As business owners we wear many hats: sales, marketing, finance and general management, to name a few. It’s easy to get caught up trying to do it all yourself, even though it may not be the most productive use of your time.
Savvy business owners work to their strengths. They know their limitations, and embrace outsourcing to bring expertise when and where and they need it. Whether it is a lack of specific skills, resources, or simply being too ‘close’ to the business, hiring external providers for support is a clever way to keep business running at peak performance. Smart business owners don’t do DIY surgery – they call a doctor.
Traditionally, outsourcing was used by big business as a means of cutting payroll expenditure. Today, Australian businesses of all sizes realise the benefits of outsourcing to an industry specialist, to bring deep experience and a fresh perspective on building efficiency, productivity and profitability. Evidence of this is online outsourcer o-Desk reporting 235 per cent growth in Australian businesses hiring through its platforms over the last three years, with a combined spend of US$145 million.
A great example of successful outsourcing is by the world’s second largest computer manufacturer, Acer. They knew they were good at branding and marketing, but outsourced everything they struggled with, such as manufacturing. By playing to their strengths, Acer has thrived with a lean and effective workforce that is one-tenth the size of that of its largest competitor!
Outsourcing can also avoid the challenge of ‘over employment’ that SMEs commonly face. Over-employment happens when a part or full-time person is permanently employed for non-core business tasks – such as website development, marketing or accounting functions – instead of outsourcing to a specialist provider whose services can be called upon as needed. Outsourcing can save considerable time and money for your business. It lets you and your staff focus on core business, and leaves the rest to the experts.
Expert is the operative word. Not only would you not perform your own surgery, I doubt you would let your GP do it either. Your GP would refer you to a specialist –who has the right scalpels and skills to perform the surgery quickly and efficiently. This specialisation is exactly what you should look for when outsourcing. Not a generalist, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ who knows a little about a lot, and might do an okay job. You need an expert in the field who will really add value to your business.
The key to getting real value from outsourcing is to view your external providers as strategic partners who integrate with your business, and will help you to achieve your specific business goals.
Another tip for getting the most value from outsourcing is to step back and allow your new team members to do the job they’ve been hired to do. Although it may be tempting, micromanaging is a sure-fire way to lose any efficiencies gained, and could cost you the opportunity to focus on income generating activities. Your time would be far better spent growing the business by listing another property or signing up a new management.
Instead of doing your own marketing, finance, recruitment or surgery (ouch!), why not call an outside expert to help?