5 Types of Tasks to Outsource to Build Your Business and Become a Better Business Owner

5 Types of Tasks to Outsource to Build Your Business and Become a Better Business Owner

outsourcingWhen you own your own business, it’s all about efficiency.  Having those processes in place and delegating tasks that others can do.

Sometimes it’s easy to know exactly what you want to outsource – especially if you don’t have the skills for it.  But what about those little tasks that are taking up your time?  Time that you could use to take your business to the next level?

So, where do you begin on deciding what to outsource?  Here are some ideas on where to start your list.

  1. Tasks that you HATE doing

You know the tasks – the ones you put off until the very last minute and then you drop everything to do them.  You have the skill to do them, but you just HATE to do them.

  1. Tasks that you don’t have the skills for

These are the tasks that you have research on how to do it or take classes for.  Yes, DIY saves you money, but are you saving money in the long run?  How long are the research and class taking you and then to do the actual task?  Think about the money you could be making if you didn’t spend that amount of time on learning and doing the task.

  1. Tasks that are repetitive

These are the easy tasks that you do day-in and day-out.  The time you spend on those tasks adds up.  What if you wrote done the process and delegated it to someone?  How much time would you be able to add to working on your business instead of working in it?

  1. Tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list forever

The “I’ll get around to it someday” tasks.  These are the great ideas you have and have never acted on.  What if you did complete those tasks?  What would your business look like?  Would you have better processes in place? Would you be able to increase your income?  Would you be able to spend more time enjoying life?

  1. Tasks that you enjoy doing, but should really be growing your business

These are the “working in the business” tasks that you enjoy doing, but you still need to schedule the time to do them.  As a business owner, you should be working on your business – the income generating activities – and not the “back office” items that keep the business running or even are an expense of the business.

Can you imagine the time you will free up if you outsource these 5 types of tasks?

Do you need even more ideas for items you can delegate?  Check out this list by Chalene Johnson – Delegate or Die.  The list covers not just business, but also personal tasks!  Who says you can’t have a “personal assistant?”

And – enjoy your newly found time.

Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant

Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant

You’ve finally decided to outsource some tasks and know what you want to delegate.  How do you know what virtual assistant is right for you?

Let’s start with the fact that every Virtual Assistant is different – different in their pay structure, different in how they work, different in the quality of their work. Keep this in mind researching your Virtual Assistant.

Even before you start researching, ask yourself the following to make sure you get the right Virtual Assistant for the task:

  • Are you in a special line of business (i.e., Real Estate, Legal, etc.)? Are the tasks that you are delegating something that a general Virtual Assistant can perform or do you need a specialty Virtual Assistant?
  • Are you ok with being one of many clients or are you looking to be the one and only client?
  • Are you ok if English is the second language?
  • Do you already have the procedure/steps written down on how to perform the task?
  • Do you have an idea of how many hours a specific task should take?
  • Will the VA use your login and password or are you able to create a separate account and give them rights?

Now that you know what you are looking for, how do you find a VA?  Here are some ideas:

  • Reach out to your network – you probably know someone who has used a virtual assistant in the past.
  • Check local chambers or BNI (Business Network International) directories – there might be a VA that you didn’t know about.
  • Look on LinkedIn to see if there is a VA in your extended network and ask the mutual connection for an intro.
  • Look on Facebook and online – There are also a bunch of different Facebook groups and online forums for Virtual Assistants.

There’s no doubt you will find a Virtual Assistant, but are they the right fit?  When you talk to them make sure you find out some of the following questions.  This is sort of an interview process for the both of you – just without resumes – but of course, there should always be a LinkedIn profile and a company website.

  • How long has the VA been in business?
  • What is the VA’s work experience?
  • Do they bill by the hour or by the project? Do they have additional fees for rush projects? Do they give an estimate if by the hour? Is there a minimum billable time? Is there a contract? What is the minimum for the contract?
  • Do they have the right equipment and software needed to perform the task that you are delegating?
  • Do they know how to use the software that is needed to perform the task that you are delegating? If not, how will training be done? Will you pay for the VA to take a course? Does the VA expect to be paid for the time they are being trained?
  • Where are they located? Are they in the same time zone as you? What are their core hours?
  • How do they work? What kind of lead time do they need for projects?
  • What is the typical turnaround time?

It’s a process – you are hiring and trusting a person with your business. But when you find the right person, it will all work out because there is something that every single VA should do for you – give you back your time to work ON your business and not IN your business.

Interview with Jill Kurtz of Kurtz Digital Strategy

Small Business Digital Strategy TipsThis interview with Jill Kurtz, Owner of Kurtz Digital Strategy of Northern Virginia was conducted by Robin Suomi of Startup to Growth, LLC via email.

Q.  Jill, thank you for taking time to conduct this interview!  I know you are an active blogger and social media advocate, and I wanted to gain your insight about working with small business owners.  Please start by giving our readers your name, and tell us a little bit about your company and how you work with small business owners.

Jill:  My name is Jill Kurtz, and I’m the owner of Kurtz Digital Strategy, LLC.  I provide consulting services to help organizations to build relationships with target constituencies. The primary focus is website, social media, and content strategy.

Q.  Thanks, Jill.  What is one little known fact about you that you would like to share with our readers?

Jill: My dad is the only person in his family who was born in the US. I believe that the dynamics of his family give me valuable perspective into communicating across languages, cultures and generations.

Q.  In today’s multicultural world, I can see that can be a wonderful advantage. Thank you for sharing that.  Now, would you list three words that best describe you and tell us a little bit about why you chose them.  

Jill:  Sincere – I want to help and do the best for everyone who I know.  Joyful – I am blessed in both my personal and professional life. Efficient – I have been asked so many times “how do you get all that done?,” that I just embrace the label.

Q:  Jill, I have known you for a while, and I see all three qualities when I work with you.  Great choices.  Now, why do you enjoy working with small businesses?

Jill:  I like to work with decision makers who can make things happen. In small businesses, I get to work with those kinds of people all the time.

Small business owners are determined and focused. They don’t waste any resources – time or money. I know when I deliver something to a small business that the work is valued and will be used.  That also lets me see the value of my work and measure results for my clients.

Q:  I’m always interested in the “why.”  Tell us what ignited the spark in you to start your business?  How did it all come about?

Jill:  I have accumulated more than 30 years of experience working in a variety of organizations. I wanted to be able to share my expertise across a range of businesses. And, frankly, I was tired of working for bad bosses who I couldn’t fire.

As the owner of my own business I get to pick my clients and projects. I select clients who are passionate about their work and pick projects that allow me to apply my expertise in new ways. I learn new things all the time and that keeps me energized.

Q:  What is one entrepreneurial trait you like to see in clients you work with?

Jill:  I like to work with entrepreneurs who are focused on a goal. That focus lets me develop marketing and communication strategies to get them there. It is really hard to hit a moving target, so I really appreciate clients who have a strong sense of what they want to accomplish.

Q:  I would love you to share your insight with our readers.  If you could give small business owners, specifically startups, your top three tips, what would they be?

Jill:  Tip 1: You can’t be a little bit in business. (Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant.) You must be all in, dedicated to your business, or you are just wasting time. You can’t be “having a business” and looking for full time employment or working another full-time job.

Tip 2: Build a community. Some people call them trusted advisors, others call them the board of advisors. Whatever you call them, have a group of people who are go to resources for you as a business owner. Make connections with people who overlap your skills as well as people who have skills that you lack. You want a robust team that you can tap to navigate whatever challenges come your way.

Tip 3: Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t overestimate what’s needed to be successful. I was talking to someone just the other day who had a business idea but was afraid of the unknowns. Finally, one day someone in the industry told him, “Just do it. It’s not magical.” We are all in a continuous process of figuring things out. To make progress you have to start. Just do it!

Q:  Conversely, will you share the top three mistakes you have seen startups make? We can all learn a lot by understanding the pitfalls of others.  

Jill:  Mistake 1: Not setting/ignoring your limits. Know how much you can invest in your business without jeopardizing your lifestyle, how many hours you are willing to devote, etc. Only you can determine the right boundaries. Once you set them, stick to them. If you don’t you will be unhappy and potentially broke. Now that’s pain!

Mistake 2: Being all things to all people. Let me help here: you can’t. The more you can focus on what you are doing and who you are serving, the greater the chance your business will succeed. There are a zillion resources and opportunities out there. You will know which ones are worthwhile if you can determine which ones align with your focus.

Mistake 3: All work and no play. Be sure to build some fun into your days! Don’t let guilt prevent you from enjoying a sunny afternoon or catching a movie in the middle of the day. When you have fun you rejuvenate the energy you bring to your business.

Q:  Great insight, Jill. Thank you for sharing those tips and challenges with our readers.  Now, what is next for you and your company?

Jill:  I continue to refine my service offerings to get that optimal balance of bringing expertise to benefit each client and learning new things that help me to grow. I have set goals for incremental year-over-year increases and will continue that until I reach my targets for both work hours and income.

Q:  What one book/blog would you recommend small business owners read?

Jill:  I have been blogging for several years about marketing and communication topics. My goal is to offer quick reads that can help readers no matter what role or business they have. My stats show that articles I wrote years ago are still helpful today, so I know that am building a valuable resource: https://kurtzdigitalstrategy.com/communication-in-a-web-saturated-world/

Q:  Jill, thank you again for sharing your time and expertise with our readers.  If our readers would like to get in touch with you, how can they best do that? 

Jill:  Please visit my website and contact me using whatever method works best for you! https://kurtzdigitalstrategy.com/

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Ask the Experts Interviews Series:  In this series we are reaching out to small business professionals across the nation from various disciplines and interviewing them about how they serve the small business community, asking for their wisdom gained through working with small businesses.  Our goal?  To educate entrepreneurs about small business, help them learn best practices, hopefully avoid mistakes, learn how to choose the right professional to hire, and in general educate our readers on topics they may not have thought of.  Do you have a suggestion for us?  Let us know at [email protected]  We welcome your suggestions and comments!

About Robin Suomi, MBA,  Founder of Startup to Growth, LLC.  Success is rarely accidental. My passion is helping my small business clients move from concept through growth (many clients surpassing $1M in sales), unleashing their vitality, innovation and creativity as they launch or grow their successful and sustainable companies according to their vision. For over 10 years I have helped thousands of small business owners launch and grow their dreams through 1-1 and group small business coaching, technical small business consulting, mastermind groups, business plan classes, and other educational programs. As an adjunct professor, I taught Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management and Business 101 courses. Our services at Startup to Growth, LLC are delivered online and in-person.

In July of 2017 I am launching How to Start A Business: Your Successful Launch, an online course, which will educate potential small business owners about starting their own business. It will be a refresher course for the rest of us!

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