Businesses are increasingly looking to outsource tasks of all shapes and sizes. Liz Goscomb guides you through what to outsource and when to do it for maximum effect.
Outsourcing is a growing trend, whether due to peaks in workload or just the sheer volume of tasks involved in running a business. In 2013, nearly a quarter of small businesses used freelancers on a weekly basis and this has grown ever since.
Advancing technology has also made virtual teams highly cost effective. The number of virtual assistants has snowballed from an estimated 2,000 worldwide in 2004 to 1,300 in the UK alone in 2014.
So what does that mean for your business?
When should I outsource?
There are many instances when it makes sense to use someone else’s skills:
- For repetitive tasks that you don’t have the skills or the resources for
- For a large project that needs to be delivered but exceeds the capacity of your workforce
- Where the size of your to-do list is overwhelming
- If there’s a sudden gap to fill; perhaps a member of the team is unwell
- Easily delegated tasks that take up a lot of time, such as research. Outsourcing this can provide you with the information and options you need to make effective decisions while freeing up your time to work on other tasks
- When day-to-day tasks are getting in the way of growing your business
- If someone else is more skilled to complete the task – they’ll do a great job and you can use your time for something else
- When your time is better spent doing something else
Is it for me?
Outsourcing aspects of your work may not suit you if:
- You’re someone who likes complete control
- You want to be heavily involved in the detail
- You would rather do things yourself
Successful delegation is a skill in itself. To get the results you want, it’s worth taking time to set clear expectations and explain the outcome you’re looking for. Always agree timescales and a budget. And a thorough debrief will help you to develop a working relationship. A good virtual assistant will help you with this process; it’s in their interest to do a great job for you.
Outsourcing certain business tasks should help you in a number of ways:
- Save the cost of employing full-time staff, such as costs for national insurance, desk space, pensions etc
- Enjoy flexibility in capacity
- Save time so you can concentrate on growing your business
- Get a sense of progress as jobs are successfully completed
What can I outsource?
Virtual assistants and specialists can be used for a variety of services. The most common business tasks we are asked to help with are:
- Admin and PA services
- Data entry
- Event Management
- HR support
- Making travel arrangements
- Project Management
- Website updates
If you’re thinking that you could really use some help with any of these areas, Hour Hands can help. Contact us to discuss our specialist business support that saves you time and money.