How to Create a Mutually-Beneficial Contractor / Client Relationship
By Barbara Drazga
Regardless of whether yours is a small or large business, chances are that you can benefit vastly from outsourcing some of your business functions to outside vendors or contractors. This would ideally ensure that even after giving work to a contractor, you are working on your business, and not in your business.
Starting up a business and positioning it for sustained growth requires many different key functions. Many new small business owners attempt to tackle all functions on their own, and find that they work long hours and tire out easily after a while. By outsourcing some of your routine tasks, you can leverage your time to spend on the functions that you do best in order to grow your business.
If you are having trouble determining the benefits of outsourcing, here’s some food for thought: Start by determining the worth of your time in monetary terms. A simple way is to estimate the amount of money you want to make in a year, and dividing that into productive work hours. The basic fact of life is that most of us are generally productive for only two to three hours a day.
For example, if you’d like to make $200,000 in 2007, and you work two to three productive hours each day, for five days a week, then one can estimate that your time is roughly worth $250 per hour. Keeping this in mind, you would benefit from outsourcing any function that you can pay someone to do for less than $250 an hour.
In order to create a successful client-contractor relationship, it necessary for you to understand your own business requirements and processes. Take time out to write down the various job descriptions you apply in your day-to-day business. This might include tasks like entering your invoices and receipts, generating new leads, following up with clients, writing press releases for promoting your business, etc.
Now determine which of these functions you wish to accomplish yourself, and which you can benefit from if given to a contractor to fulfill. This exercise will also help you determine which function you would like to outsource first.
In looking for the right contractor, you have several options. Firstly, start by checking with others in your industry to see who they use to outsource their functions. You can choose from a variety of options including virtual assistants, freelancers, or an outsourcing firm.
The basic doubt a business owner has in outsourcing work to a contractor is that they feel they are losing control over their business, or that it will prove to be difficult training a new person to do the job you believe you are best at. In order to break this mold, you can start off by outsourcing some very simple and routine tasks.
Do make sure that you set up clear expectations with your contractor at the start itself. Do let them know about where you see your business heading, what is their function in helping your business grow, etc.
You can also offer incentives from time to time to ensure that a specific work is well done, or you can also set a budget for the contractor. It is also important that you take the time to clearly document how the work should be performed.
By training and motivating your contractor, you can ensure that both yours and the contractor’s business benefits from the interaction.
Outsourcing some of your business functions will not only free up a lot of your time, but you will also have time left to work on your business, rather than in your business.
Some common guidelines you can follow include:
- Carefully think about what business function you want to outsource.
- Put in the time and effort to find the specific expertise you require.
- Be prepared for challenges.
- Always keep a lookout for hidden costs.
- Plan out how much you want to spend on your outsourcing venture before hand itself.