Business owners juggle a myriad of responsibilities on any given day. When facing a mile-long to-do list to finish in a limited timeframe, leaders may consider outsourcing some of their short- and long-term projects.
While this can be helpful in lightening the workload, it’s prudent to carefully consider which tasks get outsourced and which tasks stay in-house. Handing over the reins on the wrong project can potentially cost valuable time, money and customer satisfaction—creating more work and more problems in the long run.
If you’re not sure whether you should outsource that task, ask yourself these 16 questions first, as shared by the members of Forbes Business Council.
1. Do We Do This Single Thing Best?
Think about whether you do this single thing better than anyone else. In an age where specialists exist for nearly every outsourced responsibility, business owners must abide by the principle of “do what you do best and outsource the rest.” Being disciplined with regard to this is critical, or else you can rapidly become overwhelmed doing the activities that you’re not good at and not focusing on what makes you special. – Colin Darretta, Innovation Department
2. Is It Worth The Value Of My Time?
When considering whether to outsource a task, you should ask yourself the value of your time and whether it’s worth spending time on that task. This is incredibly important for prioritizing and giving you clarity. Sure, I can write copy for that email campaign. But if my time is valued at a much higher rate than the cost of outsourcing this activity, it’s much more clear where I should spend my time. – Cindy Brummer, Standard Beagle Studio
3. Will This Affect My Brand?
In a worst-case scenario, will this affect your brand? Issues like efficiency, cost, savings and capacity can be resolved in myriad ways. The impact of a poor decision on those categories can be fairly easily repaired. Damage to the brand has long and expensive consequences. – Hilmon Sorey, ClozeLoop
4. How Will It Impact Our Ability To Reach Goals?
Will your ability to reach your goals be impacted if you outsourced this task. If the answer is that the internal team will be able to focus on high-impact priorities, then outsourcing makes a lot of sense. If outsourcing introduces material risk(s) that could delay progress toward goals, then keeping it in-house is smart. – Cory Bray, ClozeLoop
5. Will Quality Be Maintained?
The decision to outsource is often a cost-driven one, but history has shown that it is difficult for any company or industry to maintain an advantage purely on the basis of being the lowest cost alternative. Companies should ensure their quality and delivery of service can be adequately maintained. They should also consider the positive implications of hiring locally before outsourcing. – Suraj Gupta, Rogue Insight Capital Ltd.
6. Do We Have The Talent And Expertise Right Now?
One question that should be asked to determine if one should outsource is, “Do we have the talent and expertise to perform this task at the highest levels of agility and quality needed to meet the timeline and priorities we have set?” This question is helpful, as it asks not only whether you have the expertise and bench of talent for the task, but whether your talent has the time. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.
7. Will Outsourcing Provide A Better Customer Experience?
The question has to be, “Will outsourcing provide a better experience for my customer?” Outsourcing many times provides access to a wide array of skills and solutions that will augment and enhance the current business model. When our customers’ experience is always the priority, the question becomes easy. – Chris Adams, Ellis Adams Group
8. Would You Pay Yourself The Hourly Rate?
What is a typical hourly rate for this task, and would you pay yourself that rate to do it? The reason I like this question is that it illuminates the low-value tasks that you really shouldn’t be doing as a business owner. If it’s something that can be bought for $20/hour—and you personally are worth way more than that—then it’s a prime candidate to be outsourced. – Kevin Namaky, Gurulocity Brand Management Institute
9. Do We Enjoy The Task And Can It Be Done By Someone Else?
My team and I are pulled in infinite directions at any given moment. To determine what to outsource, I use a chart that includes tasks my team and I enjoy doing and will help us grow professionally, draining tasks we don’t enjoy doing and tasks that can only be effectively accomplished from within. Tasks from categories one and three stay in-house! – Sharon Estroff, Challenge Island
10. Can Someone Else Do This Better?
Can someone else do this faster, better and more objectively than I? Many times we are too close to our work to be effective, especially if we are dealing with a new audience of which we’re not as familiar. I am riveted on growing as a human and a leader, so as I evolve, it’s only natural to delegate more of the things that keep me working in my life/business, as opposed to working on my life/business. – Alyson Dutch, Brown + Dutch PR, Inc.
11. Is Our Time Better Spent Elsewhere?
I often ask, “Are we the best people to do this, or is our time better spent doing something else?” If not, then we outsource it! Same goes for setting up the duties and responsibilities of executives—many times, an assistant is much better than I am at tasks that are important, but not something that only I can do. – Scott Ford, California Builder Services
12. Will My Customer Experience Change?
There is one question that we must ask ourselves before outsourcing any task: “Will my customer experience change as a result of this decision?” Our customer journey and the way they perceive our company and our coworkers is priceless in today’s rapid and distracted life. This question is helpful because if our customers—the ones that pay our salaries—are disturbed, then we know the answer. – Brandon Pena, 787 Coffee
13. Can I Do This In 60 Days?
Determine whether you can perform this task within 60 days. If I can’t perform this task, then outsourcing is a great solution to completing an important task. For example, if a business is looking to reduce costs and needs to analyze historical data and contracts to uncover opportunities, this will take time. If too much time goes by, there are lost financial opportunities by not completing this task. – Lisa Miller, VIE Healthcare Consulting
14. Is The Task Repeated And Repetitive?
Is the task a repeated and repetitive process inside your business? If it is, then it should either be automated or outsourced. This frees up the business owner to focus on projects, which are one-off items (usually sales and marketing projects) that require the business owner’s attention. – Lisa Laing, The Uncomplicate
15. Does It Provide Real Customer Value?
Is the task one that provides real value to end customers? If so, it should not be outsourced. If it isn’t, it may be outsourced depending on a number of factors, including labor costs and the capability of the company to effectively outsource various functions. Focusing on value to the end customer is helpful because it avoids the far murkier debate of whether the function is a core competency. – Mark Warnquist, Mark Warnquist
16. Does It Need To Be Done At All?
Does this task need to be done at all? Whenever it’s time to add a team member, it’s also a great time to evaluate if the task needs to be done at all. Is there a new piece of technology that can automate the execution of the task? Is there a new process that has made this one redundant? If the answer is yes, then there is no need for the task to be outsourced—or done at all, for that matter. – Nneka Unachukwu, EntreMD