One of the most difficult & confusing aspects of business process outsourcing (BPO) is choosing the right tasks to outsource in the first place.
Not every process in your business is ripe for outsourcing, but if you can find the right tasks & delegate them to an offshore team, you can instantly boost profit margins (sometimes significantly) through savings on HR overhead. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong tasks, you won’t achieve your objectives, and you can find yourself paying out of pocket (sometimes significantly) for little to no desirable results.
Even if you’re an expert on how to outsource (and what providers, portals, and services you can use to do so) … you might not be an expert on choosing exactly what to outsource.
Which begs the question:
How exactly does one choose the right outsourcing tasks?
Well, to answer that, you’ll need to organize your potential tasks lists based on your GOALS & OBJECTIVES.
Objective-Based Outsourcing Guidelines
Do you want to…
Get More Customers?
Then you need to (obviously) focus on outsourcing marketing & sales tasks. The right marketing & sales tasks to outsource depends on your target audience (for more info on targeting the right audience, check out this post on building better lead lists).
For instance: do you make complex sales in the B2B marketplace?
Your outsourcing tasks should be focused on direct marketing & lead generation. Depending on your audience’s industry & company-size, you will probably be embarking on a campaign of targeted email marketing, telemarketing, and perhaps a bit of social media marketing and / or PPC marketing.
The goal is to affordably generate as many warm leads as possible for your inside sales teams to close. Of course, if you don’t have inside sales teams, you’ll obviously want to outsource this phone-sales task as well to ensure the leads aren’t just going to waste!
Or, perhaps you: sell a niche product or service to the B2C marketplace?
Depending on your individual transaction sizes & your client life-time values, you might be able to take a very similar, direct approach as recommended for the B2B sales (if a new client is worth quite a lot to your business) … or you might have to focus on digital branding & participation.
In that case, you’ll need to focus your outsourcing tasks on things like unique content creation, social media marketing, SEO, and specialized telemarketing to secure brand partnerships, marketing alliances, and other forms of cooperation with those who already have access to your target audience.
Improve Local Staff Output?
Then you need to focus on outsourcing any & all repetitive tasks that do not require your (or your local staff’s) physical presence. The easiest place to start with this is on administrative work. Particularly, you need to consider outsourcing things like:
- Web research
- Data entry
- Scheduling / calendar management (for yourself & your most expensive on-site employees)
- Bill paying / Accounts Payable
- Bill collection / Accounts Receivable
- Answering phones / directing calls / taking messages / etc (receptionist duties)
- Reading & responding to emails
- Digitizing, organizing, and archiving forms & documents
- Basic bookkeeping
Basically, if it involves writing, looking things up, taking down notes, or basic organizational details … you need to be outsourcing it. This will free up more of your time, and more of your expensive local staff’s time to focus on more “mission critical” business objectives. Plus, all of these tasks are generally simple & repetitive enough that any qualified Virtual Assistant (VA) will be able to easily handle them at the same level of output as you’re achieving locally (at a fraction of the cost).
The most important point to consider is simple: is this something that can be done significantly cheaper by an off-site worker … without sacrificing quality? Anytime the answer is yes, you will definitely benefit by outsourcing that process or task.
Get More Free Time
Similar in many ways to Improving Local Staff Output (since your local staff will be able to get more important work done in their “free” time), you need to focus on “outsourcing your life” — in the sense of delegating all tasks that do not require your physical presence or your direct participation. For instance, many business owners still pay their own bills, return their own phone calls & emails, and even still personally do their own research & data entry!
All of these tasks, plus an array of others, are totally unnecessary for the busy business person or professional. When it comes right down to it, you should be thinking of your Virtual Assistant (VA) & back-office staff as your fully equipped team of Personal Assistants. While they can’t run your local errands or clean up your home or office … they can do pretty much anything else your Personal Assistant (PA) would do. What’s even better is that for the cost of one part-time PA, you can probably hire 1 – 2 full-time Virtual Assistants.
The first step in determining what your VA(s) should be doing for you, in terms of getting you more free time, is to pinpoint exactly how you’re spending most of your time right now. Once you’ve determined how you are spending your own time, delegating tasks to your VA is as simple as making a list of that which doesn’t require your physical presence or your direct participation. Obviously, the few tasks listed above provide some guidelines, but here is a much more extensive list of potential VA tasks that will help free up more of your own time:
- Pay your bills
- Screen & return your calls
- Screen & reply to your emails
- Manage your personal calendar & schedule
- Send you email, text, and / or phone call reminders for important events
- “Shop around” for you (when you need to buy something major)
- Make reservations (for trips & restaurants)
- Help plan events
- Help apply for financing & loans
- Send greeting cards, “thank you” cards, and even holiday & birthday wishes
- Do your research
- Take notes for you
- Transcribe your audio memos (if you record “things to remember”)
- Much, much more…
Basically, as mentioned before, your VA(s) can handle any tasks that do not require your physical presence or direct participation. Beyond that, their day-to-day activities are only limited by your imagination! The most important thing to remember is this:
If you want to get more free time, all you need to do is pinpoint exactly where & how you are spending most of your time, then delegating anything that fits the criteria mentioned above.
Ultimately, there are significantly more reasons than the 3 listed above that you may want to outsource. However, those 3 above are by far the most common criteria we’ve found among business owners & decision makers looking to hiring a “virtual” (off-site / off-shore) staff. By now, you hopefully recognize that a well trained, well equipped outsourced team can complete any & all tasks that do not require someone’s physical presence.
If you have any thoughts or questions about the methods & objectives listed above, or about any other approach to outsourcing you’re considering, feel free to respond in the comments below, initiate a live chat (during business hours) … or to contact us directly. Our AdminBetter outsourcing experts are always happy to help, even if you are not (and never intend to be) our client.
Thanks for reading.