In-House or Outsource: The Startup Dilemma

— July 17, 2018

In-House or Outsource: The Startup Dilemma

The startup dilemma about whether entrepreneurs should outsource certain tasks to professionals or keep everything internal is one that is debated about consistently.

My team often works as a marketing and strategy extension to small and medium-sized businesses who don’t have internal teams, but it’s important to take a look at both sides of the debate. As a business owner, it is ultimately up to you whether you want to outsource or not, but you should make an informed decision either way.

The following are four main factors that you should consider as you are building your startup budget and making decisions about what to outsource vs. keeping things in-house.

Skill Set

When you decided to start your business, you already had a certain set of skills – they could be industry-related, operational, strategic, etc. As you figure out what needs to be done to get your idea to the launch phase, you need to figure out where your weaknesses lie. You either need to fill those weak spots with internal hires, further your own education, or outsource certain tasks. Each of these three options has both pros and cons associated with them. When considering skill set, you need to remember that if you have a weak link in your own skills it may set you back if you try to fill it internally.

A great example we use often is working on your car. Most people don’t have the skill set to do this on their own – they hire a mechanic. Sure, you could watch a few YouTube videos and read a few articles, but in the long run, that will take you extra time and you still might not get it right.

Goals

As you build your business strategy, you should identify 3 or 4 overall goals that are both measurable and relevant. Once you identify your goals and their respective timelines, it will give you a good sense of whether you need help to get you there by your identified milestones.

Time

Time is a precious commodity when it comes to launching your own business. You don’t want to feel like you have to work 24 hours per day – that will only lead to burnout. For your own sanity, sometimes it’s better to offload tasks to someone else if they aren’t part of your core capabilities so you can focus on growing your business.

Budget

This is one of the hardest discussions to have as a startup – where do you spend your money to get the most return on your investment possible. You need to figure out what your budget is and assign figures to all aspects of your business planning. Be realistic about how much money you have available and how much revenue you plan on bringing in. If you plan on outsourcing tasks, be transparent about your budget. A great professional will be able to build a program for you based on your current and future earnings. And if your your budget doesn’t allow you to hire out tasks right away, see if there are organizations that will work with you to help get you on the right track until you can hire them.

A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.

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Author: Candace Huntly

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