You need help doing all sorts of everyday stuff that supports your business, things that you just don't have time to tackle yourself. You've found the perfect business support service and they're champing at the bit, keen to help. It's a match made in heaven. But how do you make the most of the opportunity and get the best out of your small business support partner? Read on...
9 key ways to maximise the impact of outsourced small business support
1.Provide an adequately detailed brief – Things might look crystal clear to you, but things always do when they're inside your own head! When you write a good, solid, detailed brief for your support service, including a reasonable deadline, they'll be able to do a proper job. It's so much better than everything being up in the air and worryingly fluid, like trying to grab fog.
2.Less experienced support? Start off with a simple task – It's all very well being thrown in at the deep end, but it isn't always the best way to get the most out of a service and start off on the right track. Get used to working together via a relatively simple task and they'll soon get to know your working style, which means everything goes more smoothly. If, on the other hand your support service is highly experienced, like us, you can afford to ask them to hit the ground running.
3.Create formal systems for them to work to – It might mean setting up a series of Google docs, providing templates or creating special spreadsheets. The more you can turn tasks into formal procedures to follow, the better.
4.Set proper goals and priorities – A vital part of the briefing process, goals and priorities help your support person or team work as efficiently as possible, in the right way, with the correct focus.
5.Let them be more than just an assistant – If there's one thing guaranteed to help people do a better job, it's a sense of ownership. When you empower someone in the right way, there's no end to the good things that can happen. They might spot a gap in your market, notice a potentially dreadful mistake or even end up saving you a fortune, all because they are properly 'invested' in the work they're doing for you. If you sit down together and brainstorm, the sky could be the limit. Once somebody knows your business well enough, they'll be perfectly placed to see the wood for the trees on your behalf.
6.Give them a go-to contact at your place – It really helps someone to feel they belong when you give them a named contact at your business, their first stop to get questions answered. It's also efficient, saving time and hassle because they don't have to go around the houses each time, trying to get guidance from anyone who happens to answer the phone.
7.Reward pro-activity – You're proactive once, but nobody really notices. You do it again and it falls on deaf ears. So you give up and simply handle the task in question. What a waste! If you reward pro-activity, whether it's verbal praise, a positive written report, a big personal thank you or some kind of bonus, human nature kicks in and people will pull out all the stops to please you.
8.Give appropriate on-the-job training – Training matters just as much to a business support expert as it does to a regular staff member. If you want them to carry out a particular task involving specific skills, train them in those skills. Being someone who works for a number of different businesses, people like us are naturally fast learners, instinctive quick studies. Tell us once and we won't have to ask again.
9.Include them in your company communications – Rather than treat your business support expert like someone separate, include them in everyday comms and they'll feel part of the team. Which, in turn, means they'll feel closer to the business and care more.
Get all this right and you'll have much more than everyday business support. You'll have created a meaningful business relationship with someone who has an excellent understanding of your business, how it works, its culture, aims and goals. And that's gold dust.
If you'd like to test drive our small business support services, we'd love to hear from you. Let's get your business working brilliantly!