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Share the Load – Knowing When to Outsource

| Colin Lee

Running a business requires many attributes – resilience, self-belief, drive, commitment and strong leadership skills.

But one attribute not often talked about is knowing when to let go and outsource.

If you’re a growing or new business, it can be hard to know when and how to let go and what to let go of. However, it can also be crucial to taking your business to the next level.

Founder and CEO of Inspire Realty, Colin Lee started his business.

Two years after setting up Inspire Realty Colin realised he needed to better manage not only his time but also his skills and that trying to do everything would ultimately hinder the growth of the company.

Colin was working a 70-hour week and juggling a multitude of tasks. His time and energy were being taken up on jobs that were keeping his business running but not growing or developing it.

“When you are doing low quality work that’s not the best use of your time that’s when you should look at outsourcing,” recommended Colin.

“I just got too busy and was doing tasks that weren’t the best use of my time.

“I can’t do brand building and sell my services and do all the administrative jobs at the same time.

Making the decision to outsource his executive assistant, CRM administrator and IT administrator has had a huge impact on the growth and productivity of Inspire Realty with his bottom line increasing by a whopping 30 per cent.

The first role Colin outsourced was an executive assistant.

“Having an executive assistant made my work smoother and systemised,” he explained.

“I didn’t have to do the mundane tasks and I was able to allocate more time to develop and grow the business.

Knowing how to manage outsourced staff was a learning curve for Colin and initially things didn’t go smoothly as he spent more time explaining tasks and smoothing out processes than he expected.

“The biggest mistake I made was not having any systems in place and I was running on the fly. There was no tracking of success or KPI. I had to let them go because I didn’t know what I wanted, and they therefore couldn’t fulfil what I wanted,” he explained.

“One of my coaches advised me to ensure I spelt out step by step what needed to be done. Writing out the process as you teach them is a good idea.”

He recommended having a list of all the tasks and roles you need filled and write a manual for procedures of what needs to be done.

“Streamline the process before you do it,” he stressed.

“Know what IT platforms you want them to be proficient in and be very specific about the level of efficiency you expect.

“It’s also critical to have a good project management and communication tool.”

Once these tools were implemented the systems and processes became more streamlined. Each person had an understanding of expectations and the tasks that were being worked on.

Now Colin said he can clearly track what his team has worked on and the number of hours it has taken. He is then able to analyse it and make changes, give feedback and improve systems, and provide training to fill in any knowledge gaps.

With a range of outsourcing companies in Australia and overseas, finding one was a matter of trial and error.

Eventually Colin sought the help of an HR company in Australia who screened his team overseas.

Colin said he likes to use companies in the Philippines because they speak English and are on a similar time zone to Australia. He stressed that they are paid a fair wage and provided with good opportunities.

He also uses an outsourcing company to outsource.

While outsourcing has boosted his company profits and growth, Colin warned that you shouldn’t look to outsource simply because you don’t enjoy doing a particular job. Maintaining profitability must remain the focus.

Link to the article can be found here.

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