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While many entrepreneurs lean on their ability to multitask to get things done for their business, studies have proven the human brain is actually incapable of juggling multiple tasks at once. What’s worse, doing so can actually lower your IQ and damage your brain.
So, to combat problematic multitasking and your ever-growing to-do list, one tactic is to outsource some of your tasks to credible pros. More companies than ever are leaning on outsourcing to fill gaps in their business. In 2017, the global market for outsourced services reaching a whopping $88.9 billion.
To help you understand how to outsource and if it’s right for your business, let’s examine the benefits and some ways you can get started with outsourcing.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
Based on recent research, companies outsource some of their tasks for a variety of reasons. According to the companies surveyed for the report, some of the top justifications for outsourcing include that it’s used as a way to cut costs; outsourcing enables companies to focus on their core business; and it helps free up bandwidth or solves capacity issues.
Image: Customer Think
To better understand how outsourcing can benefit your specific business, let’s take a deeper look at a couple of the top reasons companies lean on outsourcing.
Focus on Running Your Business
While you may have become an entrepreneur for freedom from the 9-to-5 grind or because it’s your passion, running your own business necessitates completing dozens of tasks that are irrelevant to the core focus of your company.
For example, an entrepreneur running an ecommerce company doesn’t just sell products online; you might spend a lot of your time creating paid social ads, writing content for your blog, taking and editing product photos, and fulfilling orders. While all of these tasks are important, they aren’t directly tied to the core business function (creating and selling products).
Outsourcing some (or all) of these tasks can significantly shorten your to-do list—and that means you can get back to actually running your business.
Outsourcing Helps Productivity (Which Can Cut Costs)
Another major advantage of outsourcing tasks is that business owners can offload work they don’t love doing. An entrepreneur won’t like (or be good at) every task it takes to run a successful online business — and that’s one way outsourcing can help.
For example, you might spend four-plus hours researching and writing a weekly, SEO-driven post for your business blog. A seasoned writing pro might spend a fraction of the time writing a blog post that garners equal or better results — and you have four more hours each week to focus on other tasks that can boost your revenue. Not only does that increase your productivity, but also your bottom line.
Outsourcing Creates More Bandwidth for Your Business
If you and your team are running at capacity regularly, then outsourcing could be a solution to explore.
Let’s say your ecommerce business currently receives more orders than you and your current team can fulfill. Outsourcing this function to an order fulfillment service means you can take more orders and increase your revenues simultaneously.
How to Outsource Your Business Tasks
Decide What Tasks to Outsource
To ensure you’re shopping out the right tasks, figure out how you spend your time.
For a week, use a time- and task-tracking tool like Toggl to see how much time you’re spending on specific tasks. Create a list of these tasks along with how much time you dedicate to each so you can get an at-a-glance look at how you spend a typical week running your business.
Once you have a task overview, you can analyze which tasks are low-value, tedious, or that are taking up too much of your time. From there, you can make a more informed decision on outsourcing.
SmallBizTrends recommends business owners should prioritize outsourcing tasks that fall into one of the three following categories:
Repetitive: These are tasks you complete over and over in a specified period of time. A great example is data entry or making dozens of cold calls to potential sales leads.
Specialized: For tasks that require more specialization in a particular niche (i.e. not just anyone can do this job). IT pros and SEO specialists are solid examples of this.
Expert: These are highly specialized tasks that require expert-level knowledge to complete. Examples include accountants, lawyers, and financial analysts.
Common Tasks to Outsource
Thanks to technology, there are more pros available across the globe that specialize in a variety of niches. Business owners can outsource almost any task as a result. However, some of the functions most commonly shopped out include:
Virtual assistant (for administrative tasks)
Marketing (SEO, email, paid)
Social media management
Web design and development
Find the Right Contractors
Now that you have a better grasp on which tasks you want to outsource, it’s time to find a qualified resource to take on the work.
Finding and hiring the right contractor or company is a task in itself — just as with hiring a full-time employee, you’ll have to invest time upfront to find the right fit.
To ensure you’re on the right track, follow some of these best practices for hiring a seasoned contractor:
Advertise on reputable platforms: While Craigslist may be free, you’re more likely to get quality leads on reputable contractor platforms like some of the ones listed below. Don’t forget to check for niche sites depending on your needs.
Ask your network for referrals: Talk to former colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances. They may have worked with a contractor in the past who meets your needs.
Communicate expectations clearly: In your job posting and your early conversations with a potential contractor, make sure you clearly state your expectations. Understand which tasks you want them to perform, establish success metrics, and write thorough project briefs so that you’re both aligned on the work that needs to get done.
Ask for work samples and references: When vetting a contractor, make sure you review their portfolio (if relevant) and chat with a couple of their client references. Ask their references about the contractor’s work ethic, average turnaround times on projects, responsiveness, and familiarity with the tasks you need to be completed.
Sign a contract: Put all your expectations, deadlines and other crucial info into a contract for you and your outsourced partner to sign. This kind of document can protect you if they don’t deliver satisfactory work on a project or if the relationship sours.
There are dozens of places to find and advertise for remote positions online, but some of the top platforms to find remote-based talent include:
Moving Forward With Outsourcing
Now that you understand the ins and outs of outsourcing, you can focus your efforts on running your business and delegate some of your busy-work to qualified assistants.
Want to hire a creative pro to handle writing tasks for your business? Learn more about the questions you should ask when vetting a blog writing service.
Author Bio: Atiqur Rahman Molla is CEO and founder of Clipping Path India, following his uncle's footsteps as a pioneer in the image-editing and offshore clipping path industry. Atiqur founded parent company Outsource Experts Ltd. in 2008 and currently employs more than 300 professionally trained designers worldwide.