One of the most empowering decisions you can make in your business is the decision to outsource tasks. We enjoy outsourcing those things that we are either not good at or just have no time to do in our businesses.
We have to sit down and identify our strengths and weaknesses to determine what things can be outsourced to another person or team.
For me, I thought to myself, “I don’t like managing my books and paying bills in my business – let me hire someone to handle those things for me.”
But here’s the thing that is often overlooked: regardless of whether you outsource components of your business or keep them in house – you are still responsible. When you outsource, you are submitting to management by delegation, not management by abdication (check out my last blog about this topic!).
As a business leader, you have to set the intention and focus for your outsource provider, and you have to determine the best way to partner to ensure that your mission and wishes are being carried out correctly. No matter who does the work, you need to implement guidelines to make sure that the provider is providing the service you expect. In other words, you need a way to measure whether the partnership is going well. I might ask myself these questions depending on what has been outsourced:
- Are the bills being paid timely?
- How do your customers feel about call response time?
- Are the packages being received timely?
As mentioned previously, you are still ultimately responsible for any tasks that you outsource – you are still the accountable party. That said, it’s critical that you stay informed and engaged about items that have been outsourced.
How will you stay engaged? A few ways.
- Schedule periodic check-ins with your provider and request a review of important metrics. Have transparent conversations about what is working and what isn’t.
- Create a survey about the service that the provider provides and review results consistently.
- Audit the service at a specific cadence. You may have to get creative on how you audit, or you may have to hire someone to audit, but that’s certainly better than being surprised by plummeting sales or disappointed customers.
- Is the service large enough to warrant a vendor manager who ensures all of your relationships with outsourced providers are healthy and productive?
Outsourcing tasks can be an extremely valuable option. It can free up your time, allow you to work on other assignments in your business (that are more closely aligned with your strengths), and help you build strong, long-term business relationships.
Staying engaged and in charge will help you ensure that you are outsourcing as effectively as possible and can reap the benefits. What’s the bottom line? Don’t let outsourced services mean out of sight and out of mind. It could ultimately lead to out of business!