Yes, outsourcing can help your small business grow. Today I will cover how.
You’re a one-man-show. Or maybe a one-woman power house.
You’ve not only developed the product for your small business, you’ve also become an expert at Search Engine Optimization. Maybe accounting has also become part of your repertoire. In addition, you have learned some html coding to make updates to your website and you’re designing your own flyers to personally distribute them at the next trade fair. Consequently, you’re sleeping 6 hours a night – at best – and are close to a burn out. Except for, you can’t afford a burn out.
Does this sound like you?
I am here to tell you what most of us have to tell our mothers.
It is time to let go.
It’s not time to let go of your business, quite the opposite.
But, it’s time to let go of pretending that increased savings is what your business needs to grow.
It is time to let go of thinking that you know best about SEO, accounting, marketing, finance AND sales. You’re not an expert in all of those fields.
Twenty years ago, your strategy could have worked. The world wasn’t as big and your competition not as hungry. Outsourcing was a competitive advantage available to big guys like IBM and Shell. The French restaurant next door wasn’t outsourcing logo design to the Philippines and accounting to Poland. Much has changed and it is time to adapt.
2. Why outsourcing can help your small business grow and increase productivity
First, go three days in a row with 3 hours of sleep. Then do your absolutely normal day-to-day household tasks and catch the number of mistakes you make. Did you accidentally throw away a fork instead of placing it in the dishwasher? Likely you spent 10 minutes looking for your keys and 5 minutes for your phone. it is likely that the meal you prepared the night before, you forgot at home. You drove to the supermarket in an almost intoxicated state-of mind. And that’s just a list of inefficiencies and mistakes that you are aware of.
When you do your company’s accounting based on 5 forum posts you read on Turbotax, you’re making decisions in an equally intoxicated state-of-mind. You are likely:
- Making mistakes that you are not aware of.
- Making mistakes that you become aware of after the fact.
- Not taking advantage of potentially tax-saving resources, because you’re not familiar with them.
And all of that, because you did not want to spend $350 on an accountant.
Calculating the cost of doing it all yourself:
Let’s break down the cost of your labor in this accounting example.
- You spent 2 hours on TurboTax and other websites to research. Because you’re a business owner, I assume you want an annual salary of at least $70K, equivalent to $31/hour, assuming 2,080 hours of work per year. So, your cost in conducting research is $62.
- That hour you spent in bed thinking about the tax issue: another $31.
- You didn’t expense part of your home office, because you’re concerned the IRS may not accept it and you want to stay on the safe side. That was a mistake and it could have saved you $150 on the bottom-line.
- You paid for a business tax software. $89.
- You made a mistake. Neither you, nor I know what this is.
Consequently, the total cost of your labor: $62 + $31 + $150 + $89 = $332.
Total cost of a professional accountant: $350
That is not where it ends, unfortunately.
As a result, you’ve spent three hours doing accounting, when you should have been winning more customers.
How many potential leads could you have followed up with in those three hours? Could you have set up a meeting with a key supplier to build a long-term partnership? Maybe you could have made some cold-calls
Forget work. You could have had date night with the wife.
You need to outsource parts of your business, to make YOU more effective in your business.
3. Paying for professional services = confidence in your business = growth
2 out of 5 professional individuals will experience “the Imposter Syndrome”. The feeling that their achievements are not worthy and their work or knowledge is inferior. They may accomplish the same things as their peers, yet from their perspective, it’s not as good.
It is very hard to sell your product and grow your business if you believe you’re work is not valuable. If you develop your own logo or product design, you will think of it as inferior. As a result, you have shot yourself in the foot, because you are less likely to promote it.
Tip: Outsourcing is a great mechanism to prevent the Imposter Syndrome from slowing your growth.
Let others do the parts of your business you don’t believe you are good at. Place it in the hands of someone you consider an expert, within your budget.
Here’s an example. You’ve built a WordPress site and integrated WooCommerce to sell products. You kind of understand how to add products and the site looks good enough, but you don’t feel comfortable including your website URL in your E-mail signature. You are officially stalling your business.
Most importantly, when you pay a professional developer to build your e-commerce website, you gain a level of certainty. If your contract says you will have a website ready within a week, then 90% of the time, that is what you will get. If you encounter a technical glitch, you can call the developer with certainty and have them resolve the issue. Even if you have to pay for that service, you know the problem will get fixed. At the end of the week, your business owns a well-functioning, professional website that you are proud of.
Consequently, you are more likely to mention your website on your business card and email signature and you’re going tell friends and family all about it. Do you hear the cash register sound as loud as I do?
In conclusion, by paying others to perform parts of your business, you build confidence and consequently, grow your business.
Now that I have convinced you that outsourcing can help your small business grow, let’s review what tasks you can give others to do.
4. Tasks a small business should outsource
To clarify, the following recommendations are based on the assumption that they are not the line of your work. As an example, if you’re a brand and logo design company, develop your own logo.
- Logo design and branding. Don’t try to Pixlr your logo. First, develop an idea for your design. Second, have some examples ready and be able to explain your company vision. Then hand over the design work to someone who knows how to use the right tools.
- Website development. Trying to modify CSS code at 3 AM will leave you frustrated.
- PR & marketing campaign development. Work with someone who understands the right portal for you to market your business in. Don’t attempt to perform Blackhat SEO strategies that will damage your ranking.
- Content creation. Bloggin is a profession. There are qualified individuals (including lawyers, doctors, investors etc.) freelance as a side hustle. They can generate qualified content for your website or social media platforms.
- Accounting (Payroll / Bookkeeping). Get an accountant who can provide Tips to cost effectively structure your business. For smaller start-ups a local accountant is the best approach.
- Low productivity errands like picking up boxes from customs or delivering boxes to the postal office. There are tons of tools where you can find a cost effective assistant. Don’t spend time in line at the local postal office to pick up or deliver your products.
In conclusion, you don’t have to do everything yourself and there are many parts of your business others can do for you (better).
4. Tools and website to use for outsourcing
Logo / graphics design:
- Etsy – find lots of qualified designers in your region or abroad. You can review their historical sales, portfolio and reviews. Find an individual who understands your company’s branding.
- Upwork – I will be recommending Upwork for many different types of tasks; Certainly, graphics design is one of them.
- Upwork – You can find developers for WordPress/Woocomerce, Shopify, Prestashop and many other platforms. They can help you setup your website and troubleshoot at any moment. You can specify the budget of your work and monitor the costs. Developers rely on positive feedback and are going to do their best to make you happy.
- Your hosting provider. Most hosting providers offer you to setup the infrastructure for an E-Commerce or Blogging infrastructure. Utilize that resource. HostGator offers such a service, as an example.
PR & marketing:
- Slingstone: An award winning PR and marketing agency focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs. (US based)
- Outsource.be: PR and marketing firm based out Belgium, Europe.
- Upwork – Find qualified individuals from various industries. Create a project, define your budget and start.
- If you are running an E-Commerce page, identify plugins/modules that can be added on to develop financial statements that your accountant can utilize. This will simplify their work and reduce your expenses.
- SLC Bookkeeping: From hair salons to hotels, they’ll cover the bookkeeping efforts.
- Assitant Ninja: They do the recruiting process, so all you have to do is outsource your errands.