The Entrepreneur's Secret Weapon: Outsourcing
Updated: May 15
Entrepreneurs and start-up founders often find themselves burning the candle at both ends. In addition to building their business, they often find themselves spending nights and weekends doing the books, writing Facebook posts, hiring, etc. etc. etc.
But smart entrepreneurs know that they can’t do it all and more importantly, that they shouldn’t! In fact, it has never been easier for business owners to outsource parts of their business to experts – and focus on the fundamentals.
More and more, professionals in a range of disciplines – from finance to marketing – have left the corporate world and offer their services on an on-demand, hourly basis. That means that in some cases, a small business or start-up can tap a finance pro with Fortune 1000 experience to do their bookkeeping at an affordable cost, or use marketers who have experience launching major consumer brands to manage their social media and content writing.
So, as a business owner, how do you go about determining what to outsource and how to find the right person to take over those tasks? Read on for tips and advice that will help you outsource strategically – so you can focus on growing your business.
When and What to Outsource?
For an entrepreneur, turning over any part of your business to someone else can seem like a momentous decision. You’ve built this baby, and you’re reluctant to lose control over any part of it. So how do you know when – and more importantly, what – to outsource?
It’s not a core part of your business
Many tasks are integral to the success of your business, but aren’t necessarily part of your core services – think things like bookkeeping, specific marketing tasks, operational day-to-day that is important, but not necessarily specific to delivering your product or service. For example, a caterer or restauranteur still needs someone to manage the books, but it may not be a core competency for them specifically.
You can’t handle the task in-house
Sure, entrepreneurs are used to rolling up their sleeves and doing it all. But sometimes, there’s a task that you just can’t handle. It’s hard to admit – but it is true. When you need a professional to design a new website, launch a marketing campaign, or set up your IT infrastructure, trust the experts who focus on these tasks every single day. You’ll save time and money in the end by making sure it’s being done right the first time.
So What Do I Outsource?
In reality, you can find a professional who’s willing and able to take almost any task off your plate. So what types of things really lend themselves to outsourcing? Some of the most common tasks entrepreneurs outsource are listed below.
Developing Web Content
Most everyone does their buying research online – so having a good website is critical. But once you’ve built the site, you need to keep it current (and easily found online) by adding fresh content regularly. Both coming up with ideas – and writing the content well and to maximum advantage for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – takes time and a very specific skill set. This is a perfect task to delegate to professional writers and marketers with this expertise.
Related Post: 5 Things: Developing Content That Works for Your Brand
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
On a related note, a proactive SEO strategy is essential to drive people to your site. SEO specialists can help create more backlinks and improve keyword content on your site, including writing SEO-focused blog content.
Social Media Management
Social media isn’t just for sharing photos – and connecting with old contacts. It’s now a core platform for interacting with customers and leads. In fact, recently, a client got an inquiry via their Facebook page which turned into a nearly $1M contract. Many companies are also leveraging their social presence for customer support, announcing and promoting new products, and much more. But to use this important platform effectively take a lot of time. More time than the average founder – and staff – at a busy young company has. This is a great area to delegate to a professional who can proactively engage with your customer and prospects on your behalf via your social platforms.
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With online presence being so important, your brand’s look is critical. A professional graphic designer can ensure that everything you do – your website, business cards, social posts, infographics, sales presentations and promotional materials all have the same look and communicate your brand well. This will help your company to look well-established and professional.
Data is critical – from helping you understand how to market to specific leads, to following up with existing customers, it all hinges on having accurate data. However, in the early days of getting your business going, it is very easy to fall into the bad habit of not entering critical customer and lead data in a timely fashion. You’ve got too much going on to make time for entering the info from all of those business cards into your CRM system. Or worse, you haven’t even had the time to use a CRM system at all. Enter outsourcing. Having an extra set of hands to enter and organize critical business information in CRM systems, upload all relevant info to Google Docs, and record meetings, etc. can be a huge help.
A professional bookkeeper can help keep your business on track in ways that you might not even realize. In addition to ensuring things are paid on time, quarterly taxes are paid, and forms are submitted as necessary, they can see trends in your business that you might miss, just because they’re taking an outsider’s view.
Take Back Control
Ironically, by outsourcing some critical tasks, you actually gain more control over your business. Once you’re not weighed down with non-core functions, you are freed up to be much more strategic about your time and your business. Instead of spending one day a week on the books, you might spend that extra time on networking to grow your business. Instead of asking your overworked team to also write blog posts, they can focus on customer service and upselling to existing customers. Smart entrepreneurs know that outsourcing is the secret weapon that allows them to focus on growth and control their own destiny.
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