Economic news as it is, outsourcing may be the last thing you’re considering. But you should, especially if you’re a small business. I’ve met so many small business owners (myself included) who get stuck in a flawed way of thinking that goes like this:
- I know how to do that.
- Why should I pay someone?
- It only takes a few minutes.
- I can’t afford to hire someone to do it.
But when you break it down, it’s crazy. You don’t take that approach in other areas of your life, do you? When you want an omelette, you don’t buy a chicken. You go to the store for a dozen eggs. Sure, you could put some chickens in the backyard. It wouldn’t take up too big a portion of your day to feed the little peckers. But you don’t spend your time raising chickens just to get a few eggs.
What to Outsource
Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to identify functions and activities to outsource:
- Is the activity central to generating profits or creating competitive advantage?
- Is the job a routine task that could be easily communicated to someone else?
- Does the task wastes valuable time and energy?
- Is the function temporary, or does it recurs in cycles?
- Does the activity drains resources that could be better used elsewhere?
- Is the skill required for the job so specialized that it costs more to train someone in-house to do it?
- Is it something nobody wants to do?
Will it be less expensive to have someone else do it?
That last question is a kicker. You’ll never know if you’re in denial about how much resources are expended on things that could be outsourced. Outsourcing enables you to spend time on your core competencies, those things that make your business special and profitable. You may whip up a great omelette, but you’re no chicken farmer.
So what do you outsource? And how did you decide outsourcing was the right way to go?