Do less, outsource everything else
March 14, 2010 by Jamaal
Ownership is so last century. It’s time to liberate ourselves and enjoy what technology affords us. In my opinion, we have two advantages which we should really be making use of.
Firstly, we have the opportunity to be specialists. The time is over for generalists. We no longer want to deal with one company that does everything – because we know that each avenue of expertise is so deep and advanced, that a generalist company can only scratch the surface of each of these avenues. Specialists can go to the depths. We want people who eat, sleep, and talk their expertise. Industries and businesses are evolving at such a rapid rate, that a generalist is no longer a valuable asset. And being specialists, we should be doing less. Being an effective specialist means doing less. It means being focused. It means choosing when and how we want to work. It means choosing the type of clients we want to work for. It means redefining success.
Seth Godin says in Small is the new big that, “Maybe you need to be a lot pickier about what you do and for whom you do it.” He continues by sharing the following…
Dan, a real-estate developer I met recently, told me that he does one new investment a year. It’s not unusual for his competition to do ten or a hundred deals in the same period of time. What Dan told me, though, really resonated: “In any given year, we look at a thousand deals. One hundred of them are pretty good. One is great.” By only doing the great deals, Dan is able to make far more money than he would if he did them all. He can cherry-pick because his goal isn’t volume.
Secondly, we should outsource everything that is not core to our business. It is common place today for companies to have employees stationed around the globe, working remotely. It’s even more common place to use individuals and companies to do secondary tasks. Once we set ourselves free and relinquish control, we have the opportunity to engross ourselves in what our mission is. Tim Ferris is a master at this. You should pick up his book The 4-Hour Work Week wherein he expounds on ideas to liberate ourselves from limited and ancient thinking patterns.
Even the City of Los Angeles, California has outsourced it’s email and communication infrastructure to Google. In October 2009, the city replaced its Novell GroupWise system with Google Apps. The city estimated the move at around $7.25 million, but Los Angeles officials believe the move will save millions in software licensing, maintenance, and storage costs while improving security. Email (as well as other communication items) are now outsourced to Google. This is phenomenal.
Randi Levin, Chief Technology Officer, City of Los Angeles:
City employees fulfill a range of important functions – from policing our streets to supplying water and power to city residents and businesses, and from operating our libraries to designing and building wastewater treatment plants and other public facilities. We want to provide all these employees with modern tools that help them do their jobs.
Outsourcing is something that we as entrepreneurs really need to get our heads around. And quickly. Inside of our businesses, we also need to learn to delegate more. Outsourcing is a type of delegation, but it technically refers to delegating to external resources. Warren Buffet: “We delegate almost to the point of abdication.”
Tim Ferris goes a step further though. He says, “Eliminate before you delegate.”
Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash.
This is a subject that I’m passionate about, so I plan to write much more on it over the coming weeks…
Photo credit: cliche