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outsourcing

Annual report tasks can be outsourced for many benefits

While there are a few tasks you can outsource when preparing an annual report, one I love is checking edits.

Page of text marked with edits

Early drafts may contain a lot of edits!

That is, when the designer returns a draft to me, someone else goes through and checks the designer has implemented all the changes I requested.

Why check everything? Well, I trust the designers I use, no question about that. However, they are human so may have missed something or misunderstood what I wanted. Or they could have made a simple error (eg made $654 into $664 instead of $646).

Benefits of outsourcing edit checks

Having someone else check those details has two major advantages in my eyes:

  1. I don’t have to do it! Ok that is really a third reason as my original point was that it saves me time to not have to do it, but it’s not something I enjoy either
  2. by not reviewing those small details as often, I am better positioned to actually read the report and thus spot issues with the flow or tone of information. If you see the same words and images over and over, it gets much harder to see errors – like putting space between writing and proof reading

I guess you don’t need to find a highly skilled person to outsource checking edits, either – as long as they are detailed orientated, it isn’t a hard task. I am lucky to have found someone I trust for many tasks as he not only checks edits have been made but will suggest other potential improvements he notices, too.

Outsourcing frees up time

To me, this is the perfect example of outsourcing and leaving me more time to use my writing skills.

What is the perfect task for you to outsource?

Do you outsource that task?

Outsourcing gives control, rather than takes it

Outsourcing means getting someone else to do a task (or tasks) for you so you can spend time doing other things; as a sole trader it is pretty much mandatory to outsource to succeed.

Sounds like a strong statement?

It is a strong statement but that doesn’t stop it from being true.

Small business people have a lot to do

There are many tasks that need to be done to keep any business running – accounts, invoicing, customer service, marketing of some sort and general admin are the minimum. Then there’s the specific work of that business plus managing a website and additional marketing.

And the list keeps growing. With the introduction of blogs then social media (and more and more platforms), businesses have more tasks to add to the daily to do list than ever before. Even if you aren’t doing much on social media, you should be aware of it so you are deciding to not use it (rather than just ignoring it) and monitoring it is a good idea, too.

When there’s only you, there is a big pressure to stay on top of everything and be in control. Let’s face it, there is no one else to pick up any slack, is there?

Handing over tasks

conduting an orchestra

A conductor controls an orchestra without being the orchestra – outsourcing makes you the conductor of your business

Earlier this year, Jane Shelton blogged ‘You can maintain your sense of control by outsourcing many of the routine elements of your business.’ Outsourcing does not have to mean giving up control of your ‘baby’.

Think of tasks left undone or ideas not followed up on because there is no time.

Think of those tasks done in a rush rather than with care and attention because the to do list is so long.

Think of the last time you planned your week’s activities rather than swayed from one urgent activity to the next and hoped for a moment of breathing space.

Still think outsourcing takes away control?

Outsourcing simply means choosing which things to get someone else to do – either to save you from boredom, save you time or to gain expertise and skills you just don’t have.

For example, I outsource my filing (to my daughter!) which I find boring, my bookkeeping to gain back time and any design work as I don’t have those skills. So I can focus on writing for clients, advising clients and caring for my business.

Choose who you outsource to and you still control the outcomes. If you want, outsource most of a task and finish it off yourself if that feels better – but I bet you’ll soon give the entire task away!

What do you do?

List all the tasks you do for your business. Yes, all of them.

Long list?

Categorise them (the list Jane gives in the afore-mentioned blog post is a good system).

Now, sit back and imagine your business life if you had an extra two hours a week…

How would you spend another four hours a week in your business? How much would your profits grow by?

Want to keep that dream and feeling alive? Outsource something – just some little task so it doesn’t feel like you’re handing over your baby. Maybe get your account data entry done, ask for a blog post to be written or have your office cleaned by someone else.

Then you just have to keep on taking baby steps until you have outsourced enough to regain control of your business.

So the only question left is what will you outsource first?

Explaining outsourcing

What is outsourcing and why should you care?

Outsourcing is simply getting someone else to do a task or tasks for you. It can be a simple task (e.g. getting someone to stuff envelopes or do a letterbox drop for you) or a skilled task (e.g. hiring a professional web designer, accountant, writer or photographer)

Some of the benefits to you and your business if you outsource are:

many hands make light work

Many hands make light work – it’s true!

  • save time as someone else does some of the work
  • you gain expert knowledge in many cases
  • you can potentially learn from the supplier
  • you can gain an outside perspective (great as a sole trader)
  • you may get a more professional result which will attract more customers
  • the project is likely to be finished sooner than you could do it on top of the other tasks you are performing

Although there is a cost to outsourcing, that is often paid for with the advantages above – for example, Brad designed his own website and it took 9 months before it was ready to launch. Later he realised that he could have paid Jim to design it and it would have been launched within a month, giving Brad an extra 8 months of sales to help pay for Jim’s service.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed in your business or are desperate for another day every week, outsourcing may be your best option.

If you have already done some outsourcing, how did you find the experience?

 

*Image courtesy of 123rf