Running a small business will always be a challenge. Not only does it feel like you’re working twice as hard as everyone else to grab the attention of potential clients with the right marketing campaign, but you have to worry about a lot of small tasks that feel like busy work even if they’re vital to your business operations. These include things such as scheduling employees, managing your payroll, and recording your inventory. This is all vital to your business, and you can probably handle most of it by yourself or with the help of a small staff at first, but they’ll become more difficult as your business grows and becomes more successful. Eventually, these tasks could become too much for you to handle even if they feel like minor jobs that get in the way of what your “real” business operations. Since you don’t want these tasks to overwhelm you once you feel like you have too much on your plate, the best course of action is to outsource them if you can.
Deciding what to outsource and when to outsource it can be tough, especially if you’re the kind of manager who prefers a hands-on approach to your business. Fortunately, there are some signs that will tell you it’s time to find some outside help to manage some of your business’s operations.
- The first sign that you should consider outsourcing your work is when you find that you don’t have much time to devote to a high-return activity such as sales. You clearly need to make sales to keep your business afloat and eventually make a profit, and when all your time is devoted to other tasks, it’s time to look for outside help.
- The second sign that you should consider outsourcing is when you hate performing a task. We all have important jobs that we hate to do, but if you have a job that you hate that doesn’t require your immediate involvement, you can have someone else take care of it and save yourself some time.
- The third sign is when your business has grown too big for you or your few employees and associates to handle on your own. Instead of spreading yourself too thin and ultimately accomplishing nothing, outsource some of your work so you can focus on other things.
- Finally, you should outsource a task if you feel like you cannot perform it correctly. Taking some time to complete a task that someone else can do better might be okay if your business is just starting out and you don’t have high expectations yet, but that won’t be the case once your business reaches a certain level and you are gaining more attention from clients and competitors. You will want things to look more professional, and that often means outsourcing certain tasks to virtual assistants who specialize in them.
As useful as it can be to outsource your work, you shouldn’t do it just because you can. It costs money to hire virtual assistants or freelancers to handle these tasks. The four signs discussed above are certainly a good place to start when deciding whether or not to outsource work, but more things need to be taken into consideration. For example, if you have a simple task that only takes you about 30 minutes a week to complete, you can just do it yourself. Just about anybody can find 30 minutes a week to complete a task, even if it’s something they don’t want to do. On the other hand, certain kinds of “busy work” can be almost full-time jobs themselves, and no business owner should have to do them if it’s going to interfere with the rest of the work they need to do. These might be things such as scheduling important tasks, keeping up on your business’s bills, performing maintenance on your business’s property if you have a physical location, or even maintaining your business’s social media accounts.
One great way to decide what tasks to outsource is to consider the Pareto principle, which states that 80 percent of any result is caused by 20 percent of the effort put into it. What this means in terms of business operations is that 80 percent of your time will be taken up by 20 percent of your activities. These are the activities that you can usually outsource safely, so take a look at how you are spending the majority of your time and effort. If a certain task that you don’t like to do and that doesn’t require your direct involvement is taking up the majority of your time, find someone who can complete it for you while you stick to your own busy schedule.
Finding a Virtual Assistant
For most modern small businesses, the best way to outsource a task is to find a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are generally freelancers who can perform a business’s small tasks remotely, often from their own homes. These tasks might include maintaining databases, scheduling appointments, maintaining social media accounts, writing blogs, and many other administrative tasks that the owner of a growing business might not be able to do with their busy schedule. Virtual assistant services are growing quickly as working remotely has become easier than ever before, and entrepreneurs everywhere are singing their praises. They allow one person to focus on a particular niche, the almost always ensure that a business has an administrative staff available, and they allow businesses to grow.
While they do cost money and may not be right for a privately-owned business that is just starting out, just about every up-and-coming business can benefit from a few good virtual assistants working remotely. Studio MFP can provide this kind of service if you need it, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel like you’re being spread too thin while you’re managing your business. We will always be ready to answer your questions and help you find the help that your business needs as it continues to grow.