March 10, 2015

You Don’t Have To Do It All – Nor Should You

outsourcing advantages disadvantagesOutsourcing has gotten a bit of a bad rap in the last few years and even if you’re not thinking of relocating a factory overseas, many people think that as an entrepreneur you should keep everything under your roof.  Hire staff, sure – but outsourcing to a third party tends to be spoken about only in whispers.

So let’s come clean today.  I am an entrepreneur and I outsource.  Currently, I outsource my taxes, web design, and the more complex graphic design elements (like Infographics) of this site.  But that’s not the only tasks that a small business owner can outsource.  The top categories for outsourcing also include bookkeeping/payroll, IT support, content management/marketing, HR, customer support.

What are some reasons to outsource and some reasons to think twice about it?  Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of outsourcing:

Pros of Outsourcing:

  • More free time for you to do what you’re best at and thus, more time for you to focus on growing your business quickly;
  • By choosing the right people for the tasks, you can make sure that your projects are being handled by professionals who have more skills and/or expertise in an area than you do;
  • Cost savings associated with not having to pay an employee and that employee’s benefits.

Cons of Outsourcing:

  • Trusting someone else with an important aspect of your business.  This may include exposing confidential material about your company to a third party (such as your accounting books) or ensuring that the third party understands your business’ mission, goals, and branding like an employee would.
  • Reliability and meeting deadlines may be an issue as outsourced projects cannot be as easily controlled and monitored as those that are kept in-house.  Third parties are oftentimes working on multiple projects for multiple clients simultaneously which may mean your deadlines aren’t always met.
  • Communication can be tricky with someone who is not on-site or, depending on where you outsource to, may not be in the same timezone or even the same country.
  • While outsourcing may ultimately produce a cost savings for your company, on a per-project basis you may end up paying more than if the project was kept in-house.

I’m a firm believer that in order to be a successful entrepreneur you have to understand your strengths and weaknesses and then work to surround yourself with people who complement your skill set.  Trying to do everything all by yourself, for the long term, is a recipe for self-destruction so spend some time determining what you may want to outsource or hire in for and what sort of timeframe you’re looking to make those decisions.

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