I built our current business Company Shortcuts to a 300,000+ turnover within our first 18 months of starting, without a payroll and by solely using an outsourced team so we are proof that it can be done.
Building your culture when using a solely outsourced team (or a mix of both employees and outsourced support) can present it’s own challenges. I always focused on treating the team as one team, building the culture, whilst also respecting they were all self-employed as well. So for example, we still held internal team meetings (and weekly team meetings via virtual media), hosted an annual Christmas party, which we pick up the tab for and gave the team plenty of positive feedback and rewards. They all collaborate and communicate brilliantly together without me needing to facilitate every fine detail, they each had areas to report on (usually monthly) and I would share team success regularly but be sensitive in my choice of language for example saying things like, Well done everyone for our latest success and for all your continued loyalty and hard work, when Company Shortcuts continues to grow, all our respective businesses share in the reward .
Finally, there will come a time, where the cost of using outsourced support will be more expensive that taking on a new hire. Therefore once you reach this tipping point, then you should consider recruiting a new team member and bring some of those outsourced tasks back inhouse. Unless of course they are so specialized it makes sense to continue to use an expert supplier.
Remember: hire slowly and fire quickly. Don’t waste a moment of precious time on someone who you know on the first day is not going to make the grade.
Take time to plan your recruitment process and induct your new recruit thoroughly. Those first few precious hours and days will set the tone for that individuals performance ongoing.
Ultimately to grow a business, you absolutely have to surround yourself with people who are better than you, and continuously build an exceptional team who passionately deliver for your customer and against your business strategy.
However, in business today, you have more options than ever before as to how you up scale your people asset, building your talent as your business needs continue to scale and grow.
Nicola Cook is CEO of Company Shortcuts, an agency dedicated to excellence in business growth and leadership. Leading entrepreneurs Lara Morgan and Mike Claire will speak at their next Business Accelerator Event on 23rd September 2014. See http://www.companyshortcuts.com/businessaccelerator/ for more information.