Outsource Everything

Outsource everythingOne of the things I am a huge fan of is that every Business Owner should outsource everything that they possibly can. I know I’m not breaking any ground with this idea (if you want to read a great book on the power of outsourcing, I strongly recommend Thomas Friedman’s, The World is Flat) but what I am advocating is pushing this idea to the max. I look at everything I have to do to see whether it’s something I can just outsource it so that I can free up even more of my time.

One of the first really big projects that we received was for a web application in which we were paid a HUGE amount (our largest project for us at the time). This was a project that we scoped out as taking at least 3 months of our full attention. This is back when we were just testing the entrepreneurial waters and had other full-time jobs. All of our spare efforts were focused on this first product delivery, and we delivered as planned by focusing our efforts on it fully.

That project led to another one that was 3 times as big as the initial project and took us another 6 months to complete. Now it wasn’t for 3 times the dollar amount because of a partial equity deal we were involved in. The problem was that when it was all said and done, we had put in about 9 months, and all we really had to show for it was 1 client, 1 project, and nothing else for our business from the previous 9 months.

We don’t regret that period of time. We had a lot of flexibility because of our situation, we learned a lot, and we spring-boarded from that to working on the business full-time, but there was an important lesson learned there.

I Should Have Outsourced Everything that Didn’t Need Us.

The development of the application that we spent all of our time and effort on should have been outsourced to a development company that could have completed the effort based on the requirements that we had already created. We would have made a lot less profit from those efforts but we could have spent that time (which was A LOT of hours) on developing new business, creating new products, or just being lazy!

The important distinction are those efforts for which we are required and those for which we are not. New product/service development and most marketing efforts require our involvement because it’s very tough to outsource something when it’s not even defined yet. But for something that is relatively basic like web application development, we should have outsourced the efforts.

What Else Should I Outsource?
Honestly, if it is something that would take more effort for me to write up the instructions for someone else to do, then I’ll usually do it myself. Otherwise, I delegate it off to someone else. These are just a few things that we did ourselves until just a few times when we realized that it’s much more efficient to hire someone else to do it:

  1. HTML Updates for existing websites
  2. Contact Generation for Marketing efforts
  3. Direct Mail Generation for Marketing efforts
  4. Service Delivery fulfillment for direct mail pieces in our online marketing system
  5. Follow-up calls to existing leads
  6. Sales Lead generation and adding new leads to our contact list
  7. Web Application development

The Financial Mathematics of Outsourcing
The finance behind outsourcing is pretty obvious and has been discussed many times over so I won’t spend much time on it. Simply put, if you can get someone to do something for Ksh 10,000/- and your time is worth more than that Ksh 10,000/-, it is simply an efficient form of resource allocation. Or to put it another way, it might cost you Ksh 5,000/- to outsource a very menial task to someone and during the time that you might have done that yourself, you could create a new marketing campaign that generates Kshs 50,000/- in new business.

You don’t even have to do anything else during that time. If you would just like to spend less time working in your business, the Kshs 5,000/- might be a small cost for the additional free time that you generate.

You Don’t Necessarily Need Offshore Outsourcing
A lot of people automatically associate (and confuse) “outsourcing” with “[offshoring]”. Offshoring is just one way to outsource your work. You can also outsource it to onshore companies. By far, the majority of our outsourcing work goes to local resources. It’s just been easier for us in most cases to pay a little extra money and get someone we can communicate with easily.

Regardless of where you find people or companies to outsource your work to, you need to start outsourcing everything so that you can continually focus your efforts on building your business.

Photo courtesy of MarkHillary.

Additional Resources

Speak your mind