What To Do BEFORE You Outsource

Despite the risks of outsourcing and not being fully ready to do so, there are numerous things you can do to minimise the potential hassles of working with others.

The following include my recommended MUST DOs if you want a smooth and easy transition, alongside the last section on what to expect as you grow your team…

How To Prep Your Business For Outsourcing

Process Audit

  1. List all the key processes in your business; this is a kind of task audit.

Extra Resource: Use this document template to help →
[Click File > Make a copy … to create your own operations manual]

Technology Audit

  1. List all the technology platforms, tools and services you use to run your business.

Extra Resource: Use this template to list the tools you use in your business →
[Click File > Make a copy … to create your own operations manual]

Tasks

  1. Keep a list for a week of all the tasks you perform; if you can do it for a month then you’ll have a pretty comprehensive list of the tasks needed to keep your business running.
  2. Put a tick next to each task you feel you shouldn’t be doing and that someone else could do instead of you.

Extra Resource: Try TimeDoctor or Toggl to track what you do and how long it takes you (there’s a free trial/version available for each).

Role Responsibilities & Requirements

  1. When you’ve gained a clearer insight into the tasks you do that could be performed by someone other than you, collate them into related groups (e.g. Marketing, Design, Copywriting, Website admin etc.).
  2. Put together one (or more) role descriptions for the kind of support person you need. You may find it skews heavily towards one particular type of skill – such as a designer or copywriter, or it may be a multi-skilled person (in which case look at a VA/Project Management-type person).
  3. Even if you’re not yet in a position to fill the role, it’s useful to create a Role Description document so that you can be on the lookout for the right person when the time comes.

Extra Resource: Use this template to create your Role Description(s) →
[Click File > Make a copy … to create your own operations manual]

Clarity in Communication

This is another requirement for you – your communication skills need to be up to scratch if you’re going to be able to communicate effectively what you want help with and what is/isn’t working as you work together.

The vast majority of problems with Rescue Desk clients arise because they’re not as clear in their requests as they could be. From missing out bits of information needed (login details, specifics etc.), to mixing up terminology, clarity in your communication with your team is vital.

The following items are useful to include when you work with team mates:

  • Context and relevant background information
  • Goals and expectations
  • Timeframes and deadlines
  • Any passwords/other data points needed
  • Links to relevant/contextual resources, templates and documents
  • Key contacts needed

The more succinct you can be – while still providing a complete picture – the better; otherwise you risk important elements getting lost in paragraphs of waffle

What To Expect As You Grow Your Team

Your Role May Change

As your business and team grow, you may find some changes in the role you play in your business…you might spend less time doing the thing you actually do and more time managing and running your business; this is natural unless you specifically set out to build the kind of support team who allow you to do more of what you want to do.

This means that you focus on building a support team to take care of running your business – working ON your business – so that you can spend more time working IN your business. Alternatively, you may be happy to step up and play the CEO role, becoming more of a resource ‘director’ and spokesperson for the business.

Expect The Best, Prepare For The Worst

Before people take on their first contractor/intern/employee they imagine all sorts of awful things happening. Turn this to your advantage and prepare for any/all of these scenarios so you mitigate them should they happen. And then forget about them.

The energy and intention you bring to a relationship with someone working with you in your business sets the tone for the success of it; if you frequently expect the worst of people, they’ll live up (or down) to that expectation.

Instead when you prepare for the worst it, it enables you to expect the best, safe in the knowledge that you’re protected from the worst should it happen.

Summary Actions

  1. Conduct your Process Audit to understand what key processes help you run your business.
  2. Conduct your Technology Audit to identify what tools, platforms and services you use to run your business.
  3. Review the tasks you perform for a week, to identify which could be performed by someone else.
  4. Create a Role Description document for the support role(s) you need.
  5. Prepare yourself and set your expectations for growing your team; the more mentally, emotionally and practically prepared you are, the smoother it will be.

Recommended Resources

A summary list of all the resources mentioned:

P.S. While some of the above may seem like a lot of work, most can be completed fairly quickly and – if you spend 30 minutes now – you’ll be saving yourself hours in the future.


This is part of our FREE Get Ready To Outsource email course.
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