It's been years since I mowed my own lawn. Why? I have been blessed enough to afford to pay people to pick up dog poop and mow my lawn.
Common business logic tells us to focus on what's important. If you make $50 per hour and you can pay someone $40 to mow your lawn, you are $10 ahead if it takes you an hour to do it yourself.
Seth Godin had another way of explaining this in one of his blog posts…
Chores… They’re essential. The house begins to stink if we don’t take out the garbage.
But at work, while they might be essential, they may not be important. At least, not important enough for us to spend a lot of focus on. Chores are: Repeatable, Proven, Low risk, Fairly impersonal
The truth is that if we stop doing chores, we have to do real work instead. The things that aren’t repeatable or proven. The things that are emotionally difficult, creatively challenging or simply requiring exploration and guts to pursue. If we succeed at this work, there will be plenty of money to pay to get the chores done.
I believe that chores, and what's important are always in the eye of the beholder. Also, circumstances can change your perspective over time.
The Grass Is Always Greener
In Illinois, the lawns were mostly cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass. Here in North Carolina, they are warm-season Bermuda grass. It's very different.
In Illinois, we had to cut the grass every week, especially in the spring. Here in NC, I have cut the grass only 3 times this year (so far).
In Illinois, it made sense to pay around $200 a month to have a crew show up and cut the grass every week. Landscapers just won't show up here when the grass needs cutting.
So I invested $600 in a battery-powered mower, trimmer, and blower. It takes about 1 hour to mow, trim and blow. Not only will it pay for itself in months, but it is also so much easier than those old gas and electric tools I had before (which I gave away when I got the landscapers).
And the grass is truly greener on other lawns in my neighborhood. With all new construction, some are greener than others, while some are just weed farms. It depends on what time of year the sod was laid down. Mine was put in last August, so I had to water the crap out of it. I did pay to have it mowed a few times last fall. Mowing it myself allows me to understand and create a relationship… with my lawn!
Caring For Your Business Landscape
Do you view marketing as a chore? I like to think of it as an investment. Yes, you can buy tools (or rent them in the form of a subscription), but they require some time and some learning to get them to pay for themselves.
Just investing in a mower, trimmer, and blower is not enough. We also need to invest some time to use them. In business, the question we all have to answer is, “It may be cheaper and faster, but could it be better to outsource?”
I always look at chores and work from a “Cheaper-Better-Faster” point of view. You can only pick two!
Parts of my marketing are outsourced (proofreading, posting, emailing), but not writing. It's possible to do, but it would become less personal and more generic.
I am willing to invest one hour per week in writing this, and another to create and edit my podcast.
The other thing I will not outsource is relationships. When you comment on my posts, I am always the person to respond.
Your thoughts and comments are too important to me to outsource a response. It's all good to pay to have that done until someone posts a memory or asks a question that only you can and should reply to.
Outsourcing vs. Rightsourcing
Outsourcing usually means that all parts of a system are handled by a vendor. I doubt anyone could find a landscaping company to trim and blow after we cut the lawn. They need to make money on all three steps to keep their business profitable.
Also, it's much faster and more efficient with a crew. They have to pay them all to be there, so they won't do only part of the job.
The same goes for marketing. Agencies need to pay their staff so they generally find clients that utilize the crew (of employees). This can lead to complacency when they handle all parts (including posting and responding to social media).
Rightsourcing your marketing (or sales) is more difficult because it involves a dance between vendors and you and your staff.
It involves you because you have to be accessible to help create the vision and content. Also, it requires you and your staff to engage with the content being shared.
The other main benefit is that you only pay for people you need at the time you need them. You get charged when writers write, designers design, and posters post.
This systemization only works when you and your sales team are actively involved by sharing your ideas and experiences, and engaging with current, past, and prospective clients when they reach out with questions and needs.
In future posts, I will discuss how each part of Rightsourcing actually works and why each piece is so important to the system actually working. When it does, it organically generates new business, while increasing revenues from existing clients. It all works together better than anything I have tried or seen in the past.
By the way, although I am mowing my own lawn, I am paying landscapers to dig flower beds, plant flowers, and mulch those areas. I know what my body and business can handle as far as making my home and its yard look its best. The grass? I am still learning there!
“Outsourcing is inevitable, and I don't think it's necessarily treating people like things.”
– Stephen Covey
Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about how you can integrate your sales team with your business communications! Are you engaging your sales team's ideas in new content creation? Are you actively involved in the content creation process? And, are you engaged with an agency or a flexible team of experts? Can your business benefit from Rightsourcing?
To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.