In my previous articles on why small businesses fail I’ve mentioned ‘being overwhelmed’ and the fact that the small business owner is guilty of ‘trying to do too many things’.
When I first started running my own small business…do you know what the toughest part was?
Running the whole business:
- Customer Support
- Generating ideas
- Learning new things
- Technical side
- Creating Products
As a small business owner, I quickly discovered I couldn’t do everything myself unless I was willing to work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week.
And of course, I didn’t want to do that. The whole point of escaping the 9-5 and working for myself was to get some freedom back into my life.
So this is what I did…
I believe we all have natural strengths. Some of us are good with numbers, some good on the technical side and others on generating ideas…and so on.
When you are doing something that comes naturally to you and you love doing it. When working within your natural strengths, you are much more productive, energized…happier!
As mentioned above there are many tasks to complete when running your small business and you cannot be naturally good at all of them.
The best advice I can give you, the small business owner:
Work on the tasks that come naturally to you (might be the technical side, might be the creative side) and outsource as much of the rest as you can.
A method that 99% of small businesses owners don’t do. They try and do everything themselves and often fail.
Why don’t they outsource?
It could be that they cannot afford to. Of course, when first starting a small business, it can be difficult to justify the cost of outsourcing.
But there are other business owners who have the money to invest and still don’t outsource.
Because they cannot let go. They think no one can do the work as good as them. They don’t trust someone else to do the work..
But I think you should start to outsource as soon as you’re financially able to. Stick to using your natural strengths (you working day will be much happier) and outsource some of the tasks you don’t like…you know the ones you procrastinate over!
If you are serious about running a successful small business, then outsourcing is the key to getting things done.
If you would like to outsource any of the technical or blog writing side of running your on-line business, check out my business blogging services.
What’s your view on outsourcing?
Tried it and it worked?
Tried it and it didn’t work?
Never tried it? Why?
Please share your views in the comments below.
Dear Andrew –
Especially outsource the tech side. It takes too long to learn it and there are people like you who do it off the side of your wrist.
Step out of your niche and write something personal. You will not get demerits.
Solicit a particular person you like and invite them to write a guest post. Instead of waiting for one to come in.
Get some of the work off your back. Yes, someone else can do it as well as you can.
With each task, we need to think…’who else could do this?’
Then find someone to do it!
People would be amazed what you can outsource these days.
Hey Andrew, I have just recently started outsourcing parts of my business, id say about 2 months or so. Its amazing how much more Proper work you can get than, work that will move your business forward. As you don’t have to spend hours figuring out How to do something or taking time out to do it.
Just give to a reliable freelancer and work on What We Do Best.
You have made a huge decision…to outsource.
That’s awesome. Making and acting on that decision alone can take others months od deliberation.
Glad you didn’t.
Excellent post as one would expect 🙂 About six months ago I turned the corner from wanting to do everything myself to wanting to do nothing but follow up on everything I wanted done. Now more things get done and the projects turn out better then they did before.
Sounds perfect, John.
It’s amazing how much gets done when you can offload things and you trust the person to do them.
Shoot – you nailed it when you said that we procrastinate on the things we don’t like to do…well, it is true! It is really hard to cost justify when you are running on a shoestring, but I believe the results will increase my business and therefore give me more operating casn.
You can be in ‘catch-22’ when you first start out, I agree.
But even if you can afford just $10 a month, you could get a few things outsourced.
Outsourcing is a VERY good idea BUT – and this is a really BIG but – you have to CHOOSE WISELY. Every day I see the negative effects of small businesses choosing badly in the manual spam left in my blog. (I don’t see the spambot spam any more thanks to GASP – but that is just a more efficient way blog commenting goes horribly wrong.)
The challenge for most businesses is that they don’t know enough to choose someone competent over someone fairly clueless. What they need to do is find a couple people whose advice they trust, ask them for recommendations, and if they can agree on someone’s abilities and talents they are a good place to start.
Don’t be afraid to say it just isn’t working out and choose someone else. Remember that you DO get what you pay for so if someone is super cheap don’t expect brilliance.
If you don’t have cash, you may be able to trade specialties. I don’t do any of the technical work in my own blogs because I do not choose to stay on top of what changes constantly. I trade my abilities for that work – and they trade that work for what I can do for them.
You are exactly right – you have to chose wisely.
It may take 3 or 4 goes until you find a person(s) you can work with and I like your idea of asking someone you trust.
Plus I really like your idea of sharing abilities…that helps with the cash!
I agree with Gail. Outsourcing is a really good idea to disperse the tasks that you cannot do by yourself or you don’t have the time to actually do it as you are busy doing other stuff. However, you should be careful on the persons you would want to hire as there are others who don’t care too much about the quality of their work.
I agree with what you say…hence my reply to Gail about it may take 3 or 4 goes at finding the best person for your needs.
Couldn’t agree more with your opinions on outsourcing. Here are a handful of free ways to outsource your content that I came up with previously:
Free Outsourcing Ideas
I class those as one-off’s. Not true outsourcing.
This is absolutely true. Sometimes it doesn’t even occur to people that they could be getting outside help. Everyone has their own strengths, and from my experience, a design person doesn’t always have the necessary tech-skills, and the tech people don’t quite have the eye for nice layouts and logos, etc. You need a pool of talent to draw from if you want to succeed!
‘A pool of talent’ – I like that!
And you do and you simply cannot be talented in everything needed to run a small business.
Outsourcing is important especially for someone who run our online business on part time basic. If you are going to learn and do everything yourself, it definitely takes longer to get the work done
AGreed, David. As soon as you can outsource…not matter how small…do it!
You make a great point. Time is money, and if it takes you too long to do something you are better off outsourcing it.
In my own business we have successfully outsourced what might appear as our main product. But the product isn’t as important as the customer service we provide. And the product can be outsourced so cheaply that it doesn’t make sense for us to spend a lot of time and money on it…
You touch on a good point about customer service.
That’s one area I don’t (and would not) outsource.
I like to work with my clients directly, not via someone else.
I guess a good businessman is a risk taker. They need to take the risk if they want their business to flourish. Outsourcing is definitely one of the best options for small businesses. But normally it should be done when your business is online.
I’m not sure why you say, “But normally it should be done when your business is online.”.
It’s not just on-line business that can benefit from outsourcing.
If you had a sandwich delivery company…you could outsource the deliveries or the making of the sandwiches!
You definitely got a point on there. I was only saying that most online businesses do outsourcing.
Sorry but… I would say most online businesses do NOT do outsourcing.
For a beginner, it is very hard to optimize the site and to get more traffic. Of course, there are so many competitors and they are outsourcing SEO specialists so that they can save. Well, if you are knowledgeable with link building, you can start optimizing your site on your own. Do social networking, blog commenting and article marketing so that you can plug your products.
True – that’s just one area of outsourcing.
I think everyone needs to outsource at some point as well, as soon as they’re financially able to.
My advise is just to take a little bit more time and make sure the outsourcers are really good at what they do or else you will sacrifice some quality. And once you start outsourcing, it’s better to outsource your work to different individuals or companies in such a way that you won’t reveal any secret marketing strategy that you’ve developed yourself.
I agree, if outsourcing is a practical way to jump start a SEO campaign for your website. It’s cost effective and it works. However, you need to make sure the contractor has a good track record of results, otherwise you’ll just waste your money.
How do you check the contractor has a good track record of results?
As Gail says above, it can take a few times to get the right person(s) on board.
It took me many mistakes before I found the people I outsource to now.
Outsourcing is valuable not only as a means for accomplishing the things that you might not necessarily be the most-skilled at, but for accomplishing the “little things” that keep you from focusing on larger issues at hand and the “big picture.” Like you mention, though, it can be incredibly difficult to relinquish control at first, but most of the time its crucial to the success of your business.
I like your point about outsourcing the small stuff to concentrate on the big picture.
That is one way to appraoch it.
Thanks for sharing that insight.
Loving your ways. I will try to improve my online business.
Hi Andrew, it’s a great tips you’ve explained. Well, I’m also agree with you. I’d prefer to outsource some things if it’s possible. Outsource has become more and more reliable too these days, so I guess you won’t have any much trouble by using the outsource method.
You can still have problems. Many people offering outsourcing type services often exaggerating their skills.
You have to test them!
Outsourcing is so underrated. I think many small business owners, especially those trying to earn an income online, are being penny wise but pound foolish when they try to do all the work by themselves. This is a sure way to limit growth potential of their ventures and their earnings.
Shame they have that thinking.
I think learning new things to small business is very important. there is no problem to outsource you think that can help you grow your small business…
Maybe those who run small businesses feels that they can handle the workload by devoting some more time and energy but being only a human how much work can one person handle at a time? Some are still skeptical about introducing outsourcing but if it can benefit others it should benefit us as well. By outsourcing we get the task done from experts and that too at a minimal fee and the results may be better than what we expected.
When it comes to outsourcing you do have to let go and trust the people you are outsourcing to.
There will be times when you just don’t find the right people…so you move on.
I can totally relate to this! I finally got to the point of feeling overwhelmed with everything in my business. This year I am trying to outsource a few different aspects so I can concentrate on other areas that really need hands on attention.
That’s great. It’s a huge step you have taken.
Ah, but what about control issues! That biz is your BABY – you can’t trust anybody to take care of her as well as you do! 🙂
But, really… you can actually FAIL because of this?
When you outsource, you ensure you have control mechanisms in place.
And yes, I think many small companies fail because they try and do everything themselves.