Opinion  

Outsourcing is about more than just investments

Dennis Hall

January has flown by, but this is not a good sign. Why? Because only a few of the jobs I hoped to complete in January are actually finished.

The year has barely begun and I am already behind. Fortunately I have a plan. I will have someone else do the work instead of me. But I also need a plan to ensure that the person I delegate my work to does not become overwhelmed too.

We have taken a good look at the business to find the real “pinch points” that create problems for us. We found that these were things we might be able to outsource. For example, the preparation for client annual reviews is something that consumes a large amount of time, but is largely process driven. We could probably outsource all of the client review work with the exception of the actual meeting. Having looked at the cost this appears to be a no-brainer.

You see, one of the problems of operating in the middle of London is the high cost of office space and people to work in it. It is far more cost efficient to have someone working out of offices where space and staff cost less, but I do not want to run another office centre somewhere else, that would counter-productive. Yet our London office should only be filled with parts of the business that need to be client-facing. And that is a very slim operation.

The answer is to outsource. We have already outsourced large parts of our business, and occupy a very small footprint in London. We do not have acres of filing cabinets, or computer servers and the like. But what we have not done until now is move the people away. Yet for the price of the desk space that a single paraplanner would occupy, I can have a team of qualified people outside London, dealing with all our annual reviews.

And on that basis it seems possible to begin to scale up the business across other areas too, and with a significantly shallower J-curve than I would otherwise experience. However, knowing my personality type, there are some functions that would be difficult to implement remotely. I need to delegate more, and have an interface between me and the rest of the world.

A Personal Assistant is needed. I have looked at using a Virtual Assistant but I am not convinced it would work. I need someone who can physically wrest things from my grasp, and take things from my desk. With all the advances in technology I still have not seen anything that will physically grab me by the scruff of the neck and make me delegate work – and that I am afraid is what it is going to take. Interviews commence this afternoon.