Business building: Outsourcing, David Ricardo and you

You don’t have to do it all. Sometimes, it can feel that way. You have to hunt for the leads, make the appointments, close the sales and maintain the relationships. You also like to have control over things. You like to manage details about all the “stuff” happening in your business. 

Well, let it go. Let it go and prosper. Let me explain.

You have expertise in certain areas. That is why you are in business for yourself. You have a few things where you have A and A+ skills. You also have areas where you have B and B- skills. Then there are those others where you don’t do them well at all. Like many, your most productive time is spent connecting with prospects and customers online, through phone or in face-to-face meetings. That is where the bulk of your time should be. 

We all know the mantra. Okay, entrepreneurs all together now, repeat after me: “Do what you do best and hire the rest.” 

In today's economy you get paid for having a specific value that you bring to your customers. The more of that value you can provide the more your customers want to stay with you versus the competition. 

You get good at what you do well over and over. This is true whether you’re in business, practicing your golf swing, playing the piano or being in a relationship. When you detract from what you ought to be doing, you diffuse your efforts and end up with lots of B- activities rather than A or A+ activities.

So what does this have to do with your business? In a word, bunches!

Are you using outsourcing now? There are a number of services dedicated to helping businesses and busy people connect with wonderful providers of quality service around the world. The providers can help leverage your business into areas you can’t attain now. Think of those tasks that you are doing that others could do. If you hand off those tasks to others, you can focus on your core, more important functions. 

One service I use regularly is called oDesk (oDesk.com). They serve as a connector between con tractors and employers. You can use oDesk to find the ideal person for tasks like transcription, web design and maintenance, writing, lead generation and a host of other possibilities. I particularly like the way oDesk handles it when they do the proper vetting of both contractors and employers. They stand in the middle to make sure everyone does what they should. 

Outsourcing has been a buzzword for business for the past 10 years. It makes a lot of sense. It is often a lot more profitable not only to save money from hiring but also to have expertise that can adjust and fit into your firm as needed. 

David Ricardo (1772-1823) was an economist who advocated the idea of “comparative advantage.” This concept from first year Econ class, says you should do what you can do best and hire others to do the rest. That hiring in today’s market should be contractors in most cases, not employees. If you manage the relationships properly, you can get as much dedication from contractors as you would from long-term employees. I'm doing it already and it is a good business decision. 

In today's fast-paced Internet world, you have to rethink what you do and what you shouldn’t do everyday. I keep Mike McKinley’s quote (above) in mind to regularly ask if I’m doing what I should do. 

I think David Ricardo would be proud.

Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a regular columnist for the American City Business Journals and can be reached at 407-363-0505 or by e-mail at terry@terrybrock.com.

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