While I was busy spending time with a client on Skype this morning, scoping out our work for the next few weeks, I had two subcontractors here with me. Not actually in my office, but one was cleaning my bathroom and another was doing some ironing because, for me, life is just too short for ironing sheets.
So I have outsourced these domestic tasks.
It is just not a good use of my time when I can be doing client work and growing my business. Besides, the cleaner and the ironing lady are so much better at those tasks than me, so much quicker, and their hourly rate is lower than mine.
Isn’t that what outsourcing is all about?
I know it is tempting for small business owners to try to save money by doing everything themselves, but this can seriously hamper progress and reduce income generation. Tasks that are suitable for outsourcing are often things that require specialist expertise such as tax accounting, IT services and legal work.
But there are also many non-income generating tasks that do not make the best use of an entrepreneur’s time if they want to continue growing their business. No-one is suggesting that they can’t do these tasks themselves, but is it either efficient or cost effective?
Instead, a more pro-active approach would be for them to build the costs of outsourcing into their fee structure or project price. Maybe they are charging a client for an hour to complete a task that could be outsourced to a business support professional, leaving them free to concentrate on the aspects of the project that require their own specialist expertise. Or maybe help with keeping their business management tasks under control behind the scenes in their own business would give them time to think, peace of mind and more energy to maximise the client opportunities. Such outsourcing can add value to small businesses, and bring a return on investment.
Have a think about where your time disappeared to during this last week. I feel sure that a large percentage of it has not been income generating or client facing time. It may be worth tracking this over a sample week, recording hours against client time, marketing, business management etc and breaking this down into the tasks only you can do, and those that could be outsourced, those you enjoy doing, and those you do not.
If those things that someone else could do and you do not enjoy, get left to the eleventh hour, or maybe even the thirteenth, then maybe you should consider exploring the value in outsourcing. Just leave it with me.