Working in a startup means you’re always trying to be as lean and mean as possible and getting everyone to do as much possible. Most people in startups end up doing multiple things for the startup at the same time. You may find yourself juggling product development, marketing, design, customer relationship management, analytics and probably many more things.
But there’s a limit to how good a developer can be at marketing and vice versa. Its important in a business to be focused on things that give you a competitive advantage and rigorously cut back on spending resources (which are anyway so scarce in a startup) on things you may not be good at.
Constantly spending manpower, time or energy on things you’re not that not good at is waste of resources that could be put to better use somewhere else.
So what do you do? Hire the right guys?
Nope! Did you forget that you are a startup!
Outsource! Why spend your precious time (which equals money) doing things you suck at when you can get someone to do it better and more efficiently.
Outsourcing helps you get a lot of unnecessary burdens out of the way so you can focus on your idea and do what you’re good at.
You should outsource anything that doesn’t give you a competitive advantage. Yes we know that you’re very computer savvy and accounting may seem like just entering numbers into a piece of software but is that really what you want to spend your time doing ? Also, why would want to spend days figuring out something that someone else can do in a matter of minutes.
Another reason for outsourcing: To avoid reinventing the wheel. You may want to incorporate a nice online store or payments into your website but is it a problem you want spend your time solving, especially when someone else has already solved it?
Why rebuild something someone has already created and perfected? You should rather pick up available solutions to such problems and focus on building things that make your business unique.
Stil not convinced?
Always remember that everyone has their strengths AND their weaknesses. If you’re not utilizing your strengths to their fullest your startup, you’re doing it wrong.
If i had to boil the reason down to one word, it would be FOCUS.
Outsourcing is a way to focus on what makes you awesome and cut out the rest.
Some words of caution though, it only useful to outsource when you HAVE something to outsource, you cant outsource everything from day one. Such a need does not occur for startups in a very early stage unless you have a severe lack of certain essential skills on your team.
Another very important thing to be wary of is outsourcing stuff that is central to your business. Never do this. This allows people to hijack your business and puts you out of control of your work.
If you want guidelines and tips to get you started on outsourcing, you could check out the following presentation:
And here’s another article from VentureBeat that sheds further light on mistakes you could make while outsourcing your work.
So what are your views about outsourcing? Have you tried it before or plan to do so?
Ps: Do checkout Inc42’s services for web startups at https://inc42.com/services. You might just find the right people to help you out in your startup!