There's never enough time. You wake up before the crack of dawn, only to be greeted by an inbox full of messages about fixing the company firewall and getting better snacks in the office pantry. When you're done with those, your new hire asks you about an error on his paycheck. And you still haven't gotten to those social posts.
As much as you want to do it all yourself, eventually you need to delegate the schedule- consuming tasks--whether they're nonessential, tedious, or just not your bailiwick. That doesn't necessarily mean hiring and building an in-house team. With a smart outsourcing plan like the ones implemented by the companies below, you can leave IT security, employee onboarding, and a whole host of other issues to those with the bandwidth and expertise to handle them properly. Your business will benefit--and you might even get to take a break once in a while.
Founder: Scott Johnson
Company: Lehi, Utah-based employee-engagement software company
What It Outsourced: Content marketing and social promotion, using Salt Lake City-based content agency Comma Copywriters and London digital media platform HR Leaders
Why It Outsourced: Not enough time to handle it in-house
How It Benefited: Rapidly achieved marketing goals, including a 65 percent increase in website traffic from the previous quarter
"In late 2020, our marketing team was small and running countless programs. We decided to outsource our content marketing efforts, since they were crucial for growth and we didn't have the bandwidth. We worked with an agency and accomplished the short-term goals without sacrificing long-term impact. When the team grew, we brought those efforts in-house without missing a beat."
M. Gill and Associates
Founder: Marie R. Gill
Company: Miami-based financial and economic development consultancy
What It Outsourced: Payroll and HR benefits management, using Roseland, New Jersey-based services giant ADP
Why It Outsourced: To ensure accurate and timely filing of state labor-department reports; manage payroll and benefits; and keep up to date on federal and state requirements
How It Benefited: Freed up employees' time for other project work and saved the company thousands of dollars in potential fines for noncompliance
"Some might think that outsourcing is giving up control. It's quite the opposite. By outsourcing, I am freeing up time to focus on other areas of the business that really need me. So I put some money in my budget, let the experts do what they are good at, and keep my employees happy."
Co-founder: Amber Leong
Company: Walpole, Massachusetts-based maker of light-therapy lamps
What It Outsourced: Product and brand design, using freelancing marketplace Upwork to find designers; and warehousing and fulfillment, to Woodbury, Minnesota, wholesale distribution company S&F Corporation
Why It Outsourced: To rein in hiring costs while still gaining top talent and resources
How It Benefited: Enabled the company to go from conception to launch in less than a year and later get acquired
"We sold the company for over $1 million in 2020. We could only have done it with the speed and flexibility of having outsourced all the design and fulfillment tasks."
Co-founder: Pat Kinsel
Company: Boston-based provider of a secure digital platform for users to legally sign and notarize documents
What It Outsourced: Initial development of the first version of the company's app, using Victoria, British Columbia-based interface design firm MetaLab
Why It Outsourced: To increase speed to market by forgoing an in-house team
How It Benefited: Let the company launch faster, and helped it raise initial VC funding knowing exactly what the product build-out costs and timeline would be up front
"Working with an outside agency allowed me to prove within six months that the world wanted Notarize, giving me the confidence to raise capital and build the team and technology to help pass 38 new state laws and to digitize how people buy and sell a home, execute a will, and complete countless transactions online for the first time ever."
Co-founder: Jack Altman
Company: San Francisco-based people- management platform
What It Outsourced: Messaging and customer support on the company website, using Intercom, a San Francisco-based customer- relationship tool
Why It Outsourced: To better balance the team's workload so they could attend to work with the greatest impact
How It Benefited: Resulted in cost savings, more effective operations, and an improved product
"As a founder, anything that doesn't need to be a core competency--whether it's software, legal expertise, demand generation, or whatever else-- you should explore handing over to someone else. It's a powerful example of saying no to say yes."
Maverick Performance Products
Co-founder: Shane Terry
Company: Chandler, Arizona-based manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of specialty petroleum
What It Outsourced: Municipal compliance and reporting, using Gilbert, Arizona-based Old School Partners for consulting services
Why It Outsourced: To reduce costs, increase efficiency, and eliminate distraction from overly time-consuming tasks
How It Benefited: Streamlined how the company tackles the morass of complex compliance requirements in multiple locations
"Maverick does business in 30-plus states and more than 20 countries. Determining reporting and compliance requirements for each jurisdiction is a daunting task, one that could take a small-business owner years to learn. And besides the steep learning curve and massive time commitment, the potential fines, penalties, and interruption of your business can be consequences of noncompliance."
Co-founder: Christopher Day
Company: Indianapolis-based SaaS platform that focuses on consumer behavior
What It Outsourced: Content creation, using Indianapolis copywriting and marketing agency Metonymy Media
Why It Outsourced: To allow employees to focus on their core work in design, paid marketing, and sales
How It Benefited: Increased inbound traffic to the company's marketing and sales site 10x, increased sales leads year-over-year 4x, and reduced cost per lead 3x
"The single greatest outsourcing decision we have ever made is outsourcing all of our content creation. The relationship enables us to focus our team on core functions and to not have to worry about producing great onsite SEO and blog content every week. They just handle it."
Founder: Dylan Krzywonski
Company: Williamsport, Maryland-based supplier of hops for breweries
What It Outsourced: IT support, using DEM360, a Hagerstown, Maryland-based e-security and IT solutions provider
Why It Outsourced: For faster and more efficient remote technical assistance
How It Benefited: Increased efficiency, saving the company more than $200,000 over the past five years
"Efficiency is key to the success of our business. We opted to utilize a provider for all of our IT needs. Computers down on a Friday? The help desk support means we're back up and running before the end of the weekend. This has saved us from the expense of an in-house IT team but gives us access to one that acts as if they are--around the clock."
Paint the Town
Co-founders: Celia Ma and Phil Orr
Company: San Francisco-based provider of virtual and in-person "paint and sip" events
What It Outsourced: Automation of company operations, including aspects of event planning, sales and marketing processes, registration, shipping and logistics, customer support, and accounting, using San Francisco-based cloud integration software company Zapier
Why It Outsourced: To free up the team's time for the most valuable work
How It Benefited: Generated $750,000 to $1 million in value per year by increasing revenue and conversion rates, cutting hiring and administrative needs in half, and saving 15 hours-plus per employee each week
"The benefits of using technology automation are undeniable, and are now within the reach of any company. As a fully remote company, we made investing in automation a priority, and it has allowed us to scale our business rapidly while realizing tremendous savings on costs and hiring."
Founder: D.W. "Bubba" Grimsley Jr.
Company: Denver, North Carolina-based property- management analytics firm
What It Outsourced: Human resources, to customizable solutions company SourcePointe, in Birmingham, Alabama
Why It Outsourced: To save money and the work of administering benefits and other HR services
How It Benefited: Increased purchasing power on benefits and provided an outlet for employees when they need HR information
"We use a professional employer organization and we 'lease' our employees from them. It gave us bigger purchasing power on benefits like health and dental. It costs us 2 percent of payroll each period, but we recoup that on the discounts we get on our health insurance."