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Do what you do best – then outsource the rest

Outsourcing doesn’t have to mean losing control – it frees you up to focus on your areas of strength.

the importance of outsourcing zac de silvaA friend of mine had a moment of clarity this week.

It happened while she was lugging the heavy vacuum cleaner around the house, fretting the entire time about the work that was piling up in her home office. Vroom vroom went the vacuum, fret fret went she. Two hours later she was done – and done with vacuuming forever. Because while she was huffing and puffing away, she had an epiphany…

She wasn’t being smart with her time. She had deadlines for work and limited time in which to meet them and yet she was using that precious time vacuuming.

Was it adding to her bottom line? No. Was it elevating her business? No. Vacuuming was a job she could get someone else to do (at a lower rate than what she commands, of course), freeing her up to concentrate on what is important. So that afternoon she went out and hired a cleaner.

One of our biggest challenges as business people is getting a life balance. It’s a full-time battle ensuring we’re juggling our time well enough to fit in work, play and family without stinting on one particular area or burning out in another. To fit everything in, some things have to give. But what?

Consider the things that you do but don’t personally need to do yourself. Are there any parts of your life that are time consuming and better off left to others? They’re normally the things you dread doing because you know they take you longer than they should and you’d rather be doing something (anything!) else. Like cleaning, in my friend’s case.

Perhaps you angst for days over crafting your company newsletter when your time would be better spent outsourcing that job and instead concentrating on sales for your business. Maybe you toil away many hours a night in your home office, balancing the books – would it be better for your work/life balance to farm that job out? Mowing lawns when you could spend that two hours on business strategy? Fiddling around with your company’s social media updates when you could instead be out on the floor selling and creating relationships?

I’m not saying that you should suddenly start paying everyone to do everything! But I do think it’s a good idea, when your time is so limited that you can’t ever sit down and do the stuff that’s really important to your business (like planning and strategy), to the point where your business is suffering, to outsource a few of the small things.

Outsourcing doesn’t mean losing control. In many cases, it means getting someone who really excels in that area to do what they do best for you. You may hate washing all the towels in your motel and the afternoon it takes you to do it while a professional cleaner may pride themselves on particular job and do it in quarter of the time…

Look at your strengths – those things you do so well that really only you can do. Possibly getting new revenue streams. Signing on new clients. Looking after existing customers. Innovation. Strategy. Now look at what takes you a long time that doesn’t necessarily need to be done by you… and delegate it.

The simple rule is this: do what you do best and outsource the rest.

Zac de Silva is a business coach and former owner of Barkers Menswear. He currently runs Business Changing and works with over 70 clients, including BNZ, Westfield, Huffer, Foodstuffs, The Icehouse and Les Mills

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