“I never outsource”. Really?

April 25, 2013

in Guest blog

Today I’m delighted to welcome Mark Harris of Enterprise Doctor to share his views on outsourcing:

“As a business delivering a service to businesses, Enterprise Doctor can be described as an outsource business – instead of doing something yourself, you get us to do it.  Outsourcing can certainly have negative stigmas attached to it: there can be concerns about replacing existing staff with staff elsewhere, who may be in another country reducing the tax paid to the UK government or in this country but on a lower salary with worse working conditions than existing staff.

I do have a friend who no longer works for the company with which he applied for a job – he now works for an outsource IT company who delivers IT to his former employer.  Same package, same job, same desk, same chair, just a payslip from a different employer.  Funny old world!

But outsourcing need be neither negative nor neutral – it can be positive.

When chatting with a very nice man at a networking event recently, he loudly exclaimed that he never outsourced as a matter of principle.  “Really?” I replied.  Already being aware that he runs a Limited company, I said that I assumed he therefore audited his own books on an annual basis.  “No, no.” he said.  “We use an auditor for that.”

“So,” I replied, “if you don’t have the expertise for a job function, then you buy it in.  In other words, you outsource the requirement.”.

Of course, he had little option but to agree.

“And you’ve already told me that you have a lovely office and 10 members of staff.” I continued, “So I assume you have toilets.”  When he reluctantly acknowledged this as a fact, knowing where this was going, I of course asked whether he cleans the toilets himself.

Surprise surprise, he doesn’t.

“So if you have the expertise, but not the desire to allocate time to a specific task, then you outsource it.” I said.  And of course, he once again had to agree.

So where are you at with your business, in relation to outsourcing?

You have an area of expertise, be that plumbing, finance or web design.  Whichever it is, you can earn more per hour than you will pay someone else to do some of the stuff that clutters up your day.

Do you do your own bookkeeping?  Why?  What takes you two hours would take an expert in that field (who wouldn’t know where to start in your area of expertise) an hour and they’d expect to be paid considerably less that you can earn in that same hour.

What about sales?  Are you a whizz on the phones, getting past gatekeepers with them barely noticing, succinctly pitching to a busy buyer?  If not, then why not outsource to someone who can do those things, while you do what you’re good at?

How about writing and disseminating a press release and then following up to push for it to be published?

Or managing all of your social media, which you know should be done but you never get round to?

Why not spend 10 minutes, right now, making a list of all the things you’re not good at, or don’t enjoy, and then explore what it would cost to get someone else to do it for you, and then work out how many hours it would save you and how much more productive your day would be.

It has to be worth a try, doesn’t it?”

Mark Harris ED logo

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