Special Report: Outsourcing
Just as any good business takes regular inventory of its physical assets, it's equally important to assess your company's more intangible assets and liabilities. This is true whether you're a startup or a full-fledged, profitable business.If you're in the startup stage--and likely your company's only employee--then taking inventory of your company essentially means taking inventory of yourself. While it can be difficult to look inward and clearly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, this step will allow you to make better business decisions as you move forward and grow.
Point: Startups should outsource noncore functions.Each entrepreneur should focus on what he or she does best and outsource other duties to professionals, says David Zahn, president of StartUpBuilder.com and author of The Quintessential Guide to Using Consultants. "If you were hiring, it wouldn't be reasonable to ask the bookkeeper to also act as general counsel, so why would I assume that an owner is the most skilled person at any one niche? As a startup, I can't be expected to be the expert on every single aspect or facet [of the business]. I just need to be fluent in what the expert is doing." If you lack marketing expertise, for instance, it'll often be more expensive in the end to change your marketing than if you had hired a professional in the first place.
Q: Is outsourcing really a good way to grow my business?
A: Outsourcing has become a big deal in our economy. There are articles and books written on it all the time, and you can attend countless seminars and speeches on the subject. I just did a Google search on "outsourcing" and got 1,130,000 links. You can find a lot of information on this subject, and a lot of opinions on how to do it right or screw it up!One popular way this is described is that you should decide what you are good at and outsource everything else--i.e., focus your company on your core competency, and let someone else do the rest. That logic is sound in theory, and to a certain degree in practice, but like everything else you can take it too far. The key is to understand your business and its goals and decide how outsourcing might help you attain them.