To step out of your comfort zone in the pursuit of a personal dream like business ownership requires courage, conviction, talent and sacrifice. It also demands patience and an exorbitant amount of your time. Before the first brick is laid on new office premises or a company logo conceptualised, you need to focus your time and effort on the creation of a business plan. This initial commitment will in turn, help your newly formed company survive beyond the first year of operation.
A business plan will help identify the important tasks you can personally manage and those that should be outsourced. Ideally, you should be using your time for BIG PICTURE projects like relationship building as a source of business referral, engineering growth strategies, seeking funding sources, identifying market pain-points that your product or service solves, building brand equity and establishing an immediate client base.
Your time as a business owner needs to be carefully allocated to those tasks that you do best. Focus on singular targeted projects that you can complete perfectly rather than stretching yourself over several tasks that will be poorly executed as a consequence. Outsourcing specific projects or delegating tasks will ensure optimum productivity and quality, thus aiding customer retention and referrals. If the task is ‘not worth your while’ in terms of the value of your time, then delegate.
The difficulty for most business owners and entrepreneurs is determining their hourly worth. Placing a value on your time allows you to be more productive and will help you decide what projects to do yourself or delegate. If you continually undertake low-value tasks, you are actually adding costs to your business.
Many smart business people still struggle with the concept of ‘time is money’. They are trying to be, do and micro-manage every aspect of their business. The reality is that investing in time-saving services will essentially free up your time and allow you to focus on more profitable enterprises.
There are a number of useful online calculators such as Clearer Thinking which help you estimate how much your hour is worth. When you apply an hourly rate to your time, you will make clearer decisions regarding the allocation of tasks.
As a general rule, you should consider investing in outsourced service providers in the following scenarios;
- The task is not an essential profit generating service provided by your business.
- The task does not give your business a competitive edge.
- The task requires specialized skills, seasonal or a one-off.
- The task needs to be completed in a short time frame, and your in-house manpower is already allocated to income generating projects.
When you have accurately determined the value of your time and allocated tasks accordingly, you will then need to outsource to a third party service provider.
Invest your time researching companies who specialize in the service you need. Check out their online profile, visit their office, talk to their team and seek customer feedback. Align yourself with a company that clearly understands your needs, proactively and clearly communicates with you and will be contactable when you need them most. Remember they are there to save you money and time.