Outsource Your Way To Success

Last Updated Mar 14, 2011 11:05 AM EDT

Most small businesses never reach the million dollar revenue mark. So when the Count Me In organization, which provides services to women-owned businesses, started to see some alums of their programs actually cross that threshold, they wanted to know what these entrepreneurs had in common. Did they go to certain schools? Did they come from entrepreneurial families?
Nope -- the surprising common denominator (as I learned from CEO Nell Merlino last summer) is that they used grocery delivery services. Before their businesses started thriving.

If you think about it, that makes sense. We all have 168 hours per week. Time spent doing one thing is time not spent doing something else. Truly effective people focus as many hours as possible on the three things they do best, and others can't do nearly as well:
  • nurturing their careers
  • nurturing their families
  • nurturing themselves (e.g. getting enough sleep, exercising, doing spiritual activities, etc.)
These are their core competencies. No one else can exercise for you! But if someone else could do another task as well or better, these entrepreneurs would happily outsource it. At work, someone else could keep the books, but only they could focus on the big picture of their businesses. Likewise, at home, these entrepreneurs valued spending time with family, but going to the grocery store, filling a cart, and waiting in line? Better to set up a recurring order online (as you can with FreshDirect and other grocery services) and get your staples delivered. An hour spent at the grocery store is an hour you're not chasing the next $100,000 client.

If you're trying to take your career to the next level, you can try thinking about your core competencies as well. What tasks you could outsource to free up time and energy? Could you use a laundry service? A lawn service? Get your dry cleaning delivered? Use a virtual assistant? Set up automatic bill payment?

Yes, outsourcing costs money, but as the 7-figure entrepreneurs discovered, you can spend time to save money, or you can spend money to save time that you use to make bigger bucks. It's hard to get to a million dollars doing the former.

What tasks do you outsource?

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Photo courtesy flickr user, Kent Wang

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