Episode 98: What Tasks to Outsource in your Business? with Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta

Hello everybody, and welcome to Grow Your Business podcast. I am really excited to be able to rebrand this particular podcast that almost 100 episodes in, we are moving it away from AskShivani to Grow Your Business, because really this podcast is about helping small and medium businesses grow so that they can achieve all the results when it comes to their people, their profits and their processes.

The topic that I want to speak about today is a topic that has been spoken about for many decades, at least two and a half, three decades, which is what do you outsource? And what do you not outsource in your business? And the key thing that I want to do is I started my business 20 years ago. And this has been a question a different seminars I've been to, I recently went to a half a day workshop, and the same question was asked, I've had many business coaches and mentors over the last 20 years in business. And again, the same question gets asked and as a business coach, I asked that question of the people that I coach, the question is, what do you outsource and what you don't, there are some people and some people that believe that, you know, you outsource absolutely everything and you do one or two things. But then it's often not very practical. You know, unless your business is really starting to hit that one and a half, $2 million type revenue, to be able to outsource everything. And when you don't have perhaps the cash and the funds coming in, and you're wanting to be able to grow your business and you need that cash injection to do other things. There are certain strategic parts that you want to be able to outsource. But there's others it doesn't make sense to.

So, I always think about the sourcing as a bit of a ladder that you're trying to climb. And in that ladder, what you want to do is look at what are the key things now that are really bogging me down. And I've got my wonderful assistant today who is recording this podcast, let me share you with my story. When I first started recording podcasts.

I did the first one and then I got stuck. I didn't record another podcast for a couple of months. And the reason was that the idea of not only finding a guest or doing a solo session and a podcast like today, but to be able to do the preparation to get in contact with people to do the research. That was one thing, then there was the part of obviously recording it and editing it. But then there was the social tab, then it was the social media around then it was that there's quite a few components in terms of being able to put a podcast in, we also use a platform to be able to transcribe it. So, if there are people that want to listen to it, we also put it onto YouTube. So, we take that same part of a podcast and put it through very many channels. One absolute thing, which I'll do a separate podcast recording of is the fact that you want to maximize you want to do things once and use it many times. And that's what we do with our podcast.

But the idea of doing so many different things. And the podcast really was challenging for me. Because it was becoming a bottleneck for me the idea of editing the idea of uploading podcasts onto apple and Spotify, the website became a burden for me. And what I did as a result of it, well, I think nothing, I decided that it was easier just not to do anything rather than do it. So, in those cases, when you know that something is going to be very important for your brand and your business. For me, podcasting, getting guest experts in around small to medium businesses, having my voice and my experts and sort of my thought leadership and sharing that with you is really, super important. And so, one of the things that I wanted to be able to do is to say, how do I outsource the parts that I don't love? Do I really want somebody else recording it? No, I want it to be my voice. I want it to be the connections I come across on the guests I come across. But what I don't want to do is do all of those extra things that are involved.

And then I went about searching and asking people, what were ways that you could do that. One of the best themes I think, as a small or medium sized business owner you can do is to talk to other business owners, not just consultants, not just coaches, you want to talk to people that actually do this on a day-to-day basis and ask them what do they do for that particular area. And let me just stick to the topic of podcasts for a moment. One of the things that came across after speaking to four or five people about podcasts, who had had 100 plus episodes was to say, how do you do and what works and what doesn't. And the learnings that came out of that was trying batch them, don't do them all over the place, batch them into and so we now record because we want to release something every week. One of the things we do is we batch them and put them into a monthly day. And then we record all our podcasts and then release them on a weekly basis.

So, what I did was by hiring a virtual assistant to help me overcome all the bottlenecks are the things that are really holding me back from doing it. That is a place to start when you want to outsource. So, one of the best things you can do is to be able to make a list of all the different tasks you do, just grab an Excel spreadsheet. And if you want a copy of mine, please just email me to [email protected] I'd be so happy to email you a list of the basic tasks that every small and medium business owner needs to do. And you can take that template and you can then against that start to be able to say, what do I do? Now, if you're in startup phase, and often even I find people even after 10 years in business, you might be more of a solopreneur. So, it may be you by yourself running your business and probably doing it very well. So, in that case, your name is going to be against a lot of different tasks. In the next column, you're going to have your initials or your first names across a lot of them.

This is what you start to do when you want to start growing your business, you want to be able to say okay, let's say there are 60 things on the tasks, all the different little things you do that might be recording a podcast, that might be client meetings that might be doing the proposals that might be doing the delivery of the proposals that might be maintaining your website that might be doing your marketing, that might be you know, all the different components that you do, you literally have a list and almost look at your diary, look at the way that you spend your time and you want to have that task. So that's your first job is to have that inner column. If you get started, as I said, shout out. The second thing you want to do is put your name in it. And the next thing that again, as I said, if you're a solopreneur or a startup or you've got you know, perhaps only one staff member, etc, you might find that your name is next to all of them. Now what we want to do is we want to start to look at your goals, what are your goals and aspirations for your business. So if you're doing $100,000 a year, and you want to grow it to $500,000 a year and you want to multiply that, then what we need to do is we need to work out ways that earn you money, and what's going to earn you money, what you want to do more off, and what needs to be done but isn't going to directly earn you money, we want to then start to look at outsourcing.

So, for example, podcasting doesn't make me direct money, but it certainly helps my brand. It certainly helps me get connected to certain future clients. It also helps me get the message and as I said, the expertise and thought leadership out. So for you, what is it that actually makes you money? Is it the fact if you're an accountant and you're running your own business? Is it actually doing say for example, you do tax returns? Or you know, if you're a financial advisor is the actual client meetings that you do? If you're in marketing? Is it the client meetings that help you the more people you meet? Are you the brand maker that goes and gets all that work? And what are all the other tasks that we need to look at. So, we want to start outsourcing is to look at the things that give you what are called generally, the low payoff activities or for an abbreviation, not that I'm a big fan of acronyms. LPA are one of the lowest form of activities that you currently do, that don't add a lot of dollar value, can't put a direct dollar on it. But if you weren't doing that, even if somebody couldn't do it quite as well as you, but the fact that they could do it that would clear your diary up, so that you would have some space and time to be able to create more revenue generation things. So, one of the things that you want to write, for example, let's say you have 25 staff, and one of the things that you're not getting to do is you're not actually getting to spend enough time with your people, particularly your top three or four leaders. But even the next level down, and people is really important part and you're actually very good at people. And when you do people, staff, when you engage with your people, when you spend time with your people, when you're doing coaching with some of your people, your people stay, they stay become happier, they're more productive. So you know, for example, when you spend a lot of time with your staff and your employees, that they are happier when you do it. So that becomes a very high paying activity or an HPA really in your business that you want to do. So then when you're looking at list, you want to just then be able to say, well, what are some of the things I'm doing that are not that important, and it might be doing contracts, or it might be, you know, a bunch of other things so that you've got more space and time rather than just adding more and more time in your diary to do the activities, where you can then start to say - fantastic. I have now got time to be able to spend with my staff.

So, the third column is you've probably got the hang of it. Now the first column is all of your tasks. The second is who's doing it, there may be your initials or your name next to it, it may be one of your staff members. And for some of the people that are listening to run medium sized business, they might have three or 400 staff in their in their businesses. So, you want to have some names for the key leaders initials or names into that second column. And the third thing you want to do in that third column is literally written anything next to your name. And you could do this for other people in your team as well. But just for you to start off with, we can always cascade it down. But the first thing that you want to be able to do is to write in there, is it an LPA? Or is it a low activity or a medium or a high, and you might just use LMH, like low, medium high to be able to write it. You might write low paying activity LPA, or HPA, whatever format you want to use, but you want to literally write them. So that you've got a really good understanding of the end of that spreadsheet. And I'm not talking, this is going to take you days, or weeks, I'm talking about this is literally going to take you, I'm hoping in about 90 minutes to two-hour session. So, it's literally just clearing your diary for 90 minutes starting to just list down all the tasks, you can always add to it, if you miss something, writing down the initials next to it, and then writing LPA.

So, the first place you want to outsource and I want to put some science into it. It's not about stuff you don't enjoy. It's really about saying what are the low paying activities, and sometimes they're related to people. Sometimes your high-performance activities are related to people. And you also want to look at what makes you more money, what generates you more revenue, what generates you more profit, if you didn't do that, where is the LPA in there. And you also then want to start to look at certain processes. So for example, that I shared with you at the start of this podcast, you know, editing a podcast, uploading a podcast, making sure there's a social time making coming up with the guests. All of that, for me, I'm not very good at it. And the second thing is having a VA, like the one who's recording this podcast today is fantastic, because that is an LPA for me, but it's a high output for the business. So, I want to be able to create them, I want to be able to do them each month that I want to be able to do them fast. So by having that those three columns, then what one of the things you can start to do is say, let's say out of the 60 items that I came up with as a just a made up number, let's say there are 25 items in there that are low performing, they don't add much value or you don't add much value, somebody will add value to it, but you don't add much value to it as a business owner, what you want to then start to say is in the in the next column after that, you start to say, okay, well, if I outsource that, if I outsourced that to Fiverr, right, I’ve done a lot, which you can get most things done for $5. Or you outsource that through a company in terms of virtual assistants in the Philippines or India, or one of the countries where the labor costs are much lower and much more cost effective for your business. You're gonna say actually no, Shivani I can't do any of this stuff overseas, I actually need to hire somebody part time to be able to do that here. Great. Well, who would be the cheapest person? Can you get a uni student? Or can you post it on some of the local ads? Or can you post it on set. And for some of you, it might be local, I can get a number of those activities done with a permanent part time or full-time person. Great. So, what you want to do is you want to start then looking at the things that are low, and start saying, If I outsource that, roughly, what would it cost me?

Now if you want some numbers, always just shout out, shoot me an email to [email protected] and I'd be so be able to answer that my business is https://www.askshivani.com/ ask me so many questions, if that helps you. But one of the things I want you to do is just start to get a rough number. So for example, when you say that, you're going to outsource some of your diary management and that might say, let's say an hour a day. And let's say you're going to outsource it. And you can outsource this for $15 an hour. So that'd become $15 a day, if you've got an hour a day. So, then you want to be able to say okay, well, that's $75 a week. So if I outsource that, then $75 a week. But by having five hours clear in my diary, or maybe I'm spending more time on it because it's open and it distracts me as well away from my HPA. So, what if I looked at outsourcing that part? And could I generate, I always think of a multiple of two or three, could I generate double that, could generate $150 or $225 worth of value in that? And the answer almost all of the time is yes, you can.

So that's where you want to start, you don't want to try and outsource, you know, here's out of the 25 items, I'm gonna outsource all of them, you want to start off with the one that somebody else could do a pretty well and maybe better than you. You know, if I did all my podcasts, I can tell you I would not as good as my system. Because she's much more faster at it. She's much more dedicated, she understands the tech of that a lot better than I do. And sometimes it might not be as good depending on what source what topic that you're trying to outsource. It might be a little bit different. But what you want to do is to be able to say okay, let me just start off with these three things. find either a virtual assistant company that can help me or find somebody else if you've got some connections already and see for outsource that, start creating a little bit of space and time in my diary, and then let's start doing the high performing activities.

The other book that I wanted to recommend to you there are many fantastic books and again productivity improvement. Outsourcing has been something that's been written for about a very, very long time and questioned all the time. But one of the I guess the pioneers in that and the book that came out was by Tim Ferriss on “The Four Hour a Week”. If you have a look at it, there's a number of great resources in them. But also, he talks about the fact that you know, live anywhere, do anything and work from anywhere. Now, that model may or may not work for the type of business, particularly if you've got some frontline. But it's a really good resource book to be able to say, well, look, that part doesn't apply to me. But this little part does, I definitely can do this part. And I could probably do that really well. And one of the things that I can do is start to implement two or three things if you read a book, and I think you've got one or two great ideas out of it. Great. Let's implement those two or three big ideas. And let's do them consistently, so that you and your business can grow. And you are a little bit less stressed. And you are making more money and you're enjoying your business and the hard work and the risks that you take in terms of creating what you want to do in life and creating the life that you deserve. If you have got any questions, I'm always around to be able to ask.

Thank you for listening today. We'd love if you could rate the podcast. And let me know if you've got other questions on topics that you would love to be able to have on this podcast that you have in your businesses, around your people and profit and processes. And let me put some thoughts together and be able to then share with you some experiences and wisdom that I have or be able to bring some experience and wisdom of other guests on there. Have a great day.