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What do you outsource first?

27 July 2011 8 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

Wearing all the hats when getting your business going can become very tiresome…..ok exhausting!!  But knowing what to outsource first can be equally confusing.  When I launched my first handbag line, I was doing it all from designing, running my production, sales, shipping, trying to do marketing but failing miserably,  and managing my other company which was supporting me and the bag business! 

When I finally started to make a bit of money and had consistent orders coming in, I decided that hiring out shipping was my best bet.  They didn't need to know anything about the handbag business and if they were able bodied, could take a load off that was bogging me down.  Since I wasn't big enough to move to a third party warehouse, I hired a young college guy part time.  I felt so free……honestly I got back about 16 hours a week that I'd spent packing boxes and could actually do things to bring in more money like sales!

I ask my Entreprenette Experts to give their 2 cents on what to outsource first to make your company a mean selling machine!  Check out their responses below and let me know your thoughts.

What are you planning to outsource first?

 

1. Focus only on what matters!

What to outsource: Focus only on your Income Producing Activities (IPAs), delegate the rest! Realize that 20% of all the work you do earns 80% of your income, so the goal is to start by delegating all the time consuming work that prevents you from focusing on the 20% that really matters. How do you do this? Create a "Hate List"; a journal of what you do on a daily basis; start by outsourcing anything on that list that is not one of your IPAs. Once done with that you can start outsourcing some of your IPAs.
Thanks to: Owen McGab Enaohwo of H.Y.V.A.™.

2. Everything Time Consuming

What to outsource: 1. Outsource manufacturing when possible. Other people can do it faster and cheaper.
2. Unless you are a website developer, outsource ALL of our website work. Learning code takes far more time than necessary.
3. SEO work is overwhelming and never ending with ever changing parameters. Leave this to a professional.

When you enter into a time consuming endeavor, you end up spending more money on your own salary than you would have hiring a professional.
Thanks to: Jillian Rowen of Apple Visual Graphics.

3. Blast Emails

What to outsource: One of the most tedious aspects of online marketing is collecting quality email lists for bulk email marketing. This is typically a skill that many outsourced companies specialize in and puts very little risk on your company vs. allowing a 3rd party to handle accounting, financials, etc. It's also very affordable and frees up time for you to focus on bigger projects!
Thanks to: Tony Adams of Dallas Sprinkler Repair.

4. Invest in Revenue Production

What to outsource: There are two points I follow when choosing whether or not to outsource: 1) Is it busy work or is it a profit center and 2) Can we complete this most cost effectively in-house in terms of both time and money. An example of an outsourced item is a web development enhancement. The experts who do this day in and day out can execute quickly and in the end it costs less.
Thanks to: Sunni Patterson of EXOTIC elegance .

5. Play to your Weaknesses

What to outsource: No matter what you decide to outsource first, make sure it's something you don't want to handle to begin with. If you struggle with sales calls, plenty of firms can make them for you. If math isn't your strong suite, pass off your books to someone who specializes in it. This allows you to hone your craft and focus on your passion and strengths while still getting results from an outsourcing company.
Thanks to: Pam Pennington of Maximum Concrete Contractors.

6. Outsource the Weakest Link

What to outsource: Outsource the weakest link -- the functions that you either don't have the expertise, time or the staff to properly execute as part of your strategic marketing communications campaign. If it's e-mail marketing, PR, freelance artists and writers, etc...decide what is a top priority and those that you lack proficiency -- and spend the money to showcase your company and brand in the most positive way. It's dollars worth spent to have the job done correctly.
Thanks to: Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions.

7. Outsource To Those Better!

What to outsource: One night,many moons ago,I realized as I was paying bills at 4:00am,that I hated accounting. I was also honest to admit I didn't know enough about "behind the scenes" technology or on line graphics. I drove myself crazy with the "I've got to learn this ALL"! So,I gave it up. I hired a virtual bookkeeper,a wonderful VA,and a graphic artist to help so I could concentrate on my strengths.You can start a business by yourself,but you can't grow it alone. Get the help you need to share your very best.
Thanks to: Robin Samora of Let's Make You Shine .

8. Outsource Everything But This

What to outsource: The answer is so simple for me,outsource what you don't like, aren't good at and what other's could do more cheaply. This will free you up to spend more time doing the things you like in your business.

I have read that we spend less than 25% or our work day doing that which we went into business to do. Thus we are spending 75% of our time doing other things. I say outsource them.

Exception - NEVER outsource the money. I've seen too many tradegies with this.

Good Luck.
Thanks to: Lauri Flaquer of Saltar Solutions .

9. Outsource WHAT?

What to outsource: 1. Hire a coach, you can not and should not coach yourself, so outsourcing the strategy and the planning to someone else.

2. Outsource any research that needs to be done for your target market. Finding our where they are and what is the biggest problems they have should be outsourced to someone to give you a target market summary.

3. Hire a customer relations/customer service rep. Get someone else to do your calling and follow up.
Thanks to: Lucinda Cross of Corporate Mom Drop Outs.

10. Outsource Your Weakness

What to outsource: Initially you try doing it all but as business picks up, things get complicated, you realize that there is only one of you, time to outsource your weakness.
Make a list of every single task you perform in your business, mark the tasks that you always put off till the last minute, the stuff that saps your energy and creativity. These you outsource.
For me those would be:

1. SEO for my website
2. Website updates/website inventory management
3. Email marketing/newsleter

Thanks to: Bola Ajumobi of Slimy Bookworm.

11. Give it to someone else!

What to outsource: In my PR business, the 1st thing I outsourced was research, then bookkeeping, then some social media tasks; my clients need me out pitching, not writing invoices or updating media lists. For most product-based businesses, the first things I recommend outsourcing as soon as you can afford it are PR/marketing, sales & bookkeeping/accounting. Designers & innovators need to be creating - your unique brain is what makes your product or design different, so offload what you can, as you can afford it.
Thanks to: Lizzy Shaw of Lizzy Shaw Public Relations.

12. Who is the best person?

What to outsource: Outsource any tasks that require greater expertise, take too much of your time, or cost too much money to do in-house. Common areas to outsource are: marketing, public relations, accounting, legal, web management, warehousing and any other area specific to your company. Consulting experts in logistics, for example saves time, money and headaches. Never outsource your company's key strengths (e.g. If your company is well known for outstanding customer service, don’t outsource it).
Thanks to: Alma Steger of Alma & Co..

13. If You Hate It, Delegate It!

What to outsource: I find that if there is a chore that you dislike you will put off doing it. For me, this would be bookkeeping. I can keep my books but prefer website design work, working with customers, selecting new lines for the site, etc. The fun stuff! So instead of putting it off, I have found a wonderful bookkeeper.
Thanks to: Karen Bullard of Paper Fancy.

14. What I Outsource First

What to outsource: I outsource tasks that I either don't do very well or don't like to do. The first ones I outsource are the ones that I don't like to do because it's just a waste of my time if someone else likes to do it and can do it for me. Then, when those tasks are completed, I'll outsource things that I can't do very well. I'll at least try to learn the task at hand, but if it's taking too much time, then I'll outsource it.

3 things I outsource

1. Accounting
2. Graphics Design
3. Writing Copy
Thanks to: Phyllis Cheung of My Wedding Concierge.

15. Skip the Grunt Work

What to outsource: 1. Cold calling. Plenty of companies exist that deal exclusively in cold calling with trained sales agents. It's tedious and you can find better uses for your time.
2. Web design. People can drive themselves crazy reading HTML manuals or taking courses on web design when for a fraction of the price, your website can be outsourced.
3. Social media marketing. Much like SEO, this is best left to the pros and becomes time consuming and inefficient when you obsess over this very new industry.
Thanks to: Terry Jones of American Firewood.

16. The Critical High Level Task!

What to outsource: My top 3 tips on "How To Decide What To Outsource First" is the things that are critical to your brand and your business that you can not do at a high level. As author, you definitely want to outsource a freelance editor before soliciting your manuscript for publishing so that you can give yourself the best chance to get published. Next, someone who can create a professional website because it is where many peoples will make their first connection with you. Lastly, marketing which is critical.
Thanks to: Kevin Benton of Kevin Benton Ministries.

17. Get rid of the crap!

What to outsource: Many business leaders feel the need to do everything. Of course this is not possible. That's why you need to get rid of the crap. These are defined as tasks you dread doing for yourself. It could be writing, bookkeeping, payroll, etc. Next remove anything that takes you away from making money. If what you are doing is preventing you from working with a client then outsource it. Last, eliminate anything that is less expensive to outsource than do in house.
Thanks to: Dan Paulson of InVision Business Development.

18. Someone else stuff the turkey

What to outsource: My product, a nine piece puzzle, requires packaging in a small seed package. At one time I stuffed 1500 seed packets with my puzzles.

That was many turkeys stuffed in many packages. Whew! I spent approximately a week, four hours each day after my full time job.

No more! I found a company whose only business is to stuff and package! What a time saver for me and a new business partnership for the both of us.

The one thing I would outsource is stuffing products in a package!
Thanks to: Sandra Jones of Health-ettes, Inc.

19. To outsource or not

What to outsource: Some tips on deciding what to outsource:
1. Define your revenue generating tasks. Revenue generating tasks should be performed by you. For tasks that are non-revenue generating, develop a well defined process & strategy for these tasks so that they easily be outsourced.
2. Give clear instructions. Take the time to write out policies and procedures on how to perform tasks that are to be outsourced so that the person performing them can do so effectively and efficiently.
Thanks to: Rekha Krishnamurthi of Divine dZigns.

20. Outsourced Time Killers

What to outsource: I outsource the things that are time consuming and don't require my specific expertise, but my editorial approval like:
1DP (document production) work first. Although image is everything in PR, creating press kits, and copy is time consuming. To get my clients placed in relevant media outlets, I need to free up my time to do that, so DP work would be first.
2. a virtual assistant.
3. and a social media strategist
Both 2 and 3 for the same reasons as #1
Thanks to: Dee Stewart of DeeGospel PR.

21. It's Time to Outsource. Really

What to outsource: 1. Make a list of recurring tasks or functions you or your best people must provide. If your body, voice or brain are not required to carry this out, its up for grabs.
2. What can I keep an eye on, without managing directly? Affiliates can sell products for you. A VA can manage your Twitter. If you can give crystal clear directions to someone else to maintain that brain-n
3. Have a third party review your list. As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to outsource work you identify with.
Thanks to: Melissa Langeman.

22. Outsourcing Must-Have Designs

What to outsource: There are five designs businesses should outsource or crowdsource first: logos, web designs, flyers, banner ads and stationary. It’s quicker, less expensive and works well for start-ups and small businesses working with lean budgets.
It’s important to keep in-mind that to make a project work, you must define the problem and your goals - outsourcers essentially are problem solvers.
Thanks to: Mike Samson of crowdSPRING.

23. Recognize Your Inefficiencies

What to outsource: You'll know what to outsource by applying these 3 simple questions to any business activity:
1. Does this frustrate me?
2. Can someone else do this faster/better than I can?
3. Does my income potential go up if I get this off my plate?

Writing press releases and administrative tasks were frustrating me and weighing me down. I'm extremely inefficient with those functions. When I realized I could focus more on the bottom line if I outsourced those to specialists, I felt like a free woman!
Thanks to: Eryn Willard of Inside Story Out.

24. Absolutely won't...

What to outsource: Won't enter your receipts? Outsource bookkeeping. Won't update the website? Outsource website maintenance. Won't do a newsletter? Outsource your e-zine. Won’t make phone calls? Outsource the calling. My most un-favorite? Updating contact lists. Whatever it is you HATE to do, avoid consistently, and leave undone on your to-do list, there is someone who LOVES to do that. Let them do what they love to do, and you do what you love to do. Make more business for all. Multiply the wealth.
Thanks to: Lorette Pruden, Ph.D. of Team Nimbus NJ.

25. People First Please!

What to outsource: When starting a new business, you can save yourself so much time, money, and heartache by one simple step: Outsource your manufacturing. No need to spend the time and money to bring on that kind of overhead when you don't have to. And by manufacturing I also include the artisans who create your products. Find the best people wherever they are located and make them part of your team. Your company overnight can become a force to be reckoned with!
Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks.

26. What You Aren't Good At...

What to outsource: All good business owners must determine what they are good at and what they aren't. Trying to be all things in one's business will only set yourself up for failure. To determine what are the best tasks to outsource, first consider your strengths and weaknesses. Those things you are good at (and like), do those yourself. For those tasks that you are not good at (or dislike), these are the tasks to outsource.
Thanks to: Dreama Lee of Efficient Enterprises, Inc..

27. Cheap and Disposable

What to outsource: Outsourcing is all about balance. Some business outsourcing can save you a ton of time, but cost a considerable amount. Other things are relatively cheap, but may be close enough to your core operations that they could also bring the business crashing down if there's a problem. That's why I look to outsource things that are both cheap and easily replaceable, like content writing, programming, and backoffice functions that don't involve customer interactions.
Thanks to: Jim Magary of Boomient Consulting.

28. Whatever you hate the most.

What to outsource: When I first started doing consulting, the quickest way to getting new clients was cold calling. No one likes cold calling. People always told me that I should outsource the jobs that provided the least return on my time. I think you should outsource anything that doesn't give you a solid return on your happiness.
Thanks to: Brett Warner of Occur Marketing.

29. Outsource Flawlessly

What to outsource: We've been outsourcing different tasks in our business for many years now. One of the best ways to outsource a task is to execute it flawlessly on camera & then share it with the person to whom you're outsourcing to.

For example, for any web or internet related tasks we use Camtasia (software) to screen capture ourselves executing the tasks, then we share the video with whomever we're outsourcing to (usually an intern).

The intern can watch the video & then execute the task flawlessly.
Thanks to: Justin Lee of Efficient Enterprises, Inc.

30. Find a Mfg. Partner

What to outsource: Fewer companies manufacture their own products every year. There is a well developed industry of contract manufacturers which offers advantages related to cost, capacity and capability. Companies benefit by focusing on sales and R&D in-house, and leaving the manufacturing to an outsourcing company. When evaluating where to manufacture your product, include an outsource manufacturing company to see if leveraging their equipment, expertise and purchasing power on materials benefits your company.
Thanks to: Ted Fogliani of Outsource Manufacturing, Inc..

31. Outsource what sucks

What to outsource: You might be good at something, but it may still drain your energy. And the reverse can be true too. Take a good look at what you're doing throughout any day or week, and find ways to outsource (or delegate) tasks that aren't bringing more pleasure, creativity and flow to your life. Believe it or not, some people really do enjoy cleaning bathrooms, and filing big stacks of messy paper. Give them the pleasure, pay them well and do what you love. It's a win-win.
Thanks to: Loralee Hutton of Loralee Hutton LLC.

32. Use the Freebies to Save Time

What to outsource: Use the freebies to save time. When I owned a direct sales business that required me to ship orders to customers, I would spend an average of five hours weekly unpacking boxes from the corporate office, packaging orders to my customers, printing mailing labels, calculating postage, preparing boxes for shipment and driving to the post office. The US Postal Service has a free labeling/shipping program that cut this time down to an hour and allowed me to spend my time looking for new business.
Thanks to: Jodi Truscott of J Truscott Marketing.

33. Weakness? Outsource It!

What to outsource: When you outsource your weaknesses, you strengthen your company overall. This frees you up to focus on your core competency and rock your business like only you can. To discover your weak points, tasks which could be successfully outsourced, think about tasks which may trip you up. What takes you the most time to do? What do you enjoy the least? What are you still learning? Realizing you can't do it all will help you deliver excellence and will help you do an even better job for your customers.
Thanks to: Diane Hansen of Diane Hansen Marketing and PR.

34. Don't like it? Don't Do it!

What to outsource: To be a successful entrepreneur, you must figure out what you love to do. This way when you work your 16 hour days, you can actually do it joyfully and the time does not matter. You will also very quickly figure out what you don't like to do...that s what you outsource. Determine where your time is best invested and work on that and find other people and technology to handle the rest. When you are able to have the undesirable tasks handled, you will become more productive on what matters most.
Thanks to: Louis Lautman of Supreme Outsourcing.

35. Outsource What You Don't Like

What to outsource: When considering outsourcing, the first step is to decide what you enjoy doing that makes money, and give yourself permission to outsource the rest. Then determine your best course of action — hire someone, pay for a service, or go to your local college and get an intern. One of the easiest things to outsource is your content; for example, if doing a blog, newsletter, or email campaign isn’t your thing, find a writer or an intern who can do it for you.
Thanks to: Debby Dowling of Effortless Bridal Marketing.

36. Do what you do best

What to outsource: Undertake an internal audit and make sure your processes work first. Outsource rubbish you get rubbish back! Then conduct a similar audit at your prospective outsource partners.

Simplify, streamline and consolidate your processes within your organisation before considering outsourcing - make sure they work!
Understand what are the processes which, under any circumstances, you DO NOT WANT to outsource?
All contracts will terminate – write your exit clause before any other.
Thanks to: Jacqui Malpass of Jacqui Malpass.

37. Know your limits

What to outsource: 1. Tasks you can’t do. If you’re not a technical person, leave the coding to the experts. You need to focus more on other important aspects like growing your business.
2. Tasks you don’t want to do. Time-consuming and repetitive tasks like data entry for mailing lists and changing meta tags for SEO are tedious. They kill productivity.
3. Tasks you may not have time to do. It's part of running a business - always be there for the client. If you're busy, hire someone to take your calls.
Thanks to: Grace Sales of CardWiX.

38. Reduce Your Paper Trail

What to outsource: The first outsourcing action I took was to reduce the paper flow in my office. I opened an account at Concur.com, which is a service that offers to keep your expenses organized, both hard copy and computer-generated. I feed the receipts into the program and let them be organized by type. The savings of paper in my small office is great! And I love not having my computer clogged up with excess receipts as well. I send my records to my accountant every three months, all organized for filing.
Thanks to: Jacqueline Gikow of ChelseaRainbow.

39. You're too late!

What to outsource: It's so critical for us as entrepreneurs to work ON our businesses more than IN them.* And bookkeeping is a perfect place to start. A wise mentor told me "if you're thinking of outsourcing bookkeeping, you probably should have done it months ago!"

Spend your time doing what you do best, and let others help you by doing what they do best. You'll find more satisfaction, excitement and ultimately, more profit in your venture.

* from The E-Myth Revisited-a must for every entrpreneurette!!
Thanks to: Kelly Pratt of Vibrant Life Design.

40. Gid Rid of your Task List

What to outsource: There are probably more strategic ways to do this, but I recommend finding outsourced help with the tasks that never seem to get done, or those where you could use outside expertise. My first outsourced task was managing my books, since I kept putting it off every month and knew there were people out there who could do it in a fraction of the time for me. So if it's not your highest and best good, or something from which you may money, find some help!
Thanks to: Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk of BBR Marketing.

41. Find Your Pain Point

What to outsource: Every task you do have a level of effort, time, money and pain. Decide which factor someone else could reduce and what the effect will be on your business if you delegate. Could outsourcing accounts save you money in the long run? Would a third party community manager save you time, effort and pain? Perhaps getting a monthly website review would save you effort and time, while increasing revenue? Balance every task to find your highest pain point then outsource.
Thanks to: Angela Neal of Angela Neal Media.

42. What to outsource first

What to outsource: 1. The first obvious thing to outsource is work your existing staff cannot take on with their current work load. You don't want to overwork employees, or you'll lose them.

2. If you receive a request for something your company doesn't provide a service for, but that is in line with your services - don't ever turn a potential client away when you can outsource the work.

3. Work that another company can do quicker (if your workload is too high at the time). Clients appreciate fast service.
Thanks to: Vanessa Finaughty of Write Way Freelancers.

43. Outsource the dreaded duties

What to outsource: I focus on the tasks I'm good at; PR, marketing, writing, networking and outsource the dreaded tasks that deplete my time and energy; bookkeeping, payroll, taxes and website design. I have more time to focus on the tasks that I enjoy and brings in the revenue.
Thanks to: Suzanne Meyer of The Welcome Committee, Inc..

44. Ask yourself this...

What to outsource: To determine which responsibilities should be outsourced, you should ask yourself two questions: 1) Does this task fall into my area of expertise or is it better suited for a professional? 2) Is my time more valuable if it's spent on other aspects of my business? You need to quantify your time and also rely on people who have areas of expertise outside of your own. At the top of my outsourcing list is accounting, web design and envelope stuffing!
Thanks to: Debra Cohen of Home Remedies of NY, Inc..

45. Reduce Risk by Outsourcing HR

What to outsource: It’s important to start out a new business with HR policies, procedures and documents that (a) make sense for your business and (b) are in compliance with all applicable laws. Unless you have a background in HR management, you’ll be well served by outsourcing this function. Hiring a professional HR consultant to create, assist with, or to at least review and make recommendations, about, this part of your business can help you minimize risk and free you up to focus on operations.
Thanks to: Mary Gormandy White, M.A., SPHR of MTI Business Solutions.

46. Recognize Weaknesses!

What to outsource: As an entrepreneur, it is very important to celebrate your strengths and recognize weaknesses! It is crucial to fill the gaps early on. I would recommend outsourcing in the areas of weakness. For example, if numbers are not your thing, hire an accountant or if marketing baffles you, hire an agency! It would be nice to be good at everything but this is rarely the case! Be honest with yourself and fill the gaps!
Thanks to: Christy Cook of Teach My.

47. Avoid Burnout!

What to outsource: As an artist I choose where to outsource by making a list of the tasks that are uninspiring. I then ask myself, “Can these tasks be done without myself while not effecting my brand?” If so, I evaluate how much time is spent on each task. Then I can clearly see where I will get the most time back. As an entrepreneur it is vital to love my job and find it inspiring, otherwise I will face burnout. As a professional photographer I choose to outsource photo editing and print fulfillment.
Thanks to: Sarah DeShaw of Sarah DeShaw Photography.

48. Outsourcing For Dummies

What to outsource: List your firm’s core competencies. What critical activities make you unique, successful, or competitive in the eyes of your customers? After completing that list, think of everything else you do daily that is beyond that core group of activities. Any activity not directly connected to a core competency is a candidate for outsourcing. To produce high quality widgets, for example, performing in-house preventative maintenance on your own equipment makes sense. But should you do your own payroll?
Thanks to: Timothy Wiedman of Doane College.

49. Priority Takes Precedence

What to outsource: Our company, which is focused on getting people data about government auctions, makes this priority number one for outsourcing. We do most of the data gathering in-house, but we also rely on outside sources for this auction information. Next down the line is web design. If we need work done on our site or help with designing affiliate creatives we turn to outsourcing. Finally, we like to test the waters with outsourcing article and blogs--though we normally like to do this ourselves.
Thanks to: Ian Aronovich of GovernmentAuctions.org.

50. Human Resources Outsourcing

What to outsource: Engage in a relationship with a PEO (professional employer organization). Now you can rest assured you're not afflicted from a myopic view of your business due to employees not certified and professionally trained for handling HR matters. A PEO provides payroll admin, safety program, human resource program, workers' compensation insurance, along with optional health care plan.
Thanks to: Connie Laughlin of UniqueHR.

51. Outsourcing = Efficiency

What to outsource: What to outsource first is a reflection of your current marketing efforts. The point is to increase efficiency. Hiring an Agency that focuses on promoting your brand using today’s social networking techniques leaves you free to focus on your company’s internal needs. The best way to decide is to ask a marketing expert for an evaluation. Often times a system can be set in place to expedite one avenue while keeping it still in-house, while another can be 100% outsourced for better efficiency.
Thanks to: Wayne Roddy of Revital Agency.

52. Want Creativity?Search For It!

What to outsource: We all know that content is king. Well, I can definitely say that creative and fun content is an emperor (a king of kings). If you realize that your in-house copywriter lacks creative thinking and can no longer produce fresh, entertaining, and interesting copy - outsource content writing! There are literally thousands of copywriters who have a flair for finding the perfect words to reflect your vision, plus a commitment to customer service!
Thanks to: John White of BestEssayHelp.

53. Stick to what you're great at!

What to outsource: When you think about outsourcing, consider what you are good at and what you are great at. Stick to doing what you're great at. Where and how do you add the most value to your company? There's enough to do in one day without worrying about things that other people can do better. Also consider:
- Are you able to delegate?
- Do you really need to control the process (or sensitive information?)
- How much time will it take to coordinate with an outside vendor?


Thanks to: Stacy Robin of The Degania Group.

54. You can't do it All

What to outsource: Resource out, all your printing needs, business cards, flyers, when I finally gave this up, my sales went crazy. You look professional or real, you are treated real or professional.

Use an email service, you send the content to them and email list, they do their magic. They have a business for a reason, they do it better.

A tech person, a go to, how to do person. When hiring these services ask questions, you must work well together and make you business run better, not harder.
Thanks to: Beth Strub of The Quilt Ladies Book Collection.

55. Think Twice. Outsource Once.

What to outsource: 1. Look beyond your immediate dept to find talent: content authors, thought leaders, tech support, etc may not be in your dept but may be somewhere within the company. Build a team from there. 2. Think about what you want your dept to look like in 1-2 years & plan a long and short term outsourcing strategy. This way you won't end up with staff you no longer need or vendors you wish you could keep. 3. Outsource tasks when you need to retain control - roles when you need a long-term partner.
Thanks to: Christina Shaw of helpIT systems.

56. Outsourced Carwash

What to outsource: You can have your car washed for $10 in 15 minutes. Or you can go to the store to purchase supplies, change clothes and personally wash your car. Often it takes way too much time, money and is an inconvienience. Business is no different, to determine what to outsource first, you must ask these questions, "Can I do this in house more effectivley?, cheaper?" If no outsource it! "Is this function mission critical?" If yes, do NOT outsource it.
Thanks to: Michael McIntyre of The Authentic Salesman .

57. Brooklyn

What to outsource: If you're outsourcing on oDesk or eLance pay close attention to the service provider ratings. People feel bad about giving bad ratings because it ruins the providers livelihood. If the person has 4 out of 5 stars for timeliness, assume its more like 2 or 3. As a general rule, if they don't have a perfect score don't bother. Pay extra for the guy with perfect ratings and it will save you time in the long run.
Thanks to: Jason Schwartz of matchbookit.com.

58. Earn Instead of Learn

What to outsource: When clients ask me what to outsource first, I tell them to follow this rule:
If you have to take time to learn how to do something which is taking time away from earning money, you need to outsource that item and hire an expert in that area. So if you have to learn an email program to send out a newsletter or get out and get new customers, choose getting new customers. Let an expert do the things you don't do naturally well then go do the things you do.
Thanks to: Karen Graves of Your Sales Fix.

59. Delegate the Non-Money Makers!

What to outsource: As a business owner, your time is best spent generating revenue and focusing on client service. Next time you catch yourself completing an administrative task such as answering emails, responding to voicemail messages or even performing web research, make a commitment to outsource them moving forward. I began by outsourcing administrative tasks, but today, anything that someone else can do at an hourly rate lower than my chargeable rate, I outsource!
Thanks to: Julie Verville of Jane Content.

60. Brushing Your Teeth

What to outsource: What do you do every day that doesn't involve your unique skills? As an entrepreneur you have talents that no one else possesses. Simple, procedural and repetitive tasks should be outsourced. Things like entering client records, payroll, filing. Next, outsource tasks that you do not have the skills for or that learning the skill would take more time than the cost of outsourcing such as developing marketing, creating a website or writing copy. Do what you do best, outsource the rest!
Thanks to: Nettie Owens of Sappari Solutions.

61. Sales Tax Return? Uh-oh

What to outsource: Outsourcing is a question of what you don't feel qualified to do yourself and what are you willing to pay someone else to do the job. Business owners looking to outsource should make a list of tasks needed that they or another employee is not qualified to do and get rates/quotes for outsourcing that particular job or task. Bookkeeping or accounting can usually be outsourced for a small business as a couple hours once a week or even once a month is all it takes to keep accurate up to date books.
Thanks to: Tiffany Powell of Sapphire Bookkeeping & Accounting .

62. HR Outsourcing-A Must For SBOs

What to outsource: Outsourcing HR functions is the best way to maximize business efficiency-especially as entrepreneurs look to grow their business. Benefits include: Hassle-free, on time payroll delivery including all tax filings; discounted workers' compensation rates due to volume purchasing; unemployment tax savings; complete HR services including performance management, compliance, benefit administration, management training and employee relations; improved cash flow and a simplified life as a business owner.
Thanks to: Tina Chen of Employco.

63. O/S the Boring Stuff

What to outsource: First thing to go out the door is anything you are not personally interested in, preferably something that anyone can execute relatively easily without increasing risk exposure to your business (i.e. quality impact). Other considerations are mundane, repetitive tasks such as article submissions and other back link building strategies.

Top three tasks to outsource: programming/design, directory submissions, accounting and book keeping
Thanks to: Sunil S. of The Extra Money Blog.

64. Outsource to stay Focused

What to outsource: Stay focused on your key goals and executing on the tasks that will help you meet those goals. Everything else should be outsourced!
1. Blog content- Guest bloggers can post content or ask for permission to repost articles on your blog. That allows you to get fresh content & helps with SEO for your site.
2. Accounting and backoffice tasks - These tasks are necessary for a business, but take you away from moving the business forward. So outsource!
3. PR - Use an expert! They will be better.
Thanks to: Raj Malik of KikScore.

65. Outsourcing to increase profit

What to outsource: As each organization contains differing complexities and cultural norms, determining which functions to outsource first will result from answering three fundamental questions:
1. Identify functions which do not add value to your customer.
2. Determine which of these are commonly outsourced (these will be the most competitively priced).
3. Finally, which of these will have the least impact on your operations.
Answer these questions sequentially to provide a priority for outsourcing decisions.
Thanks to: Shawn Casemore of Casemore and Co..

66. Start small.

What to outsource: My advice to anyone looking to start outsourcing is to start with small peripheral tasks to grow the outsourcing mindset. Outsource web research, hiring service providers, updating your Facebook / Twitter, etc... and slowly look at outsourcing the most time consuming tasks.
Thanks to: Aymeric Gaurat-Apelli of TaskArmy.com.

67. Find your personal hourly rate

What to outsource: Working for a virtual staffing agency based in the US I spend much of time helping clients figure out what’s best to outsource. Many times I first work with them and help them figure out what their "hourly rate" is. By this I mean how much they make per hour when they are doing the work that actually makes them money. This for example would be writing for a copy writer, or doing code for a web designer. Once that is done we can safely say which tasks are affordable to outsource.
Thanks to: Amanda Mock of My Virtual Little Helper.

68. Grow your business for less!

What to outsource: Outsourcing your business is an excellent way to grow your business. We now outsource project managers, level 1 customer support, data entry, writers, and image croppers. We've more then tripled the size of our business with the help of our 22 contractors that all play a vital role in ensuring the service, quality and growth of the company is met. All this on a shoestring budget that is 80% cheaper then labor costs in North America. We would not have been able to expand this rapidly without it.
Thanks to: chester ku-lea of AstroNutrition.

69. No Busy Bees-Quit Buzzing

What to outsource: As entrepreneurs we can do it all-but should we? Quit buzzing around-you’re not the worker bee…you’re the queen! First make a list of the steps. Decide which steps MUST be done by you-your core strengths that define the business. I work my core strengths; everything else is outsourced:
1. Busy work like submitting articles
2. Data entry
3. Primary internet research
This leaves me time to analyze research, add non-internet based info, write content, and create the project systems.
Thanks to: Dawn Damico of Your Research Diva.

70. When in DOUBT - Source it OUT!

What to outsource: If you find yourself pondering if a certain task is worth your time, it may not be.

Tasks like blogging and social media management provide incredible value for businesses, but are time consuming. Hiring a writer to tackle your weekly commitments will free up time you can spend growing your biz elsewhere.
Thanks to: Rebecca Maguire of Maguire Media Group.

71. Say Bye Bye to HR Burdens!

What to outsource: You’re an entrepreneur, not a human resources manager. Dealing with payroll, negotiating benefits, or worrying over government regulations, while necessary, distract you from your passion and primary responsibility – growing your business. Why not partner with experts to outsource HR? This minimizes your risks, helps you offer competitive benefits, and provides the expertise to align your people and practices with your business objectives. Talk about improving the ROI of your human capital!
Thanks to: Debra Squyres of TriNet.

72. Outsourcing Saved my Sanity!

What to outsource: I hate details/mundane tasks so Outsourcing has saved my life!

Always outsource anything repitetitive or mundane first. My favourites are:
1) Twitter 'auto-tweet' scheduling
2) Any data gathering (rule: if it's in excel.....outsource it!)
3) Webby stuff - 99% of good outsourcers now would put you or I to shame with Wordpress skills- just tell them exactly what you want, ans watch the magic happen!

Thanks to: Howard Kingston of Startup Remarkable.

73. Get a social media architect

What to outsource: When doing any outsourcing of social media marketing, I found that starting with a media company who specializes in website design, apps, and electronic marketing, all in one, is the place to start. They will be able to assess your needs and provide you with what aspects of social media marketing you should start focus on. They operate similar to architects who design and administer a construction contract. Spending money on a great architect saves you in the long run.
Thanks to: Bob Sommers of RoX.

74. Find your genius

What to outsource: Make a list of every task needed in order make your business run, and I mean EVERYTHING! Now go through your list & divide the tasks into categories; for example, inventory, marketing, writing, etc. You now have a clear picture of the different roles that your company needs to exist. Which category do you dread doing? Which do you waste the most time in? That’s the role you should hire out first. Hiring a technical person or customer service person is a good early hire for many businesses.
Thanks to: Laura Roeer of LauraRoeder.com.

75. Strenths Determine Outsourcing

What to outsource: First determine what you are really good at, compare that to what you really like to do and then those two lists to all the duties, tasks and outcomes you need done. If you are not good at it, do not like to do it then find an outsource solution to address it. Now focus on what you are really good at and are energized to do and monitor the other tasks that are outsourced. You are now functioning at your peak and other tasks are being accomplished by others who are talented in that area.
Thanks to: Harlan Goerger of H. Goerger & Associates dba AskHG.

76. Dinner Plate Outsourcing

What to outsource: Pick your main entrée– one task to outsource that boosts sales. As a homebased business, for me it was phone answering. A great receptionist service frees time & pays for itself with the revenue-generating appointments set. Next, choose what you like least-I call this the veggie side dish. I hired a pro to get my QuickBooks setup. Last, pick your drink–what refreshes you? A coach? A monthly massage? What keeps you sharp so you stay focused on working smart to achieve your dreams?
Thanks to: Karen Clay of Budget Blinds of North Atlanta.

77. What skill sets do you need?

What to outsource: The best place to start when an entrepreneur is considering outsourcing is what could be done better by someone else? Most business owners take that to mean what skill sets aren't present in the existing team or what can be done more efficiently. However, you can go a lot deeper: for my own business, one of the first things that I looked at outsourcing was my accounting. That's because, personally, it's something I dread doing — I drag my feet and it doesn't happen nearly as soon as it should.
Thanks to: Thursday Bram of Hyper Modern Consulting.

78. Outsourcing your Weaknesses

What to outsource: As a bootstrapped entrepreneur, I have used outsourcing as both a time and money saving option. I don’t recommend choosing what to outsource based on what you do and do not what to do; the reality of running a business is that you sometimes need to get down in the trenches and do the dirty work. What I would recommend is taking an honest look at yourself to determine what your real weaknesses, or holes in your strengths, are. Writing a TOS is not fun, but doing it yourself saves the most $$
Thanks to: Taylor Louie of SkillAddiction.

79. Simple nurture marketing

What to outsource: 6 criteria for a GOOD first project:
1. Requires little background knowledge.
2. Is simple to explain.
3. Uses materials that are easy to gather and can be emailed.
4. Is not confidential.
5. Takes 5-10 hours.
6. Is easy to tell if they have done a good job or not.

A GREAT first project also helps you generate additional revenue. Nurture marketing fits all of these criteria and is easy to outsource. It’s the ideal way to start working with a virtual assistant.
Thanks to: Judy Schramm of ProResource.

80. Have More Fun, Make More Money

What to outsource: Focus your time and energy on two things: doing what you LOVE to do and doing what is directly related to generating revenue. Categorize your tasks so that you can see where you are currently focusing. Anything that doesn’t fall into these two areas is where to start outsourcing. This simple exercise results in feeling fantastic, doing the aspects of your business and personal life that you love, and making LOTS more money.
Thanks to: Anna Freitag Smith of The Smith Connection.

81. Outsource to out perform...

What to outsource: Take inventory of your top 3 core compentencies related to the greatest revenue producing aspects of your business. Perform a time audit of how much time you devote to these 3 core competencies each week versus other low or non-revenue producing activities. After completing this assessment delegate all job functions that fall outside those top three revenue producing core competencies. This process generates greater revenue and business momentum and eliminates stress.
Thanks to: John Brubaker of The Sport of Business, LLC.

82. Some people can do it better.

What to outsource: We outsource content writing and PR services for nearly 2 years now. We do not have a team of content writers or PR specialists and hiring them would have been quite expensive. Moreover, there are a lot of professionals out there looking for job, who can do it much better and more effectively. That is why it is quite reasonable for small businesses, like ours, to trust content writing and PR services in their hands, while we can focus on other emerging issues still knowing that job will be done.
Thanks to: John White of BestEssayHelp.

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8 Comments »

  • grace wieber said:

    Invaluable!
    You presented alternatives that I had not considered.
    Thank You.

  • Dawn Damico said:

    Great list!

    Another tip: when you are preparing the instructions for your outsourcer – save the screenshots, videos and writting information so that if you ever have to train someone else, you don’t have to prepare your instructions a 2nd time. I save everything! (electronically of course!)

    Also – great tip for outsourcing HR so that you don’t get in trouble – also, good for payroll as well (even if you’re just paying yourself a salary from your coporation. They file everything for you and keep you out of trouble.

    Dawn Damico
    Your Research Diva

  • Angela Neal said:

    Great article. Thanks for including me. Hope it is useful for folks.

    Angela
    http://www.angelaneal.com

  • Ro said:

    This is really a useful post. Hope everyone will get some good Idea about outsourcing. Thanks for your post

    Virtual Assistant from India for £299 pm,

  • jamal said:

    The first question you need to ask yourself is what exactly are you going to outsource as your immediate priority?

    It’s amazing how many people realize that outsourcing is important yet haven’t taken a look at what they actually need to get done to eliminate their most pressing constraint, and what parts of the process necessary to get that job done can be outsourced.

    Internet businesses contain all kinds of parts, most of which can be handled by other people, however handing them over to others all at once won’t achieve your goal, you will just make yourself broke from all the fees you have to pay your outsourcers. More Information visit guys
    Virtual Assistant from India for £299 pm,

  • Emma Blackburn said:

    WOW…thank you so much for this post. Some really useful tips…

  • Roro said:

    Helpful Post!
    I have to agree that you have to figure out what things that you need to focus on and set aside the things that could be done by someone else that takes a lot of your time. Time is worth more than money. You need to budget your time wisely and be productive. Spending a little money in order for you to save more makes perfect sense.
    Outsourcing can surely make you save money but even though there are lots of benefits of it, I have to admit that there are also some disadvantages. One example is there’s no way to be sure if the person you’ve hired will do the best job. Unless you have an effective hiring strategy that’ll give you assurance then there’s nothing left to do but trust him and hope for the best results.

  • When is enough, enough? – INNOVATRIBE said:

    […] TIPS FROM: What do you outsource first? – The Entreprenette Gazette […]

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