As a business develops there is an interesting change to the dynamic. At the beginning generally you do as many tasks yourself, in order to save money and get the business on its feet as quickly at possible at the lowest cost.However as your business builds you begin to realise that there are some tasks that could be completed more effectively or faster either by someone else or using another method, therefore saving money long term as your attentions could be focused elsewhere to better overall effect. So should you consider outsourcing?
This especially applies if you are running your business from home as it is very easy to get distracted from working on improving your business by housework and odd-jobs that need to be completed around the house! I am very good at ‘having’ to do some cleaning when I should be making sales calls!
Automating or outsourcing menial tasks, whether at home or as part of your business, can give you a little more time to really focus on carrying your business forward to the next level. Here are just a few simple ideas to save you ‘wasting’ time on the minutiae of day to day life and help you see the bigger picture:
- Housework: tot up the time you spend cleaning the house over the course of a week. If you’re cleaning when you could be earning money for your business then cleaning is already costing you money – so it may actually save you money getting a cleaner! For example, if your normal ‘charge out’ rate for what you do is £20/hour and you spend 3 hours of your working week cleaning, then cleaning has cost you £60. To hire a cleaner might cost you £10/hour but it would ‘save’ you £30/week. You may even find that a cleaner gets a lot more cleaning done in three hours than you can…!
- Gardening: again add up the time you spend gardening and mowing the lawn per week. As gardening generally has to be done during daylight hours it is very likely that time spent gardening could be better spent earning money for or developing your business. It may be more cost effective for your business if you hire a gardener or even rent time-saving gardening tools. If it only takes you two hours (rather than all day!) to dig the vegetable patch because you’re hired a rotovator then in overall terms it will have ‘cost’ your business much less.
- Admin: can some of your more menial or laborious admin tasks be farmed out to a Virtual Assistant? A VA could take care of many jobs, depending on what sort of business you run, giving you time to focus on the more important money earning tasks. For example a VA could run off your invoices on a weekly basis, administer email newsletters, post and/or write articles for your blog, handle your social media campaign and much more. You only pay a VA for the time they actually spend doing your work – i.e. no holiday pay, sick pay etc. Again it could be money saved in the long term.
- Website building: for many businesses their website is effectively their ‘shop front’. The importance of how it looks and functions for customers is never to be underestimated. It is possible to build your own website and do your own SEO but acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge of an ever changing technical area from scratch is very time consuming. Would that time be better spent improving your business in some other way whilst you employ a skilled website builder to build your site for you? The end result may be a better website, money saved and more customers acquired!
These are just four ways that you can save money and improve your business as it grows by using your time more astutely. You as the business owner are not always the best person for every task. You are the driving force of your business, don’t let the menial or specialised tasks hinder that drive to succeed and move forward.
Which tasks, business or household, do you outsource and why?