When business is bad, it’s bad … and when business is good, it’s both good and bad. Having new clients come pouring in is enough to make you want to dance a jig but also rip out some hair while trying to figure out how to manage it all. You feel stressed and overworked, but you’re not sure if you’re just not managing your time well enough or if you really are in over your head. Here is one tell-tale way to find out:
Create an Accountability Log
In the age of technology, business owners are able to land deals more rapidly than ever. We also are tied to our phones and computers much more. It’s easy to wander to Facebook when you’re checking your email, right?
For one week, create a log of how you spend your day. Keep track of the following:
- Wakeup time
- Literally everything in between
You’ll use this log to assess every minute of your day. Chances are, you’ll find some open windows where you played on your phone for 20 minutes here and there, or you vegged on the couch to watch “House of Cards” for three episodes. Who could possibly blame you, though?
After one week, look at how you spent the last seven days. How many hours were you actually working? Even if you’re taking one to two hours every day for yourself, keep it. You’ll need it as your business grows. Some overall signs you need to outsource include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Lack of comprehension
- Anxiety attacks
- Inability to focus and get things done
- Overflowing to-do list
- Forgetting important events or meetings
The worst: losing out on business because you’re too busy to land clients.
After you assess yourself over one week, if you’re feeling your schedule confirms why you feel grouchy and exhausted, then it’s time to take a big step. Let’s talk about outsourcing.
What Is Outsourcing?
In its simplest terms, outsourcing is delegating a task to another person. While we understand this concept may be hard for you, you sleep-deprived go-getter, there comes a time when you need to do it, or you will physically fail to function. In turn, your business will fail to function. According to Bloomberg, 80 percent of small businesses will fail in the first 18 months, and a big part of that is attributed to the fact the entrepreneurs just can’t keep up with all of the work.
So Why Should I Outsource?
Chances are, if you run your own business or work for a small business, you know what it’s like to wear many different hats. Your passion might be in meeting clients, but someone has to do the accounting and payroll, right? So you forgo meeting with new clients in order to get the necessary accounting evils done.
When you’re at the point where you can outsource, you should really take a long look at what you enjoy doing and what you are successful at doing. If you are your brand and you can sell sell sell like no other, then that is where you need to be, not behind the desk doing budgeting. Outsourcing will allow you to find talent in certain areas, because while you may be a jack of all trades with a few highlighted talents, you can’t do it all. Neither can your small staff – if you even have a staff.
What’s the Hardest Part about Outsourcing?
While picking the right person or company to manage a task is difficult, the hardest part for many entrepreneurs or managers is just letting go of the reins. If you’ve been in control of all aspects of the business for a long time, it will feel odd entrusting someone else with the task, especially if it’s a crucial one. You need to have faith in yourself to select the right person for the job.
How Should I Outsource?
The type of outsourcing you do will really depend on whether you are a service-based or product-based business.
If you are service-based, you can outsource using the following:
Office Assistants: If you’re out on jobs or meeting with clients, the office work doesn’t stop. Instead of letting paperwork, mail and emails pile up, consider hiring an office assistant. Bringing on an office manager or administrative assistant will curb many of your time-wasting to-dos. Find someone who is versatile for this type of position.
If you aren’t ready to hire someone and put them on payroll, you can always explore the option of subcontracting someone for the position or hiring a virtual assistant.
Task-Specific Assistants: The best example of a task-specific assistant I can give you is for wedding photographers. Photographers spend a lot of time meeting with couples and shooting the wedding, but the majority of their time – and the most tedious process – starts after the wedding in the editing process.
Because sifting through more than 1,000 photos is extremely time-consuming, many photographers outsource to an editing specialist. It saves them time and money because the 60+ hours they would have spent on editing can be invested back into the business in different ways.
If your business allows for you to delegate one or two specific tasks that you either abhor or aren’t the greatest at doing, go for it! You’ll feel better knowing you have an expert to tackle those to-dos, which gives you the time to do the things you love and expand your business.
For a more product-based industry, you’ll want to explore the above, but a more specific route you can go is by exploring how a fulfillment company could help your business grow. Instead of those late nights boxing up endless mountains of products for shipment, a fulfillment company can streamline your process.
Depending on the company you hire to help you send out your goods, they will specialize in how to better ship your items at lower cost rates to you. They’ll help you understand how to ship your product in a safer and timelier manner to your customers. In turn, you’ll have more time to meet with new clients.
If you’re on the brink of having a booming business on your hands, you need to realize it can explode and shower you with rain or fire depending on your course of action. Delegating before you may want to do so will help your business thrive. Take the time to plan your course of action and move confidently toward creating a successful business.