As a startup, you need to work quickly and smartly. That means knowing the best places to expend your or your team’s own resources and when to call for help. .
Part of the secret to a startup’s success is creating the product in the fastest way possible. This includes both in new technologies and in expanding to different platforms such as marketplaces. Because most startups begin with very small teams, they may not have the internal breadth of experience to quickly understand and adapt to things like marketplaces, procurement, or even some of the new technologies required to grow and advance their product.
Efficiency is key
It may be that your team could, in time, learn and develop the skills you require to launch a new platform or to add that new technology, but is that time well spent? It is important to evaluate whether your team currently has the required skills, and if not, how much time they would require or whether you can obtain the needed skill set more quickly through an outsourced option.
Keep in mind that this same strategy can apply to other tasks within your startup, such as administrative functions. Keeping people focused on where their skill sets are, on where their time is best spent, is the most effective way to manage people time, your own included.
The global network
Fortunately, today we have the opportunity to connect and work with people from all around the globe. While you can go out and seek help on your own through a variety of platforms, I highly recommend connecting with a source that will do that groundwork for you. Platforms like Upwork, for instance, bring together people from around the world and have established methods for collecting and doling out payments, refunding uncompleted work, and they provide ranking systems to help you get an initial feel for people you may want to work with. Yes, you will pay a small fee for this service, but it is worth it to avoid some of the risks of doing the work all alone.
In seeking outside support – whether to actually complete a task, or perhaps to teach a team member to complete a task – you will identify the problem you want solved and then seek people who have the skill sets you require. And yes, keep in mind that both of these scenarios are possible through outsourcing. Rather than hiring someone to do the work for you, it may be more worthwhile to hire them for a short time to teach your team to complete a task, particularly if it will be a longer-term or ongoing effort that you want to have the internal skill to handle.
I also recommend trialing more than one candidate. By this, I mean that you should sort through potential contractors to find at least two who seem to be a good fit. Then, invest a small bit of money in having these people complete the same task in parallel. In this way, you are able to compare their speed, their ability to complete the task at hand, and whether there are any additional benefits they provide – such as advice or recommendations about how to complete something more effectively.
You can use this method for multiple one-off tasks, or you may find someone that you want to establish a longer-term relationship with for individual jobs as they come up.
The global network is an effective and efficient way to build your team’s capabilities – long and short term – with little risk to your company.
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