Whether you run a corporation, an elaborate team, or a small business, one fact remains true: you only have 24 hours in a single day. And while you could be a hard worker, it’s not sustainable to work all hours of the day — even if you’ve gone this long wearing multiple hats. At some point, you’ll need to delegate and outsource work tasks as your business grows.
Say your business has finally reached a pivotal point where you can no longer do everything on your own. What’s next?
Well, if you (and your team) are finally reaching burnout, then it’s time to consider the power of outsourcing work to resources available to you: people and tools.
How to Work Smarter, Not Harder
Every business, large or small, has a long list of tasks and processes that are involved in running that business. Categorizing these tasks and processes is a great way to help you decide which ones to outsource and which ones you should keep doing. After all, we only have so many hours in a day. Not to mention, there are an incredible amount of qualified people, tools, and processes available at your fingertips. If you just look, you can find it and optimize your business output.
Bucket your tasks
If you really reflect on it, every task and process that exists within your business belongs in 1 of 4 categories:
1. Tasks that you should do: high-value tasks that you enjoy doing and you’re actually good at.
2. Tasks that you should not do: low-value tasks that are not the best use of your time, even if you’re good at them or you enjoy doing them. (These are the hardest ones to outsource!)
3. Tasks that you don’t want to do: tasks that you don’t like doing, but that someone else will.
4. Tasks that you can’t do: tasks that you lack the necessary knowledge and skills to do properly.
Once all tasks and processes are categorized in these 4 buckets, you have a clear plan to begin outsourcing to people (think, freelancers) and tools (think, automation software).
Fix the issue of time
Working smarter is all about trimming down workload to the right tasks. And frankly, it comes down to focus. By all means, you can try reducing workload, time blocking, and turning off Slack and email notifications. But if you don’t combat the issue of time (only 24 hours in a day), you’re still not working as efficiently as you can be.
Consider the impact of the pandemic
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally reshaped industries. From new and emerging tech tools to hiring and retaining top talent, investing in the right people and automation tools is key to the next stage of your business growth and future-proofing your business so that it’s ready to scale.
Common Areas to Outsource
So, how do you move forward from this pivotal point in your business? Well, it all comes down to knowing what to outsource and starting!
Here are some of the most popular and not to mention easy areas to outsource work within your business today.
Admin or back-office tasks can take up a huge amount of your time and attention, pulling you further away from your core business. Offload administrative tasks like emailing, phone calls, setting appointments, and creating schedules to a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are widely available and are often affordable, with a high return on investment (ROI) — in the form of time. A quick search on LinkedIn can help you quickly find one based on your city. Upwork, the world’s marketplace, also offers a massive network of freelancers including virtual assistants.
Nearly every business and its brand distribute written communications to their audiences. Whether it’s in the form of social media, blog posts, website copy, media releases, or marketing materials, copywriting is a highly skilled task that not everyone, unfortunately, is suited for.
Think back to the categories: am I good at it and do I enjoy doing it?
Because it’s an integral part of your business’s communication strategy, it’s important to outsource brand messaging and copywriting to anyone who’s skilled at effective writing — especially if it means getting a few hours back in your week!
Accounting and bookkeeping
Every small business owner needs to understand their financials. Staying on top of accounting functions involves everything from bookkeeping and expenses to managing taxes. When looking for the right software fit, it’s important that features like revenue and expense tracking, bank syncing, online invoicing, and automatic payment reminders are included in a software offering.
TrulySmall Accounting, for example, offers all of these features that streamline accounting and bookkeeping functions for solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who want a tool for both accounting and invoicing. Our award-winning accounting software eliminates manual bank imports and data entry and automates many accounting tasks that are so typical of eating up small business owners’ time.
When considering outsourcing, one notable feature is Auto Post. Once enabled, TrulySmall users allow the software to automatically categorize, reconcile, and post business transactions to the correct CRA/IRS-approved accounts. Through this feature, TrulySmall Accounting helps maximize your tax deductions by automatically sorting each transaction into a CRA/IRS-recognized category.
The bookkeeping process of bank reconciliation and categorizing could take hours each week — TrulySmall instead gives you back that time for other important business tasks!
Investing in digital invoicing tools is all about creating and sending invoices in seconds directly to your customers and making them easy to pay you. Lower the barrier to payment for your customers as you grow your business by investing in invoicing tools that prompt payment.
Did you know that 70% of global customers actually prefer electronic payment? Instead of invoicing using Microsoft Word, waiting for payment by cheque, or worse — forgetting to follow up on late payments, try an intuitive invoicing tool that puts convenience and automation first.
TrulySmall Invoices, for example, offers automatic reminders when clients read and pay your invoices. If your small business works with a global clientele, currencies can be a bit of a headache to deal with, but fear not! TrulySmall supports upwards of 135 currencies so based on preference, you can charge customers in their native currency and receive funds in your home currency. Finally, as you grow your clientele, a direct Pay Now button on your invoice is key to getting paid twice as fast. With TrulySmall Invoices, each invoice comes with a payment button, making payment flexible in whatever way that best serves them.
Outsource your blindspots
A common theme for business owners that reach a pivotal point in their career is the realization that there isn’t enough time in a day and you can’t do everything alone.
Whether it’s looking inwards to identify what you like doing or considering adopting new tools to streamline processes, one trick that always works is to tap into your own weaknesses. List out what you’re good at/what you’re bad at and tasks that energize you vs. depletes you of your energy and you can use that as a guiding post for where to start ‘working harder, not smarter’.
From one truly small business owner to another, good luck!