How to effectively outsource tasks and make the most of your time
Running a business can be challenging and time-consuming, especially when you are trying to do everything on your own. But what if there was a way to take your business to the next level without burning yourself out? The solution is simple: outsourcing and building a virtual team!
Outsourcing is assigning tasks or functions that were previously done by in-house employees to an external company or individual. This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as to save time, and money, and to access specialized skills and expertise that may not be available in-house. With the rise of digital technologies, building a virtual team has become easier than ever.
A virtual team is a group of people who work together on a project or task but are in different geographic locations and communicate primarily through technology like video conferencing, instant messaging, and email. Rather than working in the same physical space, virtual team members work remotely and collaborate virtually to achieve their goals.
In this article, we will look at how you can effectively outsource tasks and build a virtual team that will help your business thrive. We will also give you some practical examples of how outsourcing can help your business, especially in Ghana. By the end of this article, you will clearly understand how outsourcing and building a virtual team can help you achieve more with less, grow your business, and take it to the next level.
But before you hand out tasks, there are a few things you need to know to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
Define your task
First, it is important to clearly define the tasks you want to outsource. Be specific and provide detailed instructions on what needs to be done and when. This will prevent any confusion or miscommunication down the line.
Find the right person
Next, you will need to find the right people for the job. There are many freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork where you can find highly skilled professionals in fields like graphic design, web development, content writing, architectural design, etc. You can also hire a virtual assistant from companies that specialize in providing virtual assistant services.
But be careful of scammers. It is always the “advance fee” fraud type. A genuine remote worker on Fiverr will do the work first and then send an invoice for payment. If it is the other way around, then that is a red flag. Once you find a person or company you will deal with, make sure you build a good relationship with them so that you do not have to change your remote team often.
You will end up giving a lot of confidential information to the person, so once you find a reliable person, value it. You will also explain the nature of your work, your folder structure, and other key details that will help the person do the best work and be reliable to stay longer.
Establish a clear line of communication.
Once you have found your virtual team members, it is important to establish clear lines of communication. Set up regular check-ins to ensure that tasks are being completed on time and to your satisfaction. Also, state the medium and time of communication. Once you go for a virtual assistant, you will probably work with someone in a different time zone. For example, I work with a few companies in California. That is a 7 – 8 hours time difference. That means 5 pm in California is midnight in Ghana.
Work-life balance is not specific to the in-house team alone. You establish that practice in your outsourced team, too. People give their best when their mind is at peace and know you care about them. It does not matter whether the person is in-house or out-house. Treat the person as a family and you will get the best from him or her.
I have gained a lot from building relationships beyond a virtual team, which has added value to my work. It opens more access to jobs and collaborative projects. This birthed other projects for me, such as the Creative Ground Project (SocialMercy.ngo); one of the largest lifestyle surveys (tiny.cc/lifestylestudy) in Ghana; and the first Online SHS in Ghana.
In short, make sure you have a good relationship with your virtual assistants. It helps. You will later realize there is a lot you can do together aside from the usual task you will need to be done.
What type of work can you outsource?
You could outsource the following tasks:
- Technology – Companies in the technology industry can outsource tasks such as programming, website development, and IT support. For example, a technology company may outsource the development of its mobile app to a team of programmers in another country.
- Manufacturing – Companies in the manufacturing industry can outsource tasks such as assembling, packaging, and distribution.
- Retail – Companies in the retail industry can outsource tasks such as customer service, inventory management, and data entry.
- Healthcare – Companies in the healthcare industry can outsource tasks such as medical billing, coding, and telemedicine.
- Finance – Companies in the finance sector can outsource tasks such as accounting, tax preparation, and financial analysis.
- Marketing – Companies in the marketing industry can outsource tasks such as content writing, graphic design, and social media management.
- Transportation – Companies in the transportation industry can outsource tasks such as logistics, fleet management, and supply chain management. For example, a transportation company may outsource the management of its fleet to a third-party logistics provider.
- Education – Companies in the education sector can outsource tasks such as online tutoring, curriculum development, and student support services. For example, a university may outsource its online tutoring to a company that specializes in this type of work.
- Real estate – Companies in the real estate industry can outsource tasks such as property management, rental management, and appraisal. For example, a property management company may outsource the maintenance of its properties to a third-party provider.
- Agriculture – Companies in the agriculture industry can outsource tasks such as crop management, livestock management, and food processing. For example, a farm may outsource the management of its crops to a third-party contractor.
In conclusion, outsourcing is a common practice across various industries as it allows companies to focus on their core competencies while getting other tasks done efficiently and cost-effectively. Companies should carefully evaluate their needs and choose the most appropriate outsourcing partner to ensure a successful outcome.
The writer is a Communications Team Member, IIPGH
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