Few articles about start-ups don’t actually mention failure, with various statistics used to highlight just how difficult it is for entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality. This number of start-ups fail within the first year. That number of start-ups continue to operate after five years. This number of start-up founders will pull out every strand of their hair before so much as turning a profit. The picture painted by some articles is so grim it’s a wonder anyone bothers to dream in the first place.
The reason so many people do is they believe their idea, product or service can buck the trend and see their business added to that most fabled of lists – the start-up success story. Just as failure is a fact of start-up life, so too are tales of companies that find themselves overwhelmed by phenomenal growth in short periods of time.
We’re talking about the likes of LIFX, which raised $1.3 million within six days of debuting its smart home light bulb on a crowdfunding site and doubled down by securing an additional $2.1 million from investors. Then there’s email marketing company Campaign Monitor, the brainchild of two university friends that was profitable from day one, sends more than 1 billion emails a month and has gone global on the backing of key investors.
While rapid growth is the goal of most start-up founders, the founders of LIFX and Campaign Monitor will attest that it can bring its own headaches. Juggling increasing demand with limited resources is a common issue for start-ups on the rise and all too often entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to battle on as they have always done. They maintain their commitment to the leanest of business models, load up their few employees with more and more work, and usually end up drowning as they work harder and longer and all too often on tasks that have little to do with their area of expertise.
It is crucial at such times to think outside the box and one option that is gaining greater traction with high-growth start-ups is outsourcing. While some entrepreneurs will always struggle to turn to outsiders for support (and pay the price for not doing so), smart start-up founders are increasingly realizing the benefits that come from freeing up themselves and other key team members to focus on the areas they specialize in and ensure the best potential to deliver rapid growth.
Business philosopher Peter Drucker famously said: “Do what you do best and outsource the rest” and some of the world’s biggest companies have taken that advice onboard. In 2019 Google had more outsourced, temporary employees than in-house staff, while Github turned to an outsourced consultant to build its own website backend. Slack is another tech giant that appreciates the value of outsourcing non-core work, with its app design and logo created by a Canadian design agency.
Every start-up is unique and will have different reasons for considering outsourcing as a business strategy. Some may well decide it is not the right move for them right now but those who do choose to look outside their own four walls for support will find the benefits of doing so are extensive.
What makes entrepreneurship so much fun is the race to provide a product or service that is unique or offers something different or special from what else is in the market. That is a start-up’s unique value proposition and deserves much of the company’s focus. Conversely, there are countless processes or tasks that need to be done but could easily be handled by an external player.
Take the time to identify and study the processes that are potentially costing your in-house team valuable time or resources and whether they could be assigned to an outsourcing partner. To get you started, here are a few of the most common business processes that many growing start-ups outsource in a bid to dedicate their energies to more rewarding and valuable work.
Outsourcing start-up development does not claim to be a one-size-fits all solution for businesses. Every start-up is unique and needs to carefully consider their individual needs and wants when it comes to seeking support from a third-party provider. That said, there is no doubt that outsourcing can play a key role in helping start-ups reach their goals quicker and sustain their growth potential. Every journey starts with a first step and yours should be imagining what your start-up would look like with a little outside help.
A lot of questions need to be asked and answered before setting up an outsourced team. How do you know if your organization is ready? How can you identify areas that will best benefit from an offshore investment? This simple Offshore Readiness Assessment will help you gain a clearer picture.
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