Although many business owners like to retain control over their business, in order to expand it is necessary to delegate. One flexible and cost effective way to delegate is outsourcing specific tasks and departments of your business. This article succinctly demonstrates four steps for effective outsourcing, allowing business owners to work on the business rather than in the business.
Four Steps for Effective Outsourcing
Although a different outsourcing strategy is needed for each business, key principles can nonetheless be applied to bring about the desired result.
1. Organise and Groups all the Tasks
Start by listing the weekly tasks of your organization. Group each activity according to the average time it takes to complete. Next determine how much profit each one derives, either indirectly or directly. A picture should emerge in which some tasks are low value and time intensive. For instance, back office tasks such as emailing prospects or maintaining a database are low value and time intensive. These tasks can be shortlisted for outsourcing. Having considered all tasks you will now have a list of
tasks that can be outsourced.
2. Create Processes to Maximise the Value
Having found a suitable outsourcing partner, it is important to maximise the value that they deliver to you. A common mistake in outsourcing is when business owners provide vague instructions for a task which must then be clarified further in order for the outsourced worker to be able to perform the task. Since this takes additional time it is counterproductive and should be avoided. Be sure therefore to provide clear instructions and accesses to resources that may be needed during the course of the tasks’ completion. Create processes and ensure they are being followed and applied. It takes time to onboard a new staff member, specially if they are overseas. Hence make sure to give the best instructions and involve the outsource professional as part of the team in order to speed up the learning curve.
3. Measure Effectiveness
Conduct a bi-monthly review in order to measure the effectiveness of the outsourcing. During this review you should assess the quality of the work carried out and review customer feedback. Handling substandard work and providing guidance both demand time of the business manager so these need to be monitored closely. Items requiring substantial amounts of management and training should be dealt with to ensure the outsourcing arrangement supports your goals. Be sure to compare the amount of your time taken with the time given in the initial list of tasks. If the amount is comparable then you should consider making adjustments in order to ensure that the partnership is productive.
4. Refocus on Your Business
Having effectively outsourced tasks that are of low value, the manager should be in a position in which he or she can focus on the higher value tasks essential for business growth. By freeing up time it is now possible to invest more time and energy into planning and developing strategy for the business and appreciate the benefits of having an outsourced solution in place. At each stage of growth it is important to review the original list of weekly tasks and assign low value time intensive tasks to your outsourced partner. If more complexity is involved, consider investing in training for your outsource partner so they can handle all necessary tasks competently and to the standard required of all other employees.
In summary, there are many benefits to outsourcing your business functions. By following the four steps for effective outsourcing outlined here it is possible to realise tangible benefits of outsourcing. Hence, it will ensure that you can run a productive operation with the minimum of inefficiency and focus on the meaningful tasks in your business.