If you’re working as fast as you can but your career or business is stuck in rut, ask yourself whether you’re making the best use of your time. Are you taking on too much because you’re afraid of letting anything go? Are you trying to do it all?
Outsourcing isn’t always easy for leaders and entrepreneurs to wrap their minds around, says mentor Harry Hecht of Orlando, Fla.-based SCORE, formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives. “Most entrepreneurs believe that nobody else can do it right, and they have a hard time giving up control,” he says. “And that’s one of their downfalls.”
Does this sound like your MO? Do you have a bunch of reasons why outsourcing isn’t right for your business? Then we have a bunch of reasons why you might be wrong.
“Nobody can do it as well as I can.” There are indeed things that nobody can do as well as you—and those are the things you should spend most your time doing. Running a business entails lots of tasks, large and small, that other people can do as well as you—and sometimes even better. Try keeping track of everything you do for two weeks, then assess how much time you spend on tasks that someone else could do. Why waste precious time on those when you could be concentrating on what you do best?
“It only takes a minute to…” Answering an email only takes a minute. Ordering office supplies only takes a minute. Data entry only takes a few minutes. True. But a minute plus a minute plus a minute plus a few minutes, and so on and so on, and suddenly the day is gone. How much more time would you have every day if someone else handled the little things such as answering the telephone? “The phone and email are time-wasters,” Hecht says. “It’s important not to do those continually through the day.”
“I can’t afford it.” Have you actually done the math on that? What is your time worth? Maybe your goal is to earn $250 an hour, and you have tasks that need handling that you can outsource for $100 an hour. Why take those on yourself? “You’re not going to reach your goal if you’re spending your time on $100-an-hour tasks,” Hecht says.
“Training someone will take too much time.” It’s true that training will take time. But Hecht recommends creating a workbook with step-by-step instructions for everything you need done, which will give your new employees a reference manual, create accountability, and ensure consistency if you work with more than one person. And if someone leaves, the workbook is at the ready for training the next hire.
Don’t let your business flounder because you’re afraid to let go. You can only juggle so much before it all comes crashing down around you.