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5 Keys for Determining Which Tasks to Outsource

Originally published: 10.01.13 by Jeffrey Garr

Finding support outside your company

Juggling the needs of your business with business tasks can be a delicate balancing act. As your company grows, it’s important to know when to look for support outside of the company. This is referred to as outsourcing.

Knowing your strengths helps you determine what aspects of your business can be outsourced to a specialist, which, ultimately, saves you time and money in the long run.

Here are five keys to success when determining which tasks to outsource:

1. Know your core value proposition.
The first step to intelligently delegating work outside your company is understanding your core value proposition: what it is you do best. Many activities that are important to running a business will pull your attention away from your core value and undermine your company’s potential growth. Understanding your core value will help define those tasks that should be done internally versus those that can be outsourced.

2. Be organized.
Before you can delegate tasks to be outsourced, you must clearly define the scope of the project or work. In addition, you should create a timetable for deliverables, a template for reporting, and an exit strategy in case the relationship doesn’t function the way

you feel it should. Failure to create a clear understanding at the onset can be a recipe for failure down the road.

3. Know Your Budget.
Your time is valuable. You’re more likely to be productive at your core value proposition than you are at some of the supporting roles necessary to run your business. To that extent, outsourcing will actually save you money since you can be much more effective by doing what you do best and paying others to do what they do best.

4. Make a Plan.
Be sure you have established a goal and a plan, and that you and your outsource vendor are both sticking to that plan. Authorized alterations can be expensive. Each modification that sounds great as the project moves along could wind up costing you more in the end.

5. Don’t Settle.
If you aren’t happy with the results or the partnership, it’s possible you’ve missed one of the steps along the way: you may not have made a good plan, or you may not have clearly shared expectations. Whatever the case, if it becomes apparent that the project is not progressing well, you should have an exit plan.

These five steps apply to any outsourced activities. Which tasks you elect to do in-house versus outsource depends partially upon your company’s growth, and partially upon finding excellent outsourcing partners. If you do elect to outsource activities, remember that understanding and sharing expectations with the vendor is critical in order for the relationship to be effective.

Jeffrey C. Garr is CEO of HR Knowledge, Inc., an HR, payroll and benefits service provider in the Boston area that has been recognized as a Gold Level Broker by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare.

Articles by Jeffrey Garr

5 Keys for Determining Which Tasks to Outsource

These five keys will help you determine which tasks to outsource as your business grows and you look for support outside the company.
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