The thought of outsourcing can be daunting. You’ve built your small business up from the ground flying solo, and the idea of handing parts of that business over to someone else to look after all feels a bit scary.

But sharing the load with outsource professionals can work wonders for your business, and your life as a business owner.

If you get it right, that is.

Outsourcing requires strategic planning, plenty of research, and plenty of clear communication to really make it work for your business. Here’s how you can perfect the art of outsourcing for your small business…  


To Outsource or Not to Outsource

Despite the fact that you might feel like chucking your whole business at an outsource professional and shouting ‘do with that what you will!’ before running away, it’s probably best not to.

What you can do though, is have a think about your core competencies and your non-core functions to help you begin to pin down what it is you want to outsource, what you need to outsource and what you shouldn’t.

First, let’s have a look at the difference.

Your core competencies are all the things that make up the front end of your business. The stuff that distinguishes your business contributes massively to your business’s unique value proposition.  So, if you’re a manufacturing business, we’re talking the engineering and development of your products. If you’re a marketing agency, your core competency is the content you create for your clients.

Put simply, your core competencies are the stars of the show. Centre stage. They’re the face of your business.

Your non-core functions, on the other hand, or all the bits and bobs that go on backstage. They’re necessary for operations, but they don’t necessarily contribute to your value proposition. Tasks like admin, data entry, IT support, content creation (if you’re not a marketing agency!), credit control and accounts processes tend to fall into this category.

All very important but definitely not the leading ladies.

If you’re considering outsourcing, it’s these non-core functions that you should be focusing on. By outsourcing these, you’re freeing up time and energy to pour back into those core competencies without taking away from your business as a whole.

Look, if you’re running a marketing agency, you shouldn’t be palming your marketing off to someone else. Admin, however? Palm away!

Make a note of your core-competencies and non-core functions to help you decide what you should outsource, and what you shouldn’t.


The Perfect Outsource Professional Doesn’t Exist

Except, they kinda do. If you know how to find them.  

Now that you’ve established what you want to outsource, it’s time to start thinking about who to outsource to. Outsource professionals (sometimes called Virtual Assistants) come in all shapes and sizes, with plenty of skillsets, expertise, and experience to choose from.

The outsource professional selection process will require some thorough research on your part. And no, a quick Google for ‘virtual assistant near me’ is not going to cut it. Not only do you need to find an outsource professional who has the relevant skills and experience to support you with the tasks you selected, but you’re also looking for someone who aligns with your values and goals.

Make a list of the key qualities you’re looking for in an outsource professional and search for one that matches those qualities specifically. Whittle it down to two or three who you think would be a good fit and get reaching out!

Send an email or give them a call and ask if they’ve got time to chat through your requirements. Check out their previous work and have a nosey at testimonials to ensure they quality of their services is what you’re looking for.

Don’t rush, take your time to find the perfect fit for your business – and once you have, you’ll find that everything else falls into place!

the art of outsourcing getting it right

Communication is Key

So, you’ve decided what to outsource and picked the perfect outsource pro so now you can drop your to-do list and run, right?

Not quite.  

Communicating your requirements and expectations clearly from the get-go and checking in regularly is key to getting outsourcing right.

You wouldn’t rock up at the hair salon and let your stylist start hacking away at your hair without telling them what you want first, would you? It works the same way for outsourcing. The more information you can provide your outsource professional with and the more often you communicate with them to share your preferences, processes and feedback, the better the outcome will be.

As Virtual Assistants ourselves, we like to do this in two ways.

First, the formal bit. We always draw up an agreed contract with our clients that lays out their exact requirements, expectations, goals and outcomes so that everyone is on the same page from day dot. This gives all parties a document to refer back to should misunderstandings occur, but getting it down in writing to begin with should mean misunderstandings are avoided all together.

The second way we like to communicate is way more relaxed, don’t worry! Every so often, we’ll pop up in your inbox or give you a call just to update you on progress and check we’re meeting all your expectations. This is your opportunity to give us some feedback (always very much appreciated!) that helps us to help you in the best way possible.

Without consistent and clear communication, wires can get crossed, and you may not receive the exact outcome you expected. We know we’re good, but we’re not quite mind readers. Yet.


Flexibility and Adaptability

The beauty of outsourcing is that nothing is set in stone. To get the best out of your decision to outsource, expect things to change within your business, and adjust your outsourcing arrangements accordingly.

For example, if things are looking a bit busy and you suddenly feel like you’re spinning one too many plates, don’t be afraid to temporarily scale up your outsource support. At the other end of the scale, drop your support hours down when things are quieter.

The sooner you realise outsource professionals can move and adapt to your business requirements whenever necessary, the better! Outsourcing works best when you use it as a flexible tool, rather than a rigid business solution.  


Outsourcing with The Edwards Company

Outsourcing isn’t for everyone, and not everyone gets it right. It requires careful planning, effective communication and balance to really work in the best interests of your business. But, if you can nail the art of outsourcing, the benefits you’ll reap really are endless.

For more information on how to get the best out of outsourcing or to chat about how we can support your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch.