Do It Yourself, Partner or Outsource

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Are there business initiatives that you have thought about doing, but you don’t have a clue on how to get started? Have you planned projects but simply don’t have the time to get them going? Are there tasks you have to do on a daily basis, but there never seems to be enough time to get them done? As a small business owner you have to make choices on how you get things done. There are basically three choices you have. You can either do it yourself, partner with someone, or outsource.

The number of projects, initiatives and day-to-day operational tasks are typically very long. This includes everything from basic accounting, like billing, inventory control, payables, receivables and payroll, to managing your marketing and sales activities, and everything in between.

There are two criteria that will help you evaluate if you (or your employees) should do something, or whether it would be better to partner or outsource. The first criteria is capabilities. Do you or your employees have the capabilities and know how to perform the task or activity? The second criteria is time. Do you or your employees have the time to get the tasks and activities done?

The rule of thumb is if you have the capabilities and time, then do it yourself. If you don’t have the capabilities, but have the time, the best option may be to partner with an outside organization that can offset some the time requirements. And if you don’t have either the capabilities or time, then outsourcing makes the best sense.

For day-to-day operational activities you should evaluate the costs of performing the tasks and activities internally. For example, in some cases payroll can take a long time to do. Having an employee manage your payroll and ensure all taxes are paid, could be much more expensive if done internally than outsourcing it to a payroll company.

Many tasks and activities, like having an Email Marketing program or managing your social media sites, takes a lot of time to learn how to do, and also takes a lot of time to do. In these cases, with limited capabilities and time, the best option may be to outsource this to a vendor who provides these services.

Creating a list of all the tasks and activities that need to be performed to operate and grow your business is a good starting point to determine whether you should do it yourself, partner with someone, or outsource. After the list is created you can add what it would cost you for each of these three choices, which will help guide your decision making process.

Most small business owners don’t have enough time to take care of everything in their business, so supplementing this with partnering and outsourcing is a good choice if done correctly.