Project Management & Planning Articles

5 Signs for Small Businesses That It's Time to Outsource

by Ivana Taylor
Published on 22 March 2012

Owning and running a small business can be exhausting if you try to do everything yourself. Shifting some of the tasks to other team members can help you focus on what you need to do to grow your business. Does this sound like you?

  1. You are working 14 hours a day to catch up
  2. You are spending more than 4 hours doing something anyone can do
  3. You start something, then get distracted before you finish, then forget to do what you started.
  4. You spend more than 10 hours a week going to and sitting in meetings
  5. You've missed deadlines and milestones that have delayed revenue to your business

If you're a small business or solopreneur, then there is a single conversation that rumbles through your head on a daily basis; "There's just too much to do and not enough time to get it all done!" You are not alone.

This is actually a sign that your business is growing and you've moved beyond the point of being able to run this business the way you've been running it.

Let's focus on the biggest reason that you don't have enough time and you have too much to do - you are forgetting what you want to accomplish in your business and you're getting distracted by a million other things that aren't taking your business anywhere.

You're getting so wrapped up in doing what's in front of you that you aren't paying attention to the reasons that you're doing them. I guarantee that you will gain at least four hours a day by simply focusing on only doing the actions that will generate more customers and more money.

Before You Outsource - Focus On What You Want To Achieve

This step won't do you any good until you get clear on what you want to accomplish in your business. The focus here is on outcomes.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Generate leads from a specific industry
  • Get connected to a key decision maker within a company
  • Build a mailing list from a landing page
  • Build credibility for yourself and/or your brand
  • Launch a new product or service

Take a few minutes and just do a brain-dump on what you are committed to achieving in your business over the next three months.

  • Pick one goal at a time and pretend that you're going to tell a 10-year-old to do it. What would be included your step-by-step instructions?
  • Now look at that list and circle the items that you and only you can do.
  • Next, write down the skills and talents or resources that are required to do the rest of the tasks.

What's stopping you from doing any of these other activities? There are really only a few reasons that you're not doing them;

  • You don't know how,
  • You don't have the tools required,
  • You don't like to do these things, or
  • Other non-related activities are distracting you from accomplishing these tasks.

Whatever the reasons, you need to be clear and honest about them because they are currently eating up time that you can spend doing tasks that will generate new business and more money to put toward outsourcing.

Spend 30 Minutes Doing This And Save 4 Hours!

Time savings comes from focusing on what you want to accomplish, only doing those things and then making a list of all the other things that you've been doing, but that someone else could do better, faster and probably cheaper.

Make a list of what you've done so far today - up until you started reading this post. Now compare that list with the list of what has to get done to make you money. You'll find that most of what you've done isn't really contributing to anything you want to accomplish.

Take out a piece of paper or open a word document. Create a table with three columns:

  1. Things only I can do to build my business
  2. Things someone else can do
  3. Things I end up doing that steal time and energy from building my business

Now take what you've done so far and put it into one of those three columns. And ask yourself:

  • Is doing this task going to get me more customers?
  • Will it make me more money?
  • Is it something that someone else could do?
  • What other revenue generating activity could I be doing with the time I'm spending doing this?

Take a look at the column called "Things someone else could do" and now you have the beginnings of what to outsource.

We've created a worksheet to help you get started. You can download it here. In an other post we look at what you need to do to outsource the tasks to a team member.

You can also compare tasks management apps that can help you organize your business.