The secrets of successful outsourcing
By Dean Williams (Print-Print.co.uk)
Have you asked yourself why your business isn’t growing?
If you’re running a small business and doing everything yourself, at some point you’re going to realise you can’t grow any more. The reason is simple: leverage.
Unless you find a way to clone yourself, or stop the clock, being your business’ only asset inherently limits your growth.
So, whether you call it outsourcing, team building, delegation or something else, if you want to grow beyond that point, you’re going to have to reach out for help, and learn to let other people do some of the work.
Here are four things you need to know about outsourcing to do it successfully:
1.Define what you want and communicate it clearly
If you don’t know exactly what you want from a contractor, how can they possibly hope to deliver? Don’t advertise for someone to do your marketing or generate sales leads. Instead, think about the quality and quantity of leads you want. Identify your target market, or a niche section of it, and advertise for someone to reach that audience using specific media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook or in forums. Set a target, such as 25 new Facebook likes, or email list subscriptions, and set parameters. That way both you and your contractor know what’s expected of them, and it’s easy to judge whether they have succeeded or failed.
2. Break it down into small steps
Don’t outsource a large project to a single contractor you have no prior experience with. Instead, break down the project into its component parts, and outsource each part individually.
The first time you outsource something, make it a small test job - one that won’t impact on your business if it goes wrong. Experiment with multiple freelancers, and weed out the ones who aren’t a good fit. You’ll often get better results assigning highly specific tasks to specialist individuals rather than giving the whole job to one person anyway.
3. Focus on the result
As an entrepreneur, you need to be detail oriented, but if your business is going to grow, you need to be able to give a solid brief and forget about the process, focusing instead on the results. You wouldn’t hire an accountant and sit by his shoulder micro-managing how he did your accounts, so learn to show your freelance experts the same respect. Let the website designer worry about website design, while you concentrate on building the content. Trust copywriters to create content while you go about marketing, or trust the marketing specialist to deliver traffic while you look at the big picture and decide which direction to take your business in.
4. Reward success with more responsibility
In time you can hire a project manager to co-ordinate all those small jobs. If your website designer proves reliable, you could have them sub-contract graphic design and software development. If your copywriter is also a good editor, you might have them allocate content to other writers.
The trick is to start small with something you are comfortable letting someone else do, whether it's because you don’t know how or because it’s a simple job, and build relationships until you find you have a valued team surrounding you. At that point, you’ll realise how much your business has grown and that you couldn’t have done it all yourself.