It is easy to understand why we fear outsourcing services. It goes against the idea of being responsible and maintaining control in our business. It’s also a fairly common fear in small business and those that are at a growth edge. This blog will go through the most common basis of the fear of service outsourcing and how small business owners can overcome it.
Fear of service outsourcing: Is it justified?
Service outsourcing has become a controversial topic in recent years, with many people arguing that it is a bad thing for the economy and for workers. There are certainly some risks associated with service outsourcing, but there are also potential benefits that should be considered.
Service outsourcing can result in lower costs for businesses, which can be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices. It can also lead to increased efficiency and productivity, as businesses can focus on their core competencies and outsource non-essential tasks. In addition, service outsourcing can create new job opportunities.
Of course, there are also some drawbacks to service outsourcing. It can be difficult to ensure that the quality of outsourced services is up to par, and there may be communication difficulties when services are being outsourced to another country and language and time zones are barriers. In the beginning, some small businesses worry about how their customers will perceive another provider delivering some of the services they have been used to being done by the owner.
Overall, there are both risks and potential benefits associated with service outsourcing. It is important to consider all of these factors before making a decision about whether or not to outsource services.
Don’t want to be a boss
One of the most common reasons business owners give for not outsourcing services is that they don’t want to be a boss. I get it, that’s why I don’t have staff. I’ve done the boss thing and it’s really not for me (I was good at it but didn’t enjoy it).
This is a mindset thing, you’re a client, not a boss. Does the idea of being the client freak you out a little? Then you’re business partners. While you are technically the client, you’re paying for a service. You are also business partners as they are providing a service that will progress, help you achieve your desired outcomes, and provide services when you can’t.
Flipping the situation on the head, some business owners fear outsourcing services because they will become the boss if the service provider behaves or looks to the business owner as a boss. Other business owners fear outsourcing services because they fear having to train the person in how they do the job. (It can happen if the outsourcing provider is new, uncertain, or used to this behaviour.)
I often see the outsourcing relationship deteriorate when business owners behave like the boss and do not give the company they’ve outsourced to the autonomy they deserve. Personally, I see the businesses I outsource to as partners as they are helping me to achieve my goal and I afford them the autonomy and respect their expertise in their field.
Fear of the unknown of service outsourcing
Not knowing what to expect and how to do it prevented me from outsourcing early on. I didn’t know what I didn’t know but I did know that I didn’t want to be a boss and I didn’t have the time (or sometimes expertise) to do the tasks I was outsourcing.
Many business owners hold off on outsourcing because they don’t know which tasks they should outsource and what to expect when they outsource. For some this can feel a lot like bringing a new staff member on, not being too certain what tasks they will do and then this feeds into their fear of being a boss.
Fear of losing control when you outsource services
The most common fear I come across when business owners are considering outsourcing services is the fear of losing control. The fear that timelines, quality, service, reputation, or communication is lost and will impact their business. “But they can’t do the job as well as I do it”, is a common cry I hear. (Shudder the thought they could actually be as good or better)
Reality of service outsourcing: you probably already do it
Service outsourcing is often thought of as something that only large corporations do. However, the reality is that many individuals and small businesses outsource services as well. For example, you may outsource your bookkeeping or accounting, your gardening, or your cleaning. These are all tasks you are allowed and probably capable of doing yourself.
Remind yourself that the benefits of outsourcing services are that it can save you time and money. When you outsource a service, you can focus on your core business or products, and leave the service to someone else. Someone who is a subject matter expert in this service. Someone who may enjoy the task more than you do. Someone who will free up your time to work on other aspects of your business.
If you are considering outsourcing services, I recommend that you start small. Your mindset will benefit from the quick wins, reinforcing that you made the right decision.
Another option is to outsource services to people who have greater expertise in the area, bookkeeping and accounting are great examples. The reason is that they are likely to perform the task in less time than you would have and that can save you money.
Outsourcing for expertise can also extend to having a virtual receptionist/sales staff, graphic designer, photographer, social media management, blog writing, or website maintenance. Many of these things can be (and often are) done in-house but are great ways to benefit from someone’s expertise.
Build trust if you have a fear of service outsourcing
Great relationships are built on trust. Trust is built when parties have a clear understanding of where they stand, what’s expected, where the boundaries are, and how to resolve issues. Here’s a reminder:
- Not staff
- Communication is key
- Expectations are not evil (easier said if you’re a people-pleaser)
- Timeliness needs timelines
- Boundaries are there for both of you
What’s the story you’re playing in your head
In the end, overcoming the fear of service outsourcing comes down to the story you’re playing in your head about it (like any fear). If you’ve had bad experiences then make sure you do your homework, set boundaries and expectations, and have a good contract in place. If you’ve only heard of bad experiences, remember that someone else’s experience may not be the same as your own – even with the same provider. (we are all different)
The story we play in our head feeds our fear but it’s not often the reality we experience. If your fear is based on what you hear then look for examples, even in your personal life, where you’ve successfully outsourced services. If you have had bad experiences, look for examples of where you have had good experiences. It’s unlikely that it’s all bad.
I hope that this post has helped you to understand the benefits of outsourcing, and also the concerns that you may have about outsourcing. Although outsourcing can be a big change for a business and there are some challenges involved, it is important to remember that outsourcing can also be very beneficial to your business, and if you are able to overcome any challenges then you will be able to reap some great benefits from outsourcing. If you want to learn more about how outsourcing can help you achieve your goals, you can read this post. If you want help with fear holding your business back, then you can grab my toolkit with 10 helpful tools I use to overcome fear.