say you are an amazing copy writer – you’ve built a business writing copy for other people and you are very good at it. Every hour you spend writing copy, you make $100. Or, every hour you spend on business development is the chance to make another $1,000 on your next project. Every hour you spend paying bills is $100 minimum lost opportunity. Outsourcing allows you to focus on building your business – the return on investment is clear.
- You just plain don’t like the task! Chances are, if you don’t like the task or you dread doing it, you won’t be putting your best foot forward. You will rush, make mistakes, all which lead to more work down the road. Outsourcing will help you enjoy your business life more and free up your time for that ever so important strategic thinking which leads to more revenue.
- Your key employee is out for a temporary period of time. I was recently talking with a colleague who will be going on maternity leave soon. She was worried about how her company would cope without her there to provide top-notch customer service, solve problems, and continue to move the business forward. I suggested outsourcing as a solution – interim executives and interim managers are a key resource for businesses faced with a temporary absence of key employees or temporary projects that require a skill set not currently available on staff and not needed in the long term. The short term investment will ensure that your business does not remain stagnant during the period of absence.
There are many more reasons to outsource, there are books and classes on this topic, so these are just a few ideas on how to justify it. Small businesses need to consider the return on investment they would receive if they were able to make the choice to outsource. Finding room in the budget for one more thing is never easy, but if you commit to spending the amount of time you save on revenue generating activities instead, your investment will pay for itself.