In-House Versus Outsourced: What Roles to Take On as a Business Owner
By necessity when just starting out, business owners wear several hats within the company. Possibly all the hats, at first. They are the CEO, CFO, lead salesperson, marketer, manager and more. Eventually, something has to give. The time will come to hire staff and outsource roles.
For new entrepreneurs, this can be a difficult turning point. Missteps made at this stage can be costly, even devastating, to a startup.
Matt Rissell, the CEO of TSheets Time Tracking, his sixth successful startup, breaks down what to insource versus outsource at first. Here’s an outline on how to shape a team—and the leader’s position within the company—in order to strike business gold.
For many CEOs, the answer to what to outsource is nothing. Here are the exceptions. Bookkeeping is good to outsource, hired along with a separate CPA who has the right tools to manage sales tax. A few aspects of marketing can be outsourced, but when the time is right to hire a top-level executive to build a marketing strategy and execution plan, bring them on.
Now what to never outsource, if possible. Especially for technology start-ups, outsourcing product development and software engineering can be a huge mistake, especially if that’s core to your product or service. Your technology will likely need constant reworking, and you want a team that’s all in, and completely focused. Then, never outsource customer service. For both of these, the DNA of a company and its vision will come through in the product and service, especially how customers feel treated.
Interview, then fire yourself.
As the CEO, do as much as you can, but as you grow, start to interview yourself for the different positions you see shaping inside your company. Literally. Sit yourself down in a chair, put an empty one in front of you, and ask yourself the questions. Experience. Education. Objectives. Etcetera. Objectively, if you wouldn’t hire yourself for that role, it’s time to break the good/bad news. Fire yourself from the things you’re worst at first. Next, fire yourself from things you like the least. Finally, move into the role that suits you best.
Be the CEO from any position.
CEOs can lead from any position or any division in a company. A rockstar at marketing can be the CEO. The head of engineering can be the CEO. It’s all about finding what they excel at most—their personal sweet spot. Then focusing on strategy and leadership. However, every CEO must be an excellent salesperson, not just of the product or service, but of a phenomenal vision that will attract the best team members to join the company.
Birds of a feather, flock.
Whoever is hired at a company from the start will dictate the future of those recruited. Start high. Start with the best. Even when desperate, don’t compromise.
By following this formula, CEOs can expertly wear the HR hat too, until they find the perfect fit to replace them. In-house, of course.
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