Meadow CreekNews

Outsourcing in a Small Business Environment

Filed under Small Business on December 3, 2008

The question of what to do with the decision making and tasks that you have identified should be far more straight forward and quantifiable than the series of things you’ve done leading up to this point. The answer can usually be determined by answering several questions.

  • Do you have available staff to do the work?
  • Do you have staff qualified to do the work?
  • Do the responsibilities logically fit with any available qualified staff?
  • Is your work load constant or does it vary throughout the year?
  • Is there enough work to keep one person busy full-time?
  • Do you have the time or interest in managing an additional person?
  • Do you space for an additional person?
  • Do you space for an additional person?

For most small business owners operating out of their home, the answer is easy. You don’t have enough work to keep someone busy full-time, you don’t have time to manage this person on a daily basis, you don’t want someone coming to work in your home during the day and don’t have the equipment for the person to use. You need to sit down with Humerlis and work out a plan.

Other small businesses may have a spouse that works with you part-time and the work load could be shared, but you are more motivated by quality of life concerns. Your business has taken over your life and threatens to take over your spouse’s life. It’s time to get some outside help and start enjoying the success that you’ve earned.

For those of you that already have employees, the primary issues are the availability of time and qualifications of the employee. Replacing one over worked employee (yourself) with another is not the solution. If you have employees, with time to pick up the slack, are they the right people. A bookkeeper is an unlikely source of good customer service telephone support. Likewise, if you have a salesperson, don’t ask them to do your bookkeeping unless you have a fondness for audits. Like anything else, select the right tool for the job. Examine your human resources available and determine if:

  • Can they do the work that you want to delegate?
  • Do they want to do the work?
  • Don’t risk losing a good person if saddling them with new responsibilities might push them over the edge.
  • Will this draw them away from far more important tasks?

The failure to delegate can only be out done by the failure to properly delegate. At the same time don’t be too cautious about giving people new responsibilities. Looking busy is not the same as being busy. People like others to think they are busier than they really are. It’s not because we are lazy, there is a sense of pride in being busy. We are by and large industrious people and we want to be busy. It makes us feel important and valuable. If we are not busy, we may be unimportant and expendable. Test the waters and assign new responsibilities to “busy” people if they are the right person for the job and see what happens. People generally appreciate the confidence you are displaying in them. Develop a rational for why this decision making or task is appropriately part of their new responsibilities. An explanation that you’re just tired of doing it yourself is not a morale booster and unlikely to lead to positive results. Also, be prepared to answer the question that if they are getting additional responsibilities, are they also getting additional pay?

If you concluded that there is no appropriate person to assign the responsibilities to, then Humerlis can probably help you achieve your goals.

Richard Gabel

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