outsource

By Anum Yoon

No matter what type of business you run, there will come a point where you need to outsource some tasks. Small business owners work long hours doing a lot of different types of tasks. About 65 percent of them work at least two weekends a month and around half skip summer vacation to stay on top of work.

However, having a balance between work and personal is vital for the long term. Fortunately, you can outsource some of your management tasks. This will free up your time so you can create that balance and your business will continue to grow.

Know When to Outsource

The first step in a successful outsourcing attempt is to know the right time to outsource projects. Outsourcing does add an expense to your budget that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Some reasons to consider outsourcing:

  • You can’t keep up with the workflow
  • Important tasks are falling through the cracks, such as bookkeeping or online promotions
  • Your internal employees are unable to accomplish the work needed

In addition to freeing up your time, outsourcing can help you bring in specialized expertise that you can’t afford full time.

Choose What to Outsource

Once you confirm it is the right time to outsource, you have to decide what tasks to outsource. For example, if you run a freelance business, your clients might hire you because of your specific writing voice. In that case, you wouldn’t want to outsource your articles as the voice would be different. Some things you can likely outsource easily without losing the personality behind your business include:

Hire the Right Helpers

Outsourcing is only helpful if it allows you to reduce your workload or bring in special expertise you don’t possess. If you have to spend even more time explaining how to complete tasks than it would take to just do them yourself, then you may not be working with the right people. The right helpers will:

  • Have enough experience that you can give them general directions and they can complete the task
  • Be self-starters
  • Be excellent at what they do

If you hire a writer, you want a writer who can make the prose on your website shine. If you hire a graphic artist, that person needs to be able to come up with a solid logo, web design or other graphic as needed.

However, hiring the right help is a lot more than just hiring someone with experience and ability. You also need helpers who are reliable. Freelancers, especially artists, have a tendency to be a bit unreliable. They are typically creative types, after all. The goal is to find a freelancer who is creative but also organized and turns work in on time.

Know When to Cut Ties

Part of succeeding with outsourcing is to know when to cut ties with the freelancer. The last thing you want to do is continue to pay for outsourcing when it isn’t effective for your business or when you no longer have the funds to afford outsourcing. Some reasons to cut ties:

  • The freelancer is unreliable and/or doesn’t respond when you try to communicate about issues.
  • Your business income drops dramatically and you need to reduce costs.
  • You need different or more advanced expertise than your current freelancer offers.

When you work closely with someone on outsourced projects, it can be difficult to break things off. However, you have to approach it from a business perspective. Be professional, be fair, give the freelancer a little notice that you’ll no longer need their services, and do what is best for your business in the long run.

Successfully outsourcing management tasks is simply a matter of figuring out where you need help and then hiring the best of the best. Bringing a few people on board to handle everyday busy work or specialized tasks will help take your business to the next level.

Anum Yoon is a freelance writer and blogger who started and maintains Current on Currency, a personal finance blog for 20-somethings. Catch her on Twitter @anumyoon.