Outsourcing: Making Smart Hiring Choices
"Delegate, outsource, build a team."
It’s the message drilled into so many entrepreneurs who are ready to grow
big. But what happens when the team you have is causing you to spend
too much time micro-managing – and you’ve literally become an
It’s hard to be the focused on achieving your big vision and making
money when you keep getting pulled down into the weeds. Hiring other
people to help offset your weaknesses is supposed to help you grow, not
make you resent having people to delegate and outsource to.
So what the heck went wrong?
Oftentimes it starts when you are ready to grow. Think about what’s
happened at your business over the last few years. You start out, you have
a certain goal or mission, and you know you have a certain budget to
invest in your growth, so you hire someone who meets your budget and
can do a satisfactory job of completing the tasks.
Then it happens.
You take off at lightning speed – orders fly in, new programs are created
that serve your high-end marketplace, customer service challenges arise
more frequently, the level of detail management required has increased
and your expectations have escalated to a whole new level.
Did your team’s approach change with the evolution of the role?
Did your infrastructure shift to handle the expansion?
Did your systems and procedures progress with the increase in demand and quality?
Well, when I’m working with an entrepreneur’s business as their coach, I
evaluate many different parts of the process to uncover the real problem.
Often it boils down to one of four areas (or a combination of them):
1. The skills and competencies of the team don’t match the role as it evolves.
If you experience a lot of breakdowns, miscommunications, or a regular
inability to complete the task on time, and as the saying goes, you may be
trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip.
You can’t expect someone whose is new to internet marketing to be a
whiz at getting savvy squeeze pages up in a day. It’s an unrealistic
expectation. Often when we outsource and delegate tasks in the beginning
we hire for the current needs versus hiring someone who has the ability to
expand and grow as you do.
This issue can be resolved if both parties are willing to identify the gaps
and create a plan to increase the team members skills.
ACTION: Educate your team on your new vision and how the role will change in order to achieve new goals. Meet with each team member to decide if they are willing/able to fulfill new role.
2. The systems, procedures and technology necessary to perform at optimum speed are not up to date, creating tension and frustration for the person responsible.
For three years we knew we had a poor system for managing customer
purchases and lead follow-up. But the investment and time it would take
to fix the problem kept it on the back burner.
This year we knew to make the leap we desired we’d have to bite the
bullet and make it happen. The result is less duplication of effort and more
marketing efficiency. Not having the ideal CRM system over the years
caused so much frustration, angst and breakdown between my fast-paced
team that the cost of NOT upgrading the system became too great.
ACTION: Assess areas of breakdown, frustration or inefficiency. Invite your team to share their insights too. Then make a list of what needs to be upgraded and prioritize based on budget, time and cost. Don’t forget to evaluate the cost to NOT upgrade as well…
3. The contractor or employee being delegated to does not have the habits and behaviors necessary to sustain growth with the new role.
A heart-breaking moment is when the entrepreneur recognizes that their
breakneck pace cannot be sustained by someone on their team. Or, when
after repeated breakdowns, we finally realize the reason why certain tasks
are always late is because the person doing them is not a good time
manager or is distracted with multiple priorities and can’t focus well.
The good news is that habits can be changed, if the team member is
willing. I’ve found that just like us, our support teams are bombarded with
requests, changes and conflicting priorities so creating a new system to
handle time management can often resolve the problem.
It’s important to create a time frame in which the necessary changes must
take place, then be willing to end your working relationship if they can’t
make the shift. In order to grow you must have a team that can keep up.
Keep in mind – if one person in the equation is not happy, then it’s not a
win-win and neither of you will be happy over the long run.
4. The preferences, needs or attitude of the team
member are not aligned with the business today.
A client of mine had a major breakthrough in my Virtual Team Building
TeleBootCamp when she recognized that she had hired an online business
manager (OBM) whose vision for himself was being a well-known
internet marketing super-star.
When she finally realized that, for the level of growth she was
experiencing, she needed full-time contractors dedicated to HER vision,
she breathed a huge sigh of relief and let the OBM go.
Another client was struggling with an intern straight out of college who
was bright and promising but routinely was confused and overwhelmed
by trying to take on more responsibility. After probing through the
diagnostics, we uncovered the intern really wanted to be on the road in
more of a sales job vs. being an admin type person.
You can’t change someone else’s preferences, needs or attitude – and if
their focus is not in alignment with yours, then it may be best to let them
go. Using this four step diagnostic tool will help you separate your
emotions from the facts.
Many of us become friends and grow attached emotionally to our support
team (that’s quite natural) but you have to remember – you run a
If the team member is not a positive impact to the bottom line, you can’t
afford to continue to invest in them. As this excellent unknown
contributor has said in this quote, “If you think hiring professionals is
expensive, try hiring amateurs!”
It’s our job as entrepreneurs to have the best talent we can invest in to
propel our mission forward!