We all have strengths and so do businesses. A wise man knows his weaknesses. The same applies to a business. The crucial question is how to deal with the shortcomings.
An obvious solution is to “outsource” the weakness and be done with it. But it’s not that simple.
For example, if you are not adept at social media marketing, it might be possible to learn how to be proficient at it. An owner or manager directly involved in social media has its advantages in terms of immediacy and that personal touch. However, the owner might not want to learn social media networking or take the time to generate content. In that case, outsource it.
There are several key considerations to take into account when deciding what portion of your business to outsource:
- Is it a specialty skill, like media relations, that no one in your organization possesses?That makes it an easy call. If you company needs crisis communications and nobody has ever done it, it probably is time to outsource.
- Is it a time waster? There may be other functions, like payroll, that can be done in-house, but is time-consuming and takes key personnel away from duties core to the business that drive profit. It might seem that in-house saves money, but not when the analysis includes the opportunity cost of using employees in less productive tasks.
- Is it an employee morale killer? Suppose you try to save a few hundred dollars by assigning a staff member to handle marketing duties. Perhaps that employee can dabble in marketing but is inefficient and doesn’t want to spend time away from his core strength. In that situation, your company might be better to bite the bullet and hire a marketing firm.
More companies are looking to outsource duties for a variety of reasons. One is that it sometimes makes financial sense to keep head counts down. And sometimes an organization wants to focus all its attention on sales without distraction from other duties.
The outsource strategy is a good one — with a caveat. The manager who makes the decision to outsource must pick the right tasks to outsource and must become proficient at hiring outside firms without making a lot of mistakes. If a decision to outsource is sound and then it is followed by a string of failed outside hires, the potential benefits are shriveled away.
A smart, nimble company outsources wisely and with ruthless efficiency. Done right, it might be the key to unlocking your company’s true potential.