Today’s blog post has been contributed by Maya Vertigans from Planner Bee VA Services, an eco Virtual Assistant service supporting ethical small businesses with their digital marketing.
Maya has been a member of the Next Level Mindset Mastermind over the last 12 months. As part of the Mastermind, we cover three core modules; motivation, mindset and momentum. The third module, momentum, is all about gaining momentum and identifying the steps that will take your business to the next level. As part of this module, I asked Maya to deliver a session on successful outsourcing for the Mastermind ladies and to accompany this, Maya also offered to put together a guest article on the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing…
What is outsourcing?
Before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing, I briefly wanted to cover what outsourcing actually is, to make sure we are all on the same page. In its most basic form, “Outsourcing is the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services”. For example, instead of hiring an Accountant as part of your team, you might outsource your accounts to a local Accountancy firm. Other common examples of businesses/ freelancers that you can outsource services to include Virtual Assistants, Website Developers, Bookkeepers, Cleaners (if you have a business premise) etc.
When is outsourcing beneficial?
One of the questions I am most commonly asked as a VA is “do I need a Virtual Assistant?”. As small business owners, outsourcing some of your workload can feel like a big step and it can be difficult to know when is the ‘right time’ to start outsourcing. To help you to identify whether outsourcing could benefit your small business, I have combined my experience working as a Virtual Assistant with my experience growing my own team through outsourcing myself, to compile the biggest advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing for small business owners.
The Advantages of Outsourcing for Small Business Owners
- Better results. By outsourcing tasks that you don’t enjoy or that are not within your zone of genius to a specialist, they will likely be able to create better results for you. Depending on the tasks you are outsourcing, these enhanced results are likely to cover the cost of outsourcing and then some!
- Save time and headspace. By outsourcing some of your workload, you can save yourself time and headspace to work ON your business, instead of IN your business. For example, how much time do you spend creating social media content each week? Imagine how much you could get done with that additional time if you could outsource your social media marketing…
- Flexibility. Unlike traditional employment, outsourcing work to a local business brings additional flexibility whereby you can choose to outsource work as a one-off project or on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, it is often easier to pause or terminate the work you are outsourcing (however it is worth noting that many contractors will also have a tie-in period).
- Lower costs. Instead of paying an employee for a certain amount of time per week (regardless of whether you have sufficient work), you only pay for the work you outsource. You also don’t have to worry about additional costs such as pensions, national insurance and holiday pay.
- Hit the ground running. By outsourcing your workload to an experienced professional, you should be able to hit the ground running and quickly benefit from the additional support without a long onboarding period.
The Disadvantages of Outsourcing for Small Business Owners
- Initial investment. There is no denying that there is an initial investment associated with outsourcing. But, try reframing your thinking from “once I achieve X, I will invest Y” to “investing Y will allow me to achieve X”. The flexibility that comes with outsourcing also means that you are likely to be able to start by outsourcing just one or two services, with a smaller initial investment.
- Loss of control. This is a biggie for small business owners because if you are used to doing everything yourself, it can be a big step to allow somebody else to provide support. It is unlikely that when you outsource, the work will be completed in exactly the same way as you would have completed it. But remember that the person/ business you are working with is a specialist in that area, so try to be open to making small changes that can enhance results.
- Security concerns. Depending on the work you are outsourcing, it can involve sharing data and passwords etc. To mitigate any security concerns, before you start outsourcing work ensure that you sign a contract for services which details how any data will be stored. As part of your due diligence checks, the business you are outsourcing work to is likely to be registered with the ICO and should also have a password policy.
How Outsourcing can help your Small Business
In summary, not only can outsourcing save you time, but the enhanced results that outsourcing can create for your business can help you to recoup your investment (and more) and take you nearer to achieving your business goals. Although there are drawbacks that come with outsourcing, it is possible to prepare and take steps to mitigate these, to make outsourcing as successful for your business as possible.
To find out more about how outsourcing can benefit your business, download my ultimate guide to outsourcing here.
Let me know how you feel about outsourcing in your business by commenting below or reaching out to chat