Expert Interview Series: Jess Ostroff with Don’t Panic Management on Outsourcing Tasks To Maximize Efficiency
How long have you been a franchisee? Maybe you’re not yet, but have been exploring franchise opportunities.
When you run your own business, there may come a time when you feel bogged down by tasks that would be better off in the hands of someone else. That doesn’t mean those tasks are unimportant. But if you delegate them to a capable partner, your attention around the office could be focused on to more pressing items of business.
But how do you know when to outsource? To learn more, Franchise Gator spoke with Jess Ostroff, Director of Calm at Don’t Panic Management.
When organizing your business to maximize efficiency, which functions of the business should be outsourced?
If you’re at the point where you have the budget and resources to start outsourcing, congratulations! This is a big step and shows an important growth milestone in your business. This is the perfect time for you to do an audit of all business operations to see which tasks must be done by you, and then which ones should be delegated, automated, or put on the back burner for later. An audit allows you to take the guesswork out of this process, so don’t skip it! It may also illuminate any inefficiencies or issues that aren’t being addressed, which will become increasingly important as you continue to scale.
Anything that can be automated should be outsourced to a software or service-provider. These may include bookkeeping, lead generation, email marketing, social media management, and scheduling. You may not want to delegate or automate these tasks if they’re super custom or sensitive, but remember: the more you automate and delegate, the more time you’ll have to focus on higher-level tasks like strategy and business development.
As a business owner, what are the benefits to outsourcing certain day-to-day activities versus simply paying an assistant to do them?
Whether you’re outsourcing/delegating to a person or a software, the same level of care and organization has to be in place. You need to think about how you want things done, what your expectations are, and how you’ll measure the success of the project before you can outsource or delegate. There are several great ways to make sure you’re getting the quality you want in your projects, including shareable documented processes (step-by-step), screen flow diagrams of exactly how to do certain tasks, audio or video resources to provide more context and details, and a project or task management software to track progress.
The main benefit to outsourcing or delegating is that they free your time up to do more strategic thinking. Time is your most valuable (and likely your scarcest) resource. Protect it by letting go of the tasks that someone else can do for you.
How could this be useful to a group of franchisees all running independent branches of the same business?
Developing a central system for all franchisees to work through that includes one billing and accounting system, one scheduling system, and one marketing system is extremely helpful to keep everyone on the same, efficient page. There are tons of software tools that franchises can set up for their franchisees, and then they can find a central person to manage the content within those software systems and the processes that franchisees must follow to make them worthwhile. If the franchisees are able to take the tools from the central location and implement them themselves, that’s awesome. Otherwise, each franchisee could be assigned an assistant to help make sure they’re following the guidelines outlined by headquarters. The most important thing here is to develop a foolproof system for everyone to use. Checklists, written processes, video tutorials, and Q&A sessions are paramount to franchisee success.
How diverse are the services you’re willing to complete for a client, and why do you feel that type of diversity is necessary?
My business has two main branches: administrative assistant services and marketing assistant services. These two branches often work closely together because many of our clients are solopreneurs and don’t have anyone else to help them grow their business. We often manage a client’s schedule, publish their social media updates, produce their podcast, and do their bookkeeping all under one contract. This is important because we become more of a partner in their business and not just someone they pass tasks off to, and we understand everything from client manifestos to operations and budget. It allows us to do a better job marketing their services because we have an intimate understanding of who our client is and what their goals are for growth. We also have several service partners that we work with if a client ever needs services we don’t provide, such as web development and PR.
About the author:Joe Ruiz is an author, podcaster, MBA graduate and marketing professional. He writes on a variety of topics including business, leadership, news, and politics.