Why, When, What and How to Outsource Tasks

 Richard White  March 22, 2013

Is it a good idea for a small business to outsource some tasks?

Contrary to what many small business entrepreneurs think, it is often a great idea to outsource certain tasks to others. But, before you make any decisions to outsource, here are a few things you need to think about.

Why Outsource Tasks?

You may have the talent to do it all. However, if you indeed do it all, it may become difficult to achieve the ultimate objective – to enhance the prospects of your business. While you may be able to handle everything on your own, you may not be able to focus on the more essential elements of the business.

It is possible to streamline your business if you outsource certain tasks to vendors. By doing this, you will be able to concentrate on the core areas of your business. The first step may be a little difficult, however, in the long run it will lead to an increase in efficiency.

Another advantage is the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing. When you decide to outsource specific tasks to others, you need not employ a large number of people or buy or rent office space to accommodate them. This can considerably reduce the burden of overhead and cut business costs.

Advanced technology has made it easier to appoint professionals from any part of the world for specific tasks. The availability of highly skilled freelancers combined with the accessibility of their services enhances the suitability of the option to outsource.

When to Outsource Tasks

For small businesses, outsourcing can be advantageous from the beginning. When you start a business, you need to make sure that you do not lose your focus. In such circumstances, if you have to handle tasks such as attending to calls or bookkeeping, you may not be able to do justice to the more important tasks at hand.

There is no right time for a business to outsource. The way your business works, the staff members you have and the tasks they need to handle daily play a significant role in the decision about when to outsource.

While a very small business can capitalize on the advantages of outsourcing from the very beginning, a medium-sized business may not need to outsource daily tasks considering this option only if they cannot handle new projects on their own.  However, this may only be appropriate if appointing a full-time employee is not justified.

If you feel that you are the only one who can manage everything efficiently, but do not find adequate time for the most important tasks of your business, it may be the right time to let go of your complete control over certain tasks and outsource them.

What Tasks to Outsource?

The first thing is to identify the core areas of your business. Any tasks directly associated with these areas must not be in the list of tasks to be outsourced. If the core business areas are outsourced, your clients may not be able to get anything unique from you – a mistake a small business cannot afford to make.

For example, a web design business must refrain from using third-party providers for any tasks related to web designing, the focal point of the business. However, the business can outsource tasks such as payroll management or inventory management to contractors.

The common tasks that small businesses may choose to outsource include the following:

  • Repetitive tasks: Data entry is a good example of a highly repetitive task. While you may use your in-house staff for this, it may be a better idea to outsource this and employ the in-house staff for more useful work.
  • Specialized tasks: IT support can be the right example of this type of task. While you may need IT support for your network, you may not need to appoint a full-time employee for this purpose. In such a situation, a contractor may be ideal for this specialized work.
  • Expert tasks: Financial analyst is a good example of a position requiring a high level of expertise, but that you can still easily outsource. It may be difficult for a small business to pay for highly-skilled executives. However, you can appoint a financial analyst on a contractual basis at a much lower cost.

How to Outsource Tasks

After you have decided when and what to outsource, the next job is to find the right partner. The best way to do this is to get recommendations from your business associates and contacts. You may also find a number of contractors from online platforms dedicated to connecting businesses with outsourcing partners.

Finding the right partner is all about understanding whether your requirements correspond to their specializations. After you have selected a contractor to outsource to, the next task is to draft a contract to specify every detail of the outsourced tasks.

The best way to ensure that the partnership works out is to be clear about everything. Because you are the one providing instructions, you may be the one to blame in case of any misunderstanding. To ensure proper communication between your business and your outsourcing partner, it is best not to leave anything to assumptions.

Keep in mind that the contractors you appoint may need some time to adjust to your work processes. Also, keep away from micromanagement as it may hinder your outsourcing efforts.

The entire idea of outsourcing is to save time – and focus on the core aspects of your business.