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Top tips and things to avoid when outsourcing to grow

I once described being a business leader or entrepreneur as being akin to a pinball. You know the game...the ball speeds out from the starting blocks and from that point until the game ends, the ball pings from one pillar to another. Sound familiar? It's why some decide they need outsourcing to grow.
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Sometimes, the sheer number of hat’s you wear on a daily basis in building and running a business can make you feel exhausted, and has your brain at the point of overload. But it helps to know that outsourcing to grow is an option.

For any business today agility is key, particularly when you’re growing. The last thing you want is to be chasing revenue every month just to cover overhead which seems to be going through the roof. It can be chicken and egg; do I recruit people to help me realise growth or deliver growth and the increased revenue to pay for the people. There is another way. Outsourcing to grow.

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Buying time, either on a one-off fee basis or a retained basis, from an outsourced partner is a strategy to have in your arsenal. There are individuals, businesses and organisations, specialising in HR, marketing, finance, health and safety, legal, accounting (the list is endless) who you can access and more importantly who can help set up systems and processes in those areas you need help.

But my first word of warning about outsourcing to grow. This should not be viewed as your abdication of responsibility but instead your delegation of responsibility. The expertise you’ve bought helps and supports you achieve your outcome by physically doing the work, but you still remain responsible for the final outcome.

My second word of warning is to find a partner that culturally fits with you and your business. Do your core values and behaviours align? Is there a connection? Hiring an outsourced partner should not be viewed any differently to hiring a new member of the team – will this person / company fit with your company? In doing so, the major problems become minor because you both speak the same language.

Having found your partner of choice and completed the necessary due diligence (background checks, references etc.) one particular point I would close out with them directly is key man risk. For example, if you bring in a local accountancy firm to complete your book keeping and accounts and they have only one partner, what happens when they go on holiday or get signed off sick? Who picks up their work? Ensure this basic but fundamental point is considered and included.

To ensure the relationship starts on the correct footing, be clear what you want with a detailed brief. Document the scope of work with deliverables and timescales, with both parties formally agreeing to them. Putting these simple but essential foundations in place will ensure you encounter no surprises later on.

Having set the foundations of the relationship, let them get to work but don’t forget them. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking “OK, XYZ is being looked after, I don’t need to think about that anymore”. Whilst you don’t need to think about doing XYZ, you still need to oversee it. Put simply, you will need to dip in and out, managing the relationship with regular communication, status updates, and performance metrics.

As you grow and scale up you can manage growth by turning the taps on and off as required. You deliver your growth agenda whilst remaining agile and lean as a business. And the hidden benefit…you’re growing and developing your mindset, skillset and toolset every day through the expertise around you.

Royston Guest is CEO of Pti-Worldwide and author of business growth book, Built to Grow. A proven time-tested formula full of practical strategies, tools and ideas into what it takes to build a truly high performing organization, which delivers accelerated, sustained, and profitable growth. 

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Real Business

As the champion of UK enterprise for 20 years, Real Business is the most-read SME website dedicated to high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. Through daily news, unique insight and invaluable guides we are an essential resource for thriving businesses.

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