Sometimes you may find yourself doing so many things in one day that you actually lose track of what’s important and what isn’t.

That’s why I use a task prioritization chart that I take a look at every quarter or so. I want to keep track of what I’m actually working on every single day to see what I need to cut out, what I need to delegate, and where only I can make an impact.

My Task Prioritization Chart

Personally, I divide all of my tasks by expected ROI.

Task prioritization chart

For example, I have a category for $10 per hour tasks, another for $100 per hour tasks, another for $1,000 per hour tasks, and finally one for $10,000 per hour tasks. These categorizations tell me how much I would have to pay someone else to get a specific task done right.

So if you find yourself doing $10 tasks when you’re running a six- or seven-figure business, you probably need to rethink your priorities. On the flip side, you probably don’t want to be delegating the $10,000 per hour tasks out to anyone—that’s where you could be making the biggest impact yourself.

Related Content: The Power of Blocking Out Your Time for Business Growth

Things like cold calling, talking to unqualified prospects, doing expense reports, or scheduling social media probably shouldn’t be done by you. I know you see guys like Gary Vaynerchuk engaging on social media all the time, but that makes sense for Gary because he has branded himself as a social influencer.

Gary Vaynerchuk

When to Delegate and When to Do It Yourself

Think about the tasks that you do every single day. Whether you’re using a calendar or Evernote, look at what you’re doing every single day and then look at the last couple weeks. I have a daily to-do list and I’ll look back at last month or last quarter and realize, “Wow, I shouldn’t be working on this.”

As time goes on and your company grows, it’s your job to take more things off your plate and delegate it to other people. This is why companies hire other people. Your managers get stacked up with work, too. They need to hire people as well.

Hiring is one of the most important things you can do because you’re focusing on assigning each person in your company to their proper task category in order to maximize the ROI of human effort.

Learn More: Ultimate Guide to Building a World Class Team

Let’s look at $100 an hour tasks, like talking to qualified prospects, doing social media, managing pay-per-click campaigns, doing customer follow ups, and so on. Customer follow ups, for example, are super important, so you probably don’t want to categorize it as a $10 an hour task and delegate it out to someone who doesn’t do it right. You could, but your business might suffer as a result.

Now let’s look at $1,000 per hour tasks, like building your marketing or sales funnel. If you want to have a marketing automation sequence that is perfectly optimized, that’s a big undertaking and a big time commitment. But you know it’s worth it for you because it’s going to pay dividends down the road.

This is a task that you could do yourself if your company is smaller. Not only can you probably not afford to hire someone to do this, you definitely do not want to hire a $10 per hour or $100 per hour person to do a $1,000 per hour job.

Focus on the $10,000 per Hour Tasks

Finally, there are the $10,000 an hour tasks. If you’re making seven figures per year, these are the tasks that you and your partners, if you have any, should absolutely be focusing on.

Related Content: The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: How to Juggle Multiple Projects and Have a Life, Too

A lot of these high-priority tasks are things that sometimes only you can do. For me, it could be throwing an event or a dinner, or interviewing people on my Growth Everywhere podcast.

Growth Everywhere YouTube channel

Same thing with Marketing School—it has to be me personally doing this each time with Neil. Public speaking or podcasting requires me to actually be there in person to make the biggest impact.

But what I can probably start to offload are the live webinars that I do. Maybe somebody else can take that on. Maybe that becomes a $100 per hour task.

Planning, Prioritizing and Delegating

Once you’ve identified the $1,000 or $10,000 per hour tasks that you should be doing yourself, you want to make a game plan for how you’re going to tackle those tasks both on a daily basis and over time. If you need to have somebody else do that for you, like a project manager, then you’re basically out of control. You may no longer see the bigger picture.

On the other hand, the tasks that you’ve identified as able to be delegated, whether it’s a web development project or a new marketing campaign, you should absolutely not take on yourself, even if it is tempting. You need to find the right talent, give very specific instructions, and then take a big step back.

So try this out if you haven’t before. Create a task prioritization chart or matrix with $10, $100, $1,000, and $10,000 per hour categories. Prioritize your tasks and then share the document with your team as well so they know where you’re at and they know what you should be working on.

Remember, if you ever start to slip back into $10 per hour tasks such as project management and things like that, you need to get them off your plate immediately.

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

GE - Outsourcing The Passive Path to Growing Your Business

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.

The beauty of an online business is that it tends to be easier to scale than most traditional business models. However, in the case of Software as a Service (SaaS), some owners may find it difficult to both maintain a quality product and keep up with day-to-day operations.

Successful business owners know when and how to delegate to third parties. That means identifying areas of your business that don’t need your personal touch, and then finding the right person, agency or service to do it for you.

Here are three typical SaaS business operations to consider outsourcing:

Outsourcing - The Passive Path to Growing Your Business(1)1. Marketing

You built your business based in part on a brand identity designed to attract your target audience. “Build it and they will come” may work for a ballpark in a cornfield, but not so much in a SaaS business. You need marketing experts to create and promote your content to generate customer interest and increase sales. This expertise is easily outsourced either to individual freelancers or agencies.

It’s not just that it frees the business owner from hands-on marketing execution; it also brings in an outside, expert perspective from those already highly skilled in such areas as:

Read More: Timeless Optimization: Future-Proofing Your SEO

Outsourcing marketing functions is fairly typical among startup companies, particularly when you consider that the cost for a full-fledged marketing team with the necessary skills and knowledge can easily run into six figures. As pointed out in Forbes, smaller and newer companies also find it difficult to acquire top-notch, in-house talent because competitive opportunities elsewhere are just too plentiful.

Free Bonus Download: Get ready to receive more actionable info on timeless SEO! Click here to download it free.

2. Development and Product Maintenance

Whether or not to outsource product development and maintenance is a little more problematic than something like marketing or administrative support, particularly when deciding whether to go offshore.

Typically, routine IT development activities are outsourced overseas to take advantage of lower labor costs. While you are losing some direct control, off-shore developers are significantly less expensive than local contractors, not to mention direct employees.

The argument against outsourcing is that “hired hands” have much less invested in the company and therefore are less motivated to go “the extra mile” to achieve superior results. This might be exacerbated by offshore outsourcing where contractors have even less direct connection to you and your company. Potential cost savings may be offset by gaps in communication, performance lapses or poor quality of work that can result from hiring people who lack first-hand knowledge and experience about your company.

This is an area that has a direct bearing on your products and services. Perhaps the best rule of thumb here is what many manufacturers have learned: Offshore outsourcing can save you time and money when it comes to basic repetitive tasks that don’t require independent thinking or unique expertise. In those cases, you want someone closer to home, and possibly in-house.

That said, there are always certain skill sets you need for only a short time or for a particular project. Then it’s almost always best to outsource.

And keep in mind that the counter argument here is that contract employees are highly motivated to please you in order to retain you as a source of work, precisely because they are not guaranteed a set amount of hours.

Read More: The Statistical Case for Company Culture [infographic]

3. Customer Service

There’s a similar problem with whether to outsource your customer service. Quality of customer service can make or break a SaaS company (some estimate that as many as 90% of customers who experience poor customer service become ex-customers), so this is definitely not an area where you should cut corners. Take certain proactive steps first and consider outsourcing as a last resort, for special situations only.

Outsourcing - The Passive Path to Growing Your Business(1)

If customer support is a time-consuming task for you or your team, first examine your support tickets closely to identify any bugs, as well as missing, hidden or confusing features on your website. Take a look at any consumer data you have that can tell you what your users are searching for on your site. For instance, keyword searches can be insightful, as can content page navigation. Once you identify the most common issues, update your FAQ page to address them, and consider upping your in-app support.

Self-service is the most cost-effective way to provide customer support. Indeed, most of your customers are not only used to working out issues themselves, they prefer it—according to a Pew study, 91 percent of those surveyed favor referencing a knowledge base over contacting a company.

Pew Research Center study via Zendesk

The time you spend developing an easily-accessible and understandable knowledge base more than pays off in reducing your customer service. Moreover, the time you spend fixing bugs and problems not only reduces the strain on providing customer service, it results in a better product.

There will always be times, of course, when customers need to speak directly to you, whether by voice or an online chat. The last thing you want to do here is contract offshore because language and accent differences can be frustrating.

Free Bonus Download: Get ready to receive more actionable info on timeless SEO! Click here to download it free.

If you absolutely cannot spare your technical people to provide customer service, make sure contractors are thoroughly trained in your products—there’s nothing more annoying to a customer who has to wait for an answer while a rep is obviously scrolling through help pages. This does not inspire a lot of confidence in your brand. Still, that may end up costing you just as much as hiring in-house staff, so it might be best to reserve outsourcing customer service for slow periods only, or consider using automated voice and chat systems for those times.

How to Make Outsourcing Work

Whatever you’ve decided to outsource, you need to make sure it actually saves you time and money. Here are some things to consider:

Whether to hire a firm or an individual

Independent contractors can be less expensive, if only because you aren’t paying an agency’s overhead. Individual contractors carry certain risks, however, particularly if they work on-site. There are strict IRS rules for determining if someone is in fact an employee, regardless of whether or not you’ve hired them as a contractor. If you provide the contractor with equipment and office space, pay an hourly wage or weekly salary, and require a certain number of hours per week, the legal argument is that you are treating these people as bona fide employees, and thus are responsible for providing the same benefits as you do to regular workers.

Given that the whole point of contract workers is to eliminate employee overhead costs, it’s best to use a third-party agency to avoid such a contention. However, if the project is short-term and work is performed off-site, the independent contractor who has the precise skills you need could be the better option.

Where to find vendors and freelancers

Finding the right talent can be time consuming and overwhelming. A great way to start is to reach out to people you know who have outsourced their work before. Referrals are generally reliable and provide direct experience from a previous employer. Posting an ad on job sites like Indeed is always an option for freelancers to find you. There are also online platforms, such as Upwork, specific to connecting remote professionals to companies. If these options don’t work for you then signing up with an agency will connect you to their already established network of talent.


Making sure you feel comfortable

Check for references, industry experience and customer service levels. Ever hire a carpenter who doesn’t show up as expected because a bigger project came along and your small remodeling efforts got put on the back burner? Outsourcing firms can be guilty of the same. There’s always a certain level of trust involved when working with new people, but the more up-front due diligence you do means less time managing them later, never mind the possible aggravation if things don’t work out as planned.

Defining the terms and length of engagement

Though it’s much easier to end an outsourcing relationship than dismiss an employee (or reconstruct an internal organization), it’s always better to set clear expectations and the consequences if they are not met.

Particular things to keep in mind are the handling and control of customer data, as well as vendor responsibilities to manage the termination of a project and/or transition of responsibilities to other entities. This can help you avoid termination fees, as can limiting the contract to a fixed-period—it’s easier to say goodbye at the end of a six-month contract, as opposed to trying to terminate an open-ended agreement.

Free Bonus Download: Get ready to receive more actionable info on timeless SEO! Click here to download it free.

Final Thoughts

Outsourcing is more than a way to cut costs—it’s how to efficiently run a business.

If you are about to sell your business, of course you want to make your bottom line as attractive as possible. Outsourcing is one way to achieve it. More importantly, it’s a way to run your company efficiently and achieve your goals from start to finish. In advance of a sale, a buyer will look favorably at a passive business model and an owner who has made strategic choices about which operations to outsource.

Of course, reducing the amount of time you spend on your business is just one step toward developing a business exit strategy. You’ll need to examine the whole picture – including traffic, finances, technical, operational and legal – to determine what’s needed in order to set yourself up for a successful sale.

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Listen on Spotify

Today I’m going to list out some online and offline resources you can go to learn more about finance and operations. A lot of focus goes to product, sales and customer service. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but you do need to get your finance and operations down too.

[spoiler title=’Transcript’ collapse_link=’true’]

Hello and welcome to another edition of Growth Bites.

Today we are going to be talking about where you can go online and also offline to learn about finance and operations in general.

We’re all focused on building a great product. We’re all focused on building a great service. We’re all focused on sales. That’s great stuff but, if you’re an entrepreneur or if you’re a senior executive, you have to get your finance and operations down. And I certainly have a lot to work on when it comes to that stuff. And really, the stuff that you might learn when you’re trying to get an MBA, but most entrepreneurs doesn’t have an MBA. So, there’s a lot of good resources online that I found and I do know that there’s a gap that I’m missing when it comes to this stuff. And I’m not just talking aobut the balance sheet type of stuff. I’m talking about getting a little more granular as to where you should be looking at such as a CVP analysis and things like that.

So, what I like to do is when I go on YouTube, there is a channel called MBA Bullshit. And he talks all about different Finance and more operational stuff that would be helpful to you as a entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur. So, that’s MBA Bullshit. Check out that channel. It’s a great one. Khan Academy has been pretty good as well. What Simon Con’s initial videos when you look at economics, you look at markets, you look at finance. In general, he teaches some good stuff around. At least, helps you establish some good foundation that go off for first. By no means, it’s going to replace a course. Definitely, if you do have an opportunity to take a course, go on and do it. What I’ve heard is that, I’ve heard some great things about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. Not sure, if it’s just exclusive to L.A. I’m hoping that it’s around the United States. But they have port about 500 million dollars about this program. It’s really intensive and there’s a lot of commitment. You probably dedicating, we’re probably talking about 8-10 hours a week, just to learn and just to really get your hands dirty when it comes to business. So, they’re going to put you on a cohort with other entrepreneurs in your space to interview you as well. And then, you get into it. It’s completely free to do it. You just have to be committed. And if you even missed one class, they’ll kick you out. So, definitely check it out. Goldman Sachs is teaching something like this. It’s worth doing it, especially if it’s free. Just to get yourself to the next level when it comes to knowing the stuff.

So, again it’s MBA Bullshit. That’s the first one. Second one is Khan Academy. Both of these are, they’ll get you the rudimentary understanding. Other than that, you can buy some books and continue to Google around, check out some other YouTube videos. But I found those two to be a good starting point. And then, when you want to go a little more deeper, check out Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.


Resources from this Episode:

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Eric Siu:

Free 1st Chapter Of Leveling Up

Submit your email below for free instant access