Increase productivity by outsourcing
Outsourcing elements of our solo business can help us double our productivity and buy back important life time. It makes sense as many soloists struggle to work within their skill set alongside the day to day running of their solo business.
Much as outsourcing boosts our productivity and improves the overall health of our business, many soloists struggle to let go of the idea of being everything to everybody. As a result, they don't have the time or energy to apply to their key strengths.
When starting out as a soloist over five years ago, I suffered the hangover from the employee mentality where doing a job meant completing every aspect.
After transitioning into consulting then finally my own business, I was still trying to work this way. Initially it was exhilarating; learning new skills, and taking on areas I’d previously avoided… bookkeeping work mostly.
After four years I realised that my lack of skill was holding back my business. Try as a might to keep on top of things, I just found much more stimulation in new client sales, networking, creating new programs, marketing, optimising my website, thinking strategically about my business and being a mum. All the things that fitted my skill set.
But eventually the cracks started to show. It was time to do a cost benefit analysis.
Here are the steps for you to follow:
- Make a list of all the tasks in your business that you are poor at -be really honest
- Break down how many hours you spend on each task weekly
- How much does this cost your business (hours x your hourly rate*)?
- Does this represent value to the business?
- How could your time be better spent?
* Remember you might pay yourself a certain hourly rate, but what do you bill yourself out at? A consultant charging $2000 per day is $250 per hour. This is the lost opportunity cost and should be used for your calculation here.
After completing this exercise, I determined that my 10 to15 hours on bookwork, chasing up bad debtors, paying bills, completing the BAS and issuing invoices represented gross inefficiency.
So I went in search of a specialist. My bookkeeper can do in four hours what took me 15. At $25 an hour this represents awesome value. Not only does it free me up to generate more business, the heavy weight of guilt is no longer upon me. Each week, month and quarter, I receive a breakdown of the business and can really make decisions like a business owner. Instead of being bogged down in the detail.
Seven months later and I’ll never look back. We have doubled our business. I have just engaged a part time PA to systemise my client service protocols and handle new client enrolments. Again this has freed me up further to focus on business development.
I am still a soloist, I simply use the services of other soloists to grow my business.
There are specialists in every area you could think to outsource:
- IT & web solutions
The list goes on. The key to maximising the growth of your business through this process is identifying your key strengths and applying the extra time and energy there.
Summer Nelson is a strategic sales & communication specialist. Her passion is helping people change their lives for the better. This article first appeared on www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's online community for solo business owners.