When you start a small business, it’s usually only you behind the whole operation and you haven’t even thought about outsourcing business tasks. You wear many hats, from CEO to clean-up crew. As you pour your heart and soul into your business and it begins to grow, the amount of work involved grows with it.
Because a small business is so focused on survival, you pay a lot of attention to the bottom line. This makes a lot of sense, but it also leads to being seriously overworked.
There will inevitably come a time when you have to consider letting go of some control and paying others to take some things off your plate. Here are five signs that it’s time for you to start outsourcing business tasks:
You’re overwhelmed and stressed
This one’s a dead giveaway. If you find that there isn’t enough time in the day, you’re losing sleep, free time is a thing of the past, and you’re not your usual self — you’ve reached burnout. This is not a sustainable place to be, and you would be wise to start offloading some activities ASAP.
You’re spending time doing things you hate
Nobody goes into business hoping to spend their days completing tasks they despise. It starts with a dream, or an idea for how to make things better. Or even an idea for how to make more money. Whatever the reasons you had for starting your business, they likely did not include doing tasks that are tedious or that you don’t enjoy.
When you decide to start outsourcing business tasks, start with functions that are eating up your time in an unenjoyable way. Once you let these go, you’ll find your purpose renewed because you can focus on what you loved about your business to begin with.
Quality of work has gone down
When you’re working hard and trying to manage all aspects of your business, it can be easy to miss this sign that you’re not juggling it all as well as you thought. Many times, the first signs come from a client complaint–often along the lines of delivering a lower-quality product or missing something in your services.
When the quality of your work declines, it’s definitely time to get some help. If you’re not satisfying your customers, your business will begin to suffer – and then you won’t need the extra help after all, because there won’t be a business to run.
No time to grow
If you want your business to grow, you need time to plan for it. If you’re just getting by and not able to plan your next steps, you need to outsource some tasks. When you find that you’re barely holding it together to get everything done and there’s not time for anything else, get help. No business gets to the next level by completing the bare minimum.
No personal time
When your work life is taking over your personal life, it’s time to enlist some help. It isn’t sustainable to work so hard that you have no time for family, friends, or enjoyable pursuits.
You might be saving a bit of money, but you will also exacerbate your stress and miss out on the enjoyable parts of life. Did you get into business so you could work 16 hours a day seven days a week? Probably not, but you may find yourself doing that for weeks and even months at a time.
If that’s the case, you’re going to burn out. It’s time to get some help.
What can you outsource
When you think about it there are a number of tasks in your business that you don’t have the expertise, time or desire to do yourself. Some of them could be:
- Administrative support
- Graphic design
- Web development
- Follow up phone calls
- Event planning
- IT management
This is a very small list and there are many other things you could outsource in your business. But also think about the things you could outsource at home to make your life a little easier – cleaning, gardening and mowing, pool maintenance, pet grooming, children tutoring, ironing, cooking. You don’t need to do it all yourself and getting some help with some of these things will free up your time to do the things you love – in your business, and with your loved ones.
The benefits of outsourcing business tasks
As a business owner it can be exhausting to deal with everything, to keep all the balls in the air, and to keep your team, customers and family happy. Here are a few of the benefits of outsourcing:
- Cost saving – although you’re going to be paying somebody to do these tasks for you and that was money you weren’t spending before, it’s a false economy to do it yourself. You don’t have the expertise, which means it takes you longer. You don’t have the time, which means it may not get done at all. You don’t have the inclination, which means you won’t do a good job. All of this is costing you money.
- Increased efficiency – outsourcing these tasks means they’ll get done at a high standard while you’re leveraging your time and doing the things that you’re good at, and that you love. The tasks you outsource are being done by somebody with expertise in that field and they’ll do a much better job in far less time than you could.
- Grow your business – if you’re trying to do everything, you just don’t have time to grow your business. Making use of the expertise around you means your time can be focused on the activities that allow you to grow – working on tasks that bring in leads/sales, growing the skills of your team, rather than reconciling your bank account and preparing your BAS.
It’s a difficult mindset shift for an entrepreneur who has spent all their time so far trying to save and earn as much as possible. But needing to outsource your tasks is actually a sign of success. When you take the leap and hire someone to share the burden, you will be pleasantly surprised by the many ways that it pays off.