People, Product, Revenue. That’s how Michael Katz described his day as a CEO. Responsible for the success of the company on these three fronts, CEOs and founders carry heavy responsibility on their shoulders.
Being in charge of the most important decisions is a double-edged sword. CEOs are the highest-ranking executives in their companies. They’re the architects and get complete freedom to bring their vision to life. At the same time… the success or failure of their company falls on them.
Startup founders are well-known for working long hours, having blurred lines between personal and professional life, and having trouble disabling work notifications. Which makes them prime candidates for burnout and reduces overall productivity.
If this is you, we’re here to help you navigate the sometimes tricky reality of outsourcing as a founder for maximum efficiency and peace of mind. The general blanket recommendation is to outsource as much as possible to cut costs and improve efficiency. If not done correctly, however, outsourcing can be more of a curse than a cure…
Why Are CEOs Under a Mountain of Tasks?
“You can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years”. That’s how Paul Graham describes the first four years of building a startup.
When building startups from scratch, that can certainly ring true. You have to make sure that the features are being created, the sales are coming in, marketing campaigns are in progress, and the customers are happy. You also have to keep an eye on the competition, as well as coordinate the team.
Startups are hard work and require a lot of time and energy from their founders. Working close to 12 hours a day on average, and shouldering a lot of serious responsibilities, it’s no surprise that they can quickly burn out.
What Are the Main Responsibilities of a CEO?
Each CEO has a different management philosophy, but responsibilities mostly fall under the same broad categories: strategy, budgeting, and people. CEOs will usually find themselves wearing many hats:
- Implement the initial vision. The CEO is responsible for turning the vision into reality. This means coming up with a business plan and strategy that will help lead the company toward success.
- Lead organizational strategy. In addition to implementing the vision, CEOs manage the organizational strategy as well. This means ensuring everyone is working together on common goals while still being able to manage their own individual responsibilities within the company hierarchy.
- Monitor and direct core operations. In short, this means making sure everything is running smoothly in the business. This includes overseeing operations such as accounting, human resources, marketing, sales, customer service, and so on.
- Communicate and negotiate with a board of directors and investors. Maintaining relationships with the board of directors and investors is also in the job description, both to ensure that they are receiving adequate information about the company's progress and to get their advice.
- Manage and delegate company resources. The CEO makes decisions about how best to use the resources to push the business forward, including finances, human resources, and infrastructure. This includes deciding when to delegate non-core competencies.
- Share the word. Networking, joining or hosting industry events, and communicating with the press are not only ways to gain valuable insights, but are essential to remain visible in the industry.
With all these responsibilities and more, oftentimes manual tasks get sidetracked. For example, a company may not have the resources to hire a social media manager. Keeping up with post scheduling, engaging with the audience, and consistently releasing content suddenly becomes an added stressor and ends up being left behind.
By delegating manual tasks, teams can keep moving toward their goals without neglecting the supporting work that needs to be done.
Why Is Outsourcing Important for Founders?
Outsourcing is a smart way to scale daily operations without adding significant overhead costs or increasing the burn rate. Keeping a business running and growing requires a lot of manual heavy lifting. Outsourcing allows startup teams to stay lean and focus on growth and innovation.
There are five main reasons we highly encourage founders to outsource strategically:
1. It Saves Time
As a founder/CEO, your time is valuable. Having an extended team to tackle repeatable tasks gives you more time to focus on top-level managerial decisions, company growth, and project management. An extended team does not require a strenuous recruitment and interview process and will scale up and down as needed.
2. It Increases Efficiency
Inefficiencies arise when human capital is not being used to its fullest potential. Full-time assistants may frequently not have enough tasks to fill a full workday. Or sometimes have more workload than capacity. Working with an extended team can negate these inconsistencies as CEOs and managers can choose when they need extra help. For rush projects, extended teams can bring in more team members to move faster and complete them on time.
3. It’s Cost-effective
When you are running a startup, money is tight. It is difficult and costly to hire because some tasks are given out sporadically and priorities change on a weekly basis. With an on-demand extended team, you only need to pay for the hours of work you need. With flexible delegation options, you can adjust priorities without wasting precious resources.
4. It Prevents Burnout
With fewer repeatable tasks to take care of, CEOs and team members can focus more on their areas of interest. Having the help of an extended team boosts office morale by taking away the burden of personally doing manual tasks. This gives them the opportunity to take on more mind-stimulating projects and keep a healthier work-life balance.
5. It Creates Innovation Opportunities
According to Susan Sly, most entrepreneurs spend 68.1% of their time solving day-to-day tasks and only 31.9% of their time working on long-term goals and strategic planning. Effective delegation allows businesses to explore new opportunities and think outside the box.
All in all, you accomplish more with less when you outsource. But it can also lead to low-quality work and added overhead when not done effectively. In the next section, we will explore ways to improve the process to make sure you're getting the best results possible.
How Can You Outsource Effectively?
Given all its benefits, outsourcing is a no-brainer. But its success is also dependent on how strategic you are in finding the right partner to team up with.
There’s more to successful outsourcing than finding the cheapest option. It’s high effort to get someone else to do the important work effectively.
Hiring, training, and managing freelancers, virtual assistants, or offshore teams can be a bigger energy sink than doing the work yourself. And ultimately, if your solution requires giving detailed instructions and fixing poorly done work, it’s not worth your time.
The key to effective delegation is getting out of the cheaper is better mentality. The best outsourcing solutions have a strong human touch and work by your side to support your vision. This is why the extended team model is the most effective for medium to long-term collaboration.
Here are some of our best strategies to make the most of the delegation process.
Set clear expectations and guidelines
Setting clear expectations on what you want the results to be will give your extended team a clear picture of what to aim for. For example, if you need a helping hand finding targeted B2B leads, make sure to clarify what the target profile is, as well as any exclusion criteria.
Give consistent feedback and clarify the next steps
For maximum accuracy and satisfaction give your extended team consistent feedback on the results you’re getting. Think of it as giving feedback to your own team members and watch the results getting more and more tailored to your business.
Relay important information beforehand
An extended team can finish work for you 24/7. Take advantage of their remote assistance by relaying all essential information before you delegate new tasks. Especially during the first projects, before the extended team has learned your inner processes, give clear and comprehensive instructions. This way, you’ll save time, minimize errors and unnecessary back-and-forth, and give the team the chance to complete the tasks to your complete satisfaction.
As we’ve seen, not all outsourcing solutions are created equal. In fact, some can be downright detrimental to your business' success. An extended team has significant benefits for medium to long-term collaborations. They will learn your inner processes, master your business nuances, and become more efficient over time.
What Tasks Should Founders Outsource?
One of the challenges of outsourcing for founders is deciding which tasks should be outsourced and which ones are best kept in-house. Not all tasks are good candidates for outsourcing, in fact, some tasks should never be outsourced. Delegating indiscriminately may cause more harm than good.
Before deciding to delegate tasks, ask yourself:
- Is this a core competency? Core competencies should be entrusted to team members that know your business best.
- Will this affect the overall strategy? Critical decision-making processes should also be kept in-house.
On the contrary, tasks with a repeatable process, such as administrative work, lead generation, research, and data collection & analysis, are best to be delegated. There are 40+ ways our extended team helps growing businesses. Here’s just a taste of what Pareto can do for you:
- Lead generation & outreach. Our best lead gen wizards will scour the internet for your ideal customers and compile updated lists with valid contacts for maximum return. We can also automate email campaigns and carry out the outreach on your behalf.
- Competitor research. Always keep up with the competition with fresh custom-made lists of competitors and comprehensive tracking.
- Search the web. If it’s online, we can find it for you. Whether you’re looking for suppliers near you, office spaces for rent, research articles on a certain topic, or retailers to sell your product, we’ll get you the most updated information.
- Candidate screening and sourcing. Skip the time-consuming resume screening and hire faster with pre-vetted candidate lists that match your desired criteria.
- Find investors. Get in touch with the right investors for your startup fundraise with investor lists that match your industry and startup stage.
- Find influencers. Develop your influencer marketing campaigns and boost brand awareness with brand partners that fit your voice and niche.
With fully customizable solutions, Pareto supports businesses in performing competitor research, finetuning marketing strategies, hiring valuable talent, carrying out startup fundraising, and finding ideal customers to outreach.
Experience firsthand the power and efficiency of having an extended team. Add an on-demand virtual team to your organization and move 10X faster on your next goals.