My father-in-law keeps telling me that I need to “outsource” so I can grow my business, but I’m not entirely sure what he means. What’s outsourcing and how would it help my company?
Entrepreneurs talk a lot about hats. Yes, hats. The smaller the company, the more hats you’re required to wear. When you’ve got a one person business, you have to do everything, from vacuuming to designing business cards, baking the cakes, mowing the lawns, or developing code, even talking to bankers and potential investors.
Each time you hire someone, you ease that pressure just a bit; hire an assistant and maybe they can vacuum or help baking those cakes. Hire a graphic designer and they can design business cards, a new Web page and some marketing collateral too. Hire a finance person and they can meet with those bankers and help raise funds for the next stage of company growth.
What they all have in common is that you’re hiring them. What if you don’t need a full-time office cleaner, graphic designer or accountant? All of these can also be contract workers, paid based on the hours they work. When you don’t have any work for them, you aren’t paying their wages, they’re working with other companies to manage their income.
Sometimes you might want to hire a team, rather than just an individual, and that’s generally where outsourcing comes into play. Outsourcing is when you contract with an external team or company to manage a big project. Not balancing the books, but developing custom software for your next product launch.
Want to attend a trade show or expo, but have no experience? It’s a project you could outsource, hiring a company to design and produce your exhibit space, print up handouts, even sign all the necessary contracts to ensure that you have a good spot on the show floor.
Outsourcing is a whole lot easier than learning everything about everything – what too many entrepreneurs try to do – or trying to find and hire a specialist before the next show appears on your calendar.
If your outsourced team is in another country, that’s generally known as “offshoring”, for obvious reasons. For example, many companies offshore software development to programming teams in India, Eastern Europe, and portions of Asia. This can present complex communication challenges, but the cost of development can be a fraction of what you would pay if you outsourced to a local company. Hiring your own developers? Good luck with that.
If you’re finding that you’re doing a thousand different things that aren’t your core strengths, then your father-in-law is spot on: Outsource the tasks you do inefficiently and get back to working at your best!
Pro Tip: I’ve been consulting with businesses and startups, and writing about business and entrepreneurship for a long time. Please do check out my Business Essentials Library for more articles on important and helpful topics while you’re visiting! Thanks.