A recent study by YouGov found that over 65% of small businesses outsource their key services. But outsourcing isn’t an easy option for many business owners, because knowing who and what to delegate is complicated. And it also requires trusting people you don’t directly employ.
But here’s the thing: If there are tasks you can delegate, getting a team of great people around you can be invaluable in growing your business.
5 ways to work out what to outsource and to whom
There are many benefits to outsourcing, from giving you more headspace to increasing your income which, in turn, helps your business grow.
But how do you do this if you’re reluctant to loosen your grip on the reins?
Here are five tips on working out what to outsource and to whom:
1. Know how you work
Do you work in small chunks? Or big chunks?
Knowing how you work makes it easier for you to work out what you need to delegate.
People who work in small chunks find it easier to work in shorter, 3-month outsourcing plans. If that’s you, you’ll be more comfortable in delegating lots of small amounts of work for shorter periods.
‘Big chunker’ people are more comfortable in delegating work in 12-month plans but may miss the small details. So, there should be someone on your outsourced team who takes care of the little things.
For more on big chunkers vs small chunkers and how this relates to marketing planning, read the insightful article: How to structure a marketing plan by Ros Conkie.
2. Work out what takes up your time and what you dislike doing
If your inbox is a mess and you’re constantly firefighting a high level of emails, a Virtual Assistant can give you time to get on with your actual job. Or, if you’re busy advising your clients on their strategy while doing “lower level” implementation work, you could outsource this to a freelancer with years of experience in your industry.
3. Write a list of everything you do
Do this over the course of a week or fortnight. And split up your to-dos into:
- Task type
- Level of experience
- Skills needed if you were to outsource
Seeing it laid out in this way makes it super-easy for you to work out exactly what needs delegating and to whom.
4. Start small
To minimise both reputational and financial risk, start by outsourcing low-risk tasks. And as your relationship grows and trust builds, you’ll have the confidence to sub-contract bigger work items or invest in retained services.
5. Find the right person/team
Outsourcing is all about saving money and time so take time to find trustworthy partners who are open, easy to contact and ready to take on whatever you pass their way. One way to do this might be to ask your network for recommendations.
Still unsure if outsourcing work is for you?
Then how about this.
Jennie Spears at Bloom PR & Communications has been outsourcing work to an experienced PR and comms freelancer since July 2017. And here is her advice on delegating work and how to do it, especially if you’re concerned about project control:
“My advice to freelancers or small business owners who, having left an in-house position, find themselves without a team to share the workload, is to outsource.
You need someone to bounce ideas off. And when you’re in-house and have a team, you’re constantly talking about projects and ways to do things to achieve what you set out to do. So, it’s vital to have these different ideas buzzing around.
One of my concerns before outsourcing was handing over a project because I wanted to be in control and know what was going on. However, this has never been a problem and now I don’t worry about relinquishing control at all.
Since outsourcing, I haven’t regretted it once.
Consultants don’t have to hand work over carte blanche, but rather, you can say:
‘Let’s try this for 2-3 months and see how it goes.’
And if it isn’t working, you can change it up and do things differently. It’s definitely worth a go.”
Jennie has been a client of mine since July 2017. And she now outsources work to a second PR freelancer – proof that even if you dislike delegating, it really can benefit your business.
Take advantage of one of these low-cost, low-risk outsourcing packages
Mini website review – £135
Get feedback from a fellow comms freelancer on your website’s navigation and content. The review will be delivered to you as a 2 page document with easy-to-action tips.
Blog -> LinkedIn content bundle – £180
You want to be more consistently visible on LinkedIn so why not get ahead by having some ready-to-go evergreen content up your sleeve (that you or your VA can publish).
I’ll repurpose x3 blog posts into x9 ‘ready to publish’ engaging LinkedIn posts (x3 LinkedIn posts per blog).
Social media audit – £270
This one’s a white labelled package that you can deliver directly to your clients.
I’ll audit one of your client’s social media accounts (up to 3 social media channels across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest).
As well as recording profile information, engagement metrics, audience demographics and referral traffic this 2 page report, will provide recommendations for improvements in terms of set-up and content ideas. It will be delivered as an Excel file, branded with your logo and contact details.
Because this service is white labelled, it means you can add a mark-up fee, if you like. Note: I will need access to your client’s social media accounts and Google Analytics account.
Want to get started?
Send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll let you know the next step.
Image: Taken from open-source site unDraw where you can add your brand colour to ready-made illustrations.