Outsourcing is a popular recommendation for new entrepreneurs. Many startup experts advise outsourcing everything except exactly the part of the business you really like to do. In most cases, this is really not very good advice. Once you start handing out responsibility for pieces of your business to outsiders, it isn’t long before it’s really not your business at all! And, if you are planning for your business to grow and last, you (as the owner) must know and understand what is going on with all areas of the company.
Still, there are times when outsourcing is a good idea. Here are a few circumstances that warrant looking for outside help for your startup:
Very Specialized Operations
Some businesses have such specialized operations that dealing with the other details of the business just don’t make good sense. For example, software development companies that will be looking for VC money often outsource the basic accounting and administrative tasks in order to keep focus on the development of the product. There are outsource professionals who specialize in these situations. In most cases, however, it is still a better option to have a partner involved in the business who knows about the fundamentals of business.
There’s Not Enough Time
As you dive into the startup process, you will quickly find yourself with less and less time to get everything done. If your startup is just you, outsourcing some tasks can be a good idea. The key is to know exactly what it is you want the outsourcer to do, have a plan for keeping track of their work, and do your due diligence in selecting the right outsourcer for your business’s needs.
You Know What You Want Done
While you need to know the basics of everything your business does, you’re probably not going to be an expert in all of it. When you have a specific project or task that is out of your skill set, hiring an outside professional can be the best idea. If you aren’t sure what to look for in the right professional, talk to several professionals in the industry before contracting with one. The more you know about the work they do, the better you will be able to select the right candidate to help with your business.
Crazy Growing Pains
Businesses tend to grow in step-change increments. That is, rather than slow, steady, easy-to-adapt-to growth, most successful businesses land one huge client, or launch an outrageously successful marketing campaign, or otherwise see a surge in sales activity. During these growth stages, it can be very difficult to keep up with the details, and the cash flow may not be sufficient to hire additional employees right away. In these cases, outsource professionals can be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Again, the trick is to know what you need and seek out the best outsourcer to get the job done.
Any time you hand off responsibility for any part of your business to an outsider, you are taking a risk. However, there are some times when it is absolutely the best thing to do.