The idea that, “if you want something done well, do it yourself,” is probably a mantra that you live by, but as your business continues to grow, back office support is an essential part of sustainable scaling. You need to set that mantra aside and teach someone else how to run your systems…
Moving from running the show on your own and handing the reins over to someone that you have vetted can still be nerve-wracking.
Intimidating though this situation may be, it can be handled — and it can be handled extremely well.
Metrics are your friend
“What matters, gets measured,” someone said that. A lot of people are surprised at just how long certain tasks take them to complete. You have to document this for a very important reason — when you hand it over to someone else, you have to multiply that time by 2.
These metrics will go hand-in-hand with your budget as you begin to figure out what’s most affordable to outsource.
When you absentmindedly go about your day, teaching someone how to complete certain tasks will need to be simplified. The best way to do that is to record your screen using screen-capture tools that are either built into your computer or downloading free tools.
Where can you start your outsourcing journey in order to maximize efficiency?
Start with a remote personal assistant, aka Virtual Assistant (VA). No matter your scenario or the current state of your business, when it comes to getting started, there’s nothing like back office support in the form of business process outsourcing.
Your very first VA marks the moment when you learn to properly communicate your business’ needs and your expectations as a business owner.
The initial phase is quite time-consuming, as you gather metrics and create resources (like screen recordings), however, it’s a fantastic litmus test for handing work over to future employees.
With your virtual assistant in tow, you will be able to get a taste of management and have your basics covered in less than one month, costing between $100 and $400. A lot of entrepreneurs might look at it simply as an expense, however, it’s moreso an investment with compounding returns. Through proper training and onboarding, your VA will pay back that initial investment in under 3-weeks!
Your goal when hiring anyone should be to free up your time so that you can pursue tasks, projects or clients that are more valuable. It makes no sense to be stuck doing $15 /hour tasks when your VA could do them extremely well without getting bored, while you focus on the $500 /hour tasks. Being replaced by your VA shouldn’t be a fear, it should be a focus!
What sort of tasks should be outsourced to maximize efficiency?
In the wise words of Tim Ferriss,
“Unless something is well-defined and important, no one should do it.”
The key to successful outsourcing, be it back office support or business process outsourcing is to eliminate tasks before you delegate whatever is left over.
If it’s not your time that’s on the line, why should it matter? It should matter because while you’re not the one who is wasting time, you’re definitely wasting money by making your VA do something that shouldn’t be done by anyone.
For instance, while it might be popular for most founders to let their VAs read and answer their emails, it is, after all, an essential part of the back-office support, making your assistant read your emails isn’t an efficient use of time. There’s already Artificial Intelligence for that!
Through the clever use of email autoresponders and mail filters, you can already decrease a number of emails that anyone — both you and your VA have to attend to.
Secondly, your VA will not mind, but setting up meetings and conference calls in the early stages of your business shouldn’t be their concern. Meetings are not an effective use of time. Try to limit them. If you need to meet with someone, make sure that it has to do with making money first, and not about operational minutiae.
Cliff note #1: Whatever you delegate to your VA must be both time-consuming and necessary. If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense. Don’t waste your money and someone else’s time with the task. Eliminate it.
Cliff note #2: Let your assistant remember the dates that you don’t have to. Having someone else try to figure out what sort of gift your loved one would want for their birthday or on Christmas is the best part of being the boss. You don’t have to concern yourself with those tasks any longer.
But that’s not all that your VA is capable of. Most providers of back-office outsourcing services are also able to provide:
- Making online purchases on your behalf
- Facilitate the creation of legal documents
- Website maintenance (web design, publishing, uploading files) that doesn’t require a professional designer
- Monitoring, editing, and publishing comments for online discussions
- Proofreading and editing documents for spelling and formatting Online research for updating blogs
- Updating the database for Customer Relationship Management Software
- Managing recruitment processes updating invoices and receiving payments voicemail transcription, and other Human Resources functions.
When your solitary VA starts to become overwhelmed you can hire an additional VA to assist them, with your primary VA presiding over the new addition and reporting to you.
Back-office support isn’t all that your assistants can do still, they’re just as capable of finding your new customers as they are at keeping your customers happy. At the end of the day, no matter what well thought out task is outsourced and automated, your business will reap in efficiency from day one!