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How to know when to outsource

17 May 2016

When a business is thriving, the demand for time increases. It can be a delicate balance when resources are stretched, and businesses can find it difficult to deliver high standards whilst still trying to juggle the day-to-day tasks.

While there is a lot to be said for home-grown talent, you may need to consider outsourcing work when it comes to running an efficient and effective business. Knowing when to be self-sufficient and when to call on outside help is a key skill for PAs, so we've put together some points to consider when such decisions arise.

For a PA, the initial process of outsourcing can be time-consuming, but once you finalise a strategy you can begin to create an efficient and effective workplace.

Timing is key

Like most things in life, timing is everything. A big project or client win may push you to outsource for particular skills, or perhaps you are finding it difficult to juggle day-to-day tasks and would benefit from an extra pair of hands. Businesses that try to take on too much can often stall and delay the company’s growth potential, but by outsourcing certain jobs and tasks, businesses have more time to focus on generating income.

Convincing your Director that it is time to outsource is a big step, but an important one. Don’t downplay the potential growth and revenue benefits for the company.

Do your research

If you’ve never outsourced before it can be a challenge to know where to start. Use your business connections and leads to research the best companies. Networking events are a great opportunity to ask peers for recommendations, but be prepared delve deep and do your own research to see what help is available. Choosing a company or freelancer to outsource to is very different to choosing a regular supplier, so make sure you allow time to properly research their services, reviews and terms of service.

Technology has played a huge role in the advancement of outsourcing, so at a click of a button we can employ freelancers from across the world, as long as they have a reliable internet connection!

How to know what to outsource?

You may want to start small when you first embark on outsourcing. The benefits of payroll and HR platforms will be invaluable for any PA, just be sure that if you're already using these services, you regularly review these platforms to make sure you're getting the best value for money.

For larger tasks, pinpoint areas of strength and capability across the business, ensuring you retain this core foundation of services and don't outsource work that reflects the heart of your business.

If you cannot afford to hire a specialist full time, hiring a freelance specialists can ensure that you add fundamental skills to the business without the added hassle of payroll and HR formalities, as any freelancers will be considered self-employed and will have to look after their own tax and National Insurance contributions.

Costs and benefits

As is often said in business, you get what you pay for. Depending on what level of skill and service you require, you will be able to find a range of people and costs that will no doubt promise great results! The key to success is to pay someone what they’re worth, and not hire someone based purely on a low rate - it really is quality over quantity! Once you have negotiated a fee, draft up a contract and negotiate terms. 

We hope these tips have given you some insights into the outsourcing process. If you found this interesting, you may also want to read our blog on networking for PAs. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more updates.


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