I’m an employee in an OMB. This is how I’m freeing up my time, so I can take on more of the business owner’s work, in order to free up his time. I hope this can help other business owners, too.
Believe me when I say that this logic applies to any form of delegation/outsourcing I can think of.
Why is this important?
Our pal, Gwil, is the business owner.
He’s working a LOT in the business; on leads, customers, content… the list goes on.
We want him working on the business more; networking, culture, building new relationships and opportunities… with the business’s longevity in mind.
I’m working towards relieving him of his Customer Support duties, but I can’t do that until I’ve created time for myself… and I’m not exactly chillaxing over here 🙃 but I’m only finding capacity to do background work (content, strategy, digital support). I need to get on the front lines.
What did we consider?
In order to make room for a big specialism, I have to shed some of my specialisms. I’ve gotta do this by
- Systemising them into processes (so that it doesn’t require my supervision),
- Outsource/delegate the time-consuming bits. (that’s where the time is created)
I decided to outsource Videography and Graphic Design. Why? Because sometimes those responsibilities feel like a full-time job.
It was my decision, not Gwil’s, to shed that work. He pushed for change, together we figured out how. I think it’s important to mention that from a cultural perspective.
Benefit 1: I’ve owned video & design for too long – we’ve needed this systemising because …what if I died? Or was ill for a month? Or lost my bus pass in the Sahara Desert?
It’s stupid to have a total dependency on one person, and we’d been stupid for years.
Benefit 2: It’s cheaper and easier than employing someone fulltime, especially if they need training. The major creativity comes in the planning of the graphic/video, not in its production. That’s the manual time-consuming work.
How are we doing it?
The first challenge was creating a process for graphics and videos.
- Select our 3 most common video types. Welcome, Promotion, Informative
- Select our 3 most common graphic design needs. Blog Image, Infographic, eBook
Anything outside of these would need more consideration or my input.
- Build a process for recording, storing and sharing the files needed for an easy and repeatable handover. (Dropbox is quite handy here)
- Build a process for outsourcing – we’re using UpWork – it’s a safe system for folks to outsource a wide variety of jobs. We’re using it to test with one off lil’ jobs before we establish a longer relationship with our favourites. They’ll essentially be -part of our team.
We’re hiring an outsourced part of our business, and so they’ve gotta be a good suit for us. We’re measuring against the practical essentials, but also our values: Be Real (know yourself), Have Heart (and believe), Own It (like an entrepreneur), Break the Mould (raise the bar) and Dance (Have fun, enjoy the process).
We’re in the process of testing 6 outsourcers, each one will be measured against the following:
- Time to turnover work
- Communication V
- Cooperation V
- Final output V
- Innovation V (did they bring anything new?)
(If there’s a green V there, it’s a metric that considers our values)
We’ll then get a longer term relationship with the winners.
I’m also asking for feedback from them, to make sure we’re easy to work with. (I’m new to outsourcing on this level, and it takes two to tango! 💃)
So far, it’s been great.
After every process, template and relationship is set up there’ll be the challenge of embedding it into the business and getting the team involved – this takes time and energy, but after 5 goes I think my colleagues will be well rehearsed. The manual task of working with the outsourcers will then be delegated to a business admin junior that we’re in the process of recruiting… opening up even more time for the rest of us.
All of our frequent videos will be recorded in a set way. This isn’t about brand. It’s about time. It’s about reducing the number of anomalies. If we keep on ‘creating’ videos in an ad-lib way, we’ll create more work.
After all this, I will have time to take on more Customer Support work. I’ll increase shadowing, writing and planning for the Customer Success front lines.
Gwil will be able to shed his duties and have more time to work on the business.
What should an accountancy business owner do?
So what about you? I know accountancy business owners can ask a lot of your team, whether you’re aware of it or not. The demand for change in the accountancy space is potent. It’s legislative. Employees are forever being asked to do new things…
Software, Advisory, human touch, extra support…
“write this process”
“change that methodology”
“we need to do things like this now”
“lets send a video with every email”
Here’s what I think:
Room needs to be created.
None of your team are ever going to upskill in consultancy-based services if you don’t free up their time. They’ll struggle to make progress, and they’ll probably leave if the pressure keeps building.
They’ll leave because they don’t need you.
It’s hard to recommend how much room should be created, as there’s many variables to consider. But here’s an interesting bit of insight…
Ross Murray, Acumen Accountants, told us he reserved 75% of a new recruit’s role to focus on his targets with Diagnsotax. 75%. It surprised me at first.
That number won’t suit everything, but it impacted my perspective somewhat!
That’s all I’ve got to say for now on outsourcing. Perhaps I’ll follow this up when I’m a bit further down the line with my plan. Thanks for reading! 😊
If any readers have any tips or experiences that could help us with our outsourcing, please speak to me on LinkedIn.