I recently came across a list online titled 10 Blogs By Entrepreneurs You Should Be Reading. I was especially impressed with Erin Blaskie’s blog. Erin Blaskie is the founder and CEO of BSTEC, a company that has assisted over 300 entrepreneurs in launching their companies.
What types of tasks should business owners outsource ?
Business owners should outsource any task that isn’t directly generating revenue for them or, tasks that they don’t have to do themselves. An example would be: imagine you are a coach and you earn your income by speaking to people one-on-one. Doing website changes or your ezine is not necessarily an income generating task for you so you would outsource that. This way, the hour or two you were spending per day doing random tasks can now be spent taking on more clients.
What types of tasks do you recommend business owners handle themselves, rather than using a virtual assistant ?
Business owners should handle the tasks that require their presence or their expertise. If you’re a coach, you want to do your own coaching calls. If you’re a writer, you should do your own writing (although, some writers still use ghostwriters!) Also, any task that requires big decision-making for your company should be done by you (unless of course you have a COO) as well as the big picture vision planning for the company.
What are some big mistakes you see companies make when outsourcing ?
Some companies are too quick to hire and fire their outsourcing team before giving it some time to work. What I mean by that is companies will often hire an outsourcing company or person and expect that they are going to be able to jump in and know everything there is to know about the company. Just like in “real” jobs (I call any job that isn’t entrepreneurship a “real” job), there is always a training period or a probation period. You need to give the relationship some time to cultivate and you need to provide ample direction and vision to team members – especially those that are virtual.
What are 3 of your top tips on successfully managing employees ?
(1) Be clear. You want to make sure that the messages you are sending to your team are clear, concise and an actual depiction of what you want. Use examples, provide deadlines and be detailed as that will help you achieve the results you are after.
(2) Provide vision. Don’t expect the team to know the goals for your company. Set the tone for your team by providing the 3, 5 or 10 year goals of the company as well as the immediate, short-term goals.
(3) Don’t micro-manage. Hire people whose talents you trust and then let go. By letting go, you’ll allow your team to do what they do best so you can focus on other things. Waiting by your e-mail inbox or your telephone for tasks to come back or directing your team on how things should be done will just cost you precious time.
Can you give us some specific examples of how you have implemented these employee management tips into managing your team at BSTEC ?
(1) Clarity. We have video demos, training resources and extensive documentation on how certain things should be handled. We also use Basecamp to organize projects, have discussions and share the workload so we can maintain clarity in our company and with our client’s companies.
(2) Vision. The team is consistently checking in with me to see what the goals are of the company, both short and long-term, and I’m relaying that to them often. We also request that our clients do the same.
(3) Micro-managing. We hire excellent team members and then trust the process. Each team member can do their work in their own style so long as the end result is the same.
Erin’s weekly 5 – minutes or less podcast series is a must listen for the aspiring entrepreneur. On my first visit to Erin’s blog I tuned into Episode 14 which covered the best marketing tactics for your business. What a well spent 5 minutes.
I can assure you that your first visit to Erin’s blog will be love at first click. I know mine was !