Five Reasons Firms Fail to Successfully Outsource

This article was contributed by Emily LaRusch, Founder of Back Office Betties, a boutique receptionist and intake company exclusively serving small law firms. She has an insatiable thirst for learning and is the happiest coaching and collaborating within the entrepreneurial community. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Associated Press, BBC News and serves as an educator for Inmates to Entrepreneurs. 

Running your own business is hard work and you don’t have to go it alone. So why does it seem like some practitioners have it all figured out and you’re left feeling like outsourcing will never work?

That’s easy…they know the five steps to maximize success. 

What is a fractional team?

A fractional team integrates employees and executives with a high level of expertise who share their time and services with companies in a part-time capacity. In essence, a firm can get the same results as they would by hiring an in-house employee without having to hire someone full-time. 

Some examples of fractional services include:

When is the right time to hire a fractional employee?

Have you found yourself at that point of being extremely busy but can’t quite sacrifice any income to hire someone full-time? This is the perfect time to consider offloading tasks. Freelancers and agencies alike are everywhere you turn ready to help with anything from a one-time project to ongoing support. 

When I found myself at this stage, I was not-so-gently nudged by numerous entrepreneurs into pulling the trigger and hiring a virtual assistant. My first hire was a freelance VA for 15 hours a week. I worried about being able to give her enough work to keep her busy but quickly found that the more she took on, the more we grew. Within months, I brought her on full-time. If you fear not having enough work or income to support a long-term commitment, using an agency or freelance contractor is a great way to start off. 

Ready for those five success secrets? 

Even though fractional employees are highly skilled experts, fractional hiring is not a quick fix or silver bullet for your firm! Set your firm up for success by doing these 5 things:

  1. Put your manager hat on. Many attorneys toss their hands in the air and declare outsourcing a failure when a big mistake happens. As a manager of your resource, you need to provide corrective feedback and set expectations for future behavior. Provide feedback and allow for corrections but don’t tolerate repeat mistakes with no resolution.
  2. Be deliberate about finding the right resources. You might need help right now, but the long-term success of your firm depends on finding the right fit for your business goals. Hire slow, fire fast.   
  3. Prepare a comprehensive and in-depth onboarding plan, similar to what you would give to a full-time employee. Make sure they have access to all of the resources they need to help your firm. 
  4. Take time to determine your biggest needs. What blind spots exist? How will bringing in a fractional resource improve operations at your firm? Spend one week writing down each task you perform or where you feel stuck to help you decide on the most urgent needs.
  5. Evaluate for culture fit. Your hire should come in understanding the mindset and values of your firm. If they don’t, you could risk friction between the resource and others at your firm. When I hired a resource without checking for culture fit, I looked bad in front of my team and could see their frustration when the resource was late or missed meetings. I had to replace this vendor when it was clear they didn’t share our values.

Following these steps to hiring will help you grow your team and increase the capacity of your firm without breaking the bank.

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