Outsourcing. We all do it. From accounts to IT, we call in the experts when we don’t have the knowhow or time to get something done ourselves. After all, none of us can do it all. As an SME owner, outsourcing is a smart decision – it frees you up to focus your energy on the areas you’re an expert in so you can grow your business.
But how do you decide what to outsource?
With tight timeframes and budget constraints vying for your attention, it can seem easier to try and handle all the business needs in-house. But this is a false economy. In the long run you’ll save money, time and hassle by outsourcing the areas that are always on your ‘To Do’ list, but never get done. Outsourcing to the experts means that you know it will get it done – faster and better.
Stop for a moment and think about what it is that is always at the back of your mind that you know you need to do, but you never get around to. Make a list of all the jobs, requirements and most importantly what you want to see at the end to feel it is successful.
It’s essential when you’re outsourcing that you are specific with your requirements and have realistic expectations that you have communicated clearly to your outsourced supplier. Like starting a new employee, you need to make sure you give your supplier some time and information to formally induct them into your business. The more they understand about your business and your style of working the better the results will be.
For those that can afford to outsource fully, marketing works best when it is continuous. Having a marketing team/ marketing manager working each month on your activities (even if it is just 1 – 2 days a month) provides continuity, builds momentum and gets the best results. From your perspective it also means you can approve the marketing plan upfront and your outsourced marketing team can get on with making it happen.
However, if your finances are more restricted, then I recommend getting a marketing expert to have a 1-2 hour workshop with you to develop a basic marketing plan and list of activities that you can implement yourself. Make yourself a calendar of marketing activities or ask them to make one for you stipulating when you will roll activities out each month so things get actioned.
To be accountable and have expert advice when you need it, pay for an hour or two each month to check in with your outsourced marketing manager for advice and guidance to keep your marketing on track and get results.
It’s important to note that you will only get out of any partnership what you put into it and this is definitely true when it comes to outsourcing. You will benefit most from investing some time upfront to work with your outsourced marketing team – after all, no one knows your business better than you! So take the time to review the work given back to you, add your input and work with your team in a timely fashion to keep your marketing activities on track.
Once you’ve taken the plunge and entered into an outsourced arrangement, remember, the success depends on you actioning the expert advice and strategy that you’ve been given. You’ve paid for expert advice so follow it and make outsourcing work for you!