Many small business owners hold themselves back from outsourcing because they have doubts. Can I trust people outside my company? Will they accomplish what I want the way I want to do it? Why pay someone else to do it if I can do it myself?
But here’s a friendly word of warning: Your DIY attitude is probably costing you money.
While reasonable, each of these fears has a well-established workaround: encouraging excessive communication, setting project expectations, and signing non-compete agreements. But there’s no workaround for wasting your valuable time working on projects that don’t grow your business.
How Outsourcing Helps Small Businesses Grow
For most small business owners, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But when you outsource the projects that aren’t essential to your business growth, you’re able to devote your time to creating long-lasting business success. Even if you managed to DIY your way through these tasks, a simple misstep here or there could cost you significantly more than if you had outsourced in the first place.
One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is the wide selection. There are as many ways to outsource your work as there are freelancers. Your first step is to identify prospective freelancers by browsing industry websites and outsourcing marketplaces like oDesk, Elance, or Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Then, research the freelancer’s website for his or her portfolio, mission statement, and methods. Take the extra time to really look around and ensure that the person you hire is the best fit for what you’re looking for. You can even pay freelancers to complete a small project before bringing them on for something with a larger scope.
3 Tasks Small Business Owners Should Outsource
If you’re wary of outsourcing, start with the basics. Here are three types of work you should definitely outsource:
For less design-savvy business owners, outsourcing the graphic design of your website, your logo, and your print materials is always worth it. For what you could do in Photoshop in an hour, hundreds of people on Fiverr or 99designs could do better in 10 minutes. You save yourself an hour, and you get a high-quality, professional graphic design set. It’s a win-win.
You’d be surprised at what an outsider can come up with for you when it comes to market research ideas and finding examples of other businesses in your industry that are doing well. Simply secure a contractor on oDesk, Amazon Mechanical Turk, or Elance, and put him or her to work with very specific questions and directions.
Website Changes and Operation
Unless you really know your way around your website, the less tech-savvy are better off outsourcing their website development and operations. Tempted to try it yourself? Picture how much it would cost you if you accidentally brought your whole website down for a day or two —probably a lot more than it would cost you to outsource that big technical change to someone on oDesk.
A word of warning to those who choose to go the DIY route: Keep records of everything that was ever done for your company, including how the change was made and why. In the event of an error or collapse, that documentation could prove invaluable in retracing your steps and reverting to a working version of whatever broke.
If you find yourself stretched too thin and trying to squeak by on DIY, outsourcing will help you grow your business faster and produce higher-quality work. You’ll save yourself time and cash in the long run. Plus, pushing off projects to the experts will leave you free to run your business.
Have you outsourced any work for your small business? What was the result?