• Lynn Tickner

Outsourcing: 7 Things to Keep in Mind

This post is approximately a 2 minute time investment.

Our washer and dryer were gifted to us soon after we got married, and since we just celebrated our 24th anniversary, well, that means our washer and dryer are 24 years old. Almost every time I do laundry I think to myself how thankful I am that this awesome pair of appliances is still going strong. Well, last week, our dryer conked out on us. (Has it been a while since you heard someone use the word conked?)

I will say that we didn't immediately start shopping for a new dryer. We're in the process now of testing different parts to see what's wrong in hopes of being able to replace the faulty part (many replacement parts seem to cost between $5-$20) and give a few more good years to this worthy appliance.

In 1992, dryers didn't have control panels and computers with special codes you have to know in order to even access them, let alone fix them. Ours was made with a knob that clicks loudly when you turn it, and one button to push if you want to turn it on. Mechanical parts instead of computerized parts mean that anyone armed with a YouTube video and the right tools has a pretty good chance of being able to fix what's broken.

If something is too complicated to begin with, it's going to be ultra-complicated to fix if something goes wrong. More than likely, you won't be able to fix it yourself. You'll have to pay an expert to come and fix it for you. I like experts, and I'm glad they're available when we need them, but if something is broken in our house, I love it when we can fix it ourselves.

I am getting the feeling that I need to keep this philosophy in mind as I build this little company.

If you own a business, whether it's a large corporation or a tiny startup, relying on too many experts to do everything for you may make things so complicated that when something goes wrong, you may not be able to fix it. Things may be out of your hands so much that you may even need to hire an expert to help you figure out what the problem is and where it's coming from.

Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful for all the experts out there who have the skills to help businesses with all the facets of marketing. After all, that's what we hope to do in the realm of content writing, names, taglines, logos and web design.

I love the idea that businesses are prospering by helping other businesses prosper. In fact, I'm founding my startup with the intention of helping businesses thrive and prosper through the services we offer.

Right now, I don't have the funds to hire any experts to do anything for me, and I actually kind of like it that way, at least for the moment. (Hear that? That's the sound of a bunch of folks unfollowing me on Twitter just now.) Ask me in a year, and I may give you a different story. If I could hire a dozen, or even just one or two experts to help me with all the facets of building and growing a business, I think I would give myself some advice.

  • Keep it simple.

  • Make sure you understand the processes that are happening behind the scenes.

  • Be informed, but don't micromanage.

  • Stay engaged with each person or group who is contributing to your business.

  • Ask questions to understand, but not to pester.

  • Listen well.

  • Oh, and stay humble. *

If and when something breaks down somewhere, in one of the processes that is happening behind the scenes, hopefully things will be simple enough for you to diagnose and fix yourself.

If you've been thinking about outsourcing and would like to learn more, "Why Your Company Should Consider Outsourcing Content Creation" from Entrepreneur is chock-full of useful information and even more links to follow if you have the time.

What kind of advice would you give yourself one year from now? What have you learned from hiring experts to help you with your business? I'd love to hear from you.

*(Free advice alert: A little bit of success doesn't equal a free pass into know-it-all land.) Highlight to tweet or share @inkandkey

Check out this post to see what happens next in the exciting saga of our 24-year old dryer. It's a real nail-biter.

#outsourcing #diagnosingtheproblem #startups

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