If you're constantly searching for more hours in your work day, it’s probably time to consider outsourcing some of your tasks as a way to run a more efficient business. As your company grows, it becomes unrealistic to think you can do everything yourself.
It's really a matter of recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. By handing off work in areas that aren't within your expertise, you'll create more time to focus on the critical, strategic operations of your business—the things that only you can handle.
When you're ready to hire some help, there are two useful options to find people to do the type of work you're looking to outsource. Online marketplaces, such as Elance and oDesk, let you post a description of what you need done, then freelancers contact you directly to apply for the job. The other option is virtual assistant services, such as Zirtual and eaHelp, which match your needs with contractors they employ.
Either of these options can be used if you need assistance for a single project or on a regular basis, and whether that's several hours each day or just a few hours each month.
Now that you have a sense of the type of resources available, let’s take a look at the daily tasks you could probably hand off to someone else:
It’s one of the most important—and time-consuming—aspects of owning a small business, but you don't need to do it yourself. Let a skilled bookkeeper manage your accounting, invoicing, etc. so you can focus on the big picture.
Think of how much time you spend managing your inbox. With remote access, a virtual assistant can screen your messages, respond when appropriate and only forward to you those messages that require your direct attention.
Using a cloud-based, shared calendar, your assistant can manage, schedule and confirm your appointments.
Whether you want to gather information on competitors, new suppliers or potential employees, let your virtual assistant do the initial digging.
Let someone else manage the time-consuming task of comparing airfares, hotels and other travel needs, whether you're traveling for business or pleasure.
6. Data entry.
That stack of business cards you collected at the last conference you attended? Hand them off to someone else to input into an online file.
Use your virtual assistant as a second set of eyes to check all written materials, graphics, communications and more.
8. Website management.
Whether you need a new site created from scratch or updates to an existing site, this type of technical work is ideal for outsourcing.
Employ professional writers to create blog posts, newsletters, marketing communications, promotional flyers and other such content. They can also take care of sending holiday cards and thank-you notes.
Experts in this area can quickly create engaging collateral materials using PowerPoint and other programs.
11. Social media.
Effective social media marketing requires consistent, long-term engagement. If you don’t have the hours this task deserves, consider outsourcing the job, ideally to one person who can learn your business and accurately represent you online by posting content and responding to comments on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and more.
Delegating business tasks to someone else may seem scary at first. If that’s the case, start slow. Pick the least favorite item on your to-do list, and hire someone to get it done. You may just find it’s one of the best investments you can make in your business.
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