In the world of business, as the Beatles once said, you get by with a little help from your friends. When you make the decision to give up your day job and dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to creating your very own business from the ground up, you incur enormous personal risk and endure great personal sacrifice. But you endure because one you’ve tasted the empowerment of entrepreneurship, you never want to go back. No longer must you labor away in a job in which you’re overqualified and understimulated. No more will you allow your skills to atrophy for the betterment of the profit margins of big corporations who deliberately repress your salary to keep their numbers in the black. You’re determined to create your own future for yourself on your own terms. And if personal risk, long hours, financial struggles and the nagging feeling of impostor syndrome that often plagues entrepreneurs are part of the package then it’s a price you gladly pay.
Running your own business allows you to do things your way and affords you that wonderful feeling of self affirmation that comes when the ideas that you scrawled down on a notebook are writ large on your website or in your business’ physical presence. Your grit, single mindedness, determination and self belief are what makes you a great entrepreneur… But even you need help. As capable, knowledgeable and astute as you are, there are some areas of your business which may be best left outsourced to a specialist. Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why even the savviest of entrepreneurs benefit from outsourcing as well as going over a checklist of qualities that you need to look for in your outsourced help…
You likely have a very specific vision for your business, a very strong idea of your brand and a clear notion of what you want your business to be. You have a strong mission statement and have built your business around a set of ideals. You recruit and train your employees in line with these ideals and have developed a very specific ethos and way of doing things. In this light you may not see the benefit of outsourcing business functions that can be done in house.
But just because you can do something in house doesn’t mean that you should. Your business skills may be formidable, but you need to be judicious about where and how you apply them for the benefit of your business. Sometimes, there’s nothing more valuable than an outside perspective on your business. Moreover, unless you have the capital and resources to recruit specialists to fulfill these functions, you’ll likely be spreading your workforce (and yourself) a little too thin. You may be a dab hand at social media, for example, but that doesn’t mean that doing your own digital marketing is necessarily the best use of your time. Usually a digital marketing agency will generate a much healthier return on your investment than sinking your own capital, resources, time and effort into marketing operations.
Likewise, if you setup your own HR department instead of using an outsourced HR service provider, you could potentially open up your business to litigation if a mistake is made. HR is an ever changing landscape and your business could fall afoul in a very damaging way if your department isn’t bang up to date.
Understandably you may be skittish about the prospect of entrusting vital aspects of your operation to an outside service provider, but when you know what to look for you can lay the foundations for a happy and profitable working relationship.
Do they cater to the specific needs of your business?
Every business is different and while businesses may require the same function, they may have subtly different and specific needs. Specificity counts for a whole lot when it comes to outsourcing essential functions. Dispensaries, for example need dispensaries credit card processing. Does the outsourced company you’re courting have bespoke solutions that are designed to fit your business or do they try to thrust a “one size fits all” package upon you? Do they have the ability to scale their provision up or down on a sliding scale depending on the changing needs of your business or will they force you to keep on paying for redundant solutions that you won’t use?
Do they have other clients like you?
All outsourced service providers say that they understand the needs of your business and your industry, but the proof is in the pudding. Take a look at some of their prior success stories. Are they businesses like yours? How have they helped them? Have they provided a similar service to what you’re looking for or are your needs different? It’s always worth reaching out to other businesses who have used the company you’re courting to ensure that their ongoing experience matches the glowing testimonial on their website.
How open are your lines of communication?
You never know when you might be struck by a flash of inspiration. Does your service provider offer an open line of communication with you or will you have to jot your ideas down and pray that you remember them the next time you meet. You don’t expect your service provider to be able to pick up the phone at 2 in the morning but at the same time you should have a clear and direct line of communication with them.
Are their brand ideals aligned with yours?
The ideals upon which you built your brand matter a lot to you, and if you use a service provider that doesn’t match those ideals it’s likely that you’ll butt heads. Are they passionate about the same things as you? This will go a long way to determining…
Do you get along with them?
Wherever possible you should work with people you like. It’s far more conducive to the kind of creative and collaborative atmosphere that you need to create. But more practically it makes dealing with them much more pleasant.
When you’ve found the right service providers, not only will your business benefit in tangible ways, you’ll also save money in the long term.