VENTEUR spoke with Marc Delacroix, Chief Growth Officer at Sharry, a workplace experience platform for offices and office buildings. Delacroix is primarily responsible for marketing, optimization, and the automation of processes and cooperation between teams. Before joining Sharry, Delacroix worked for three international tech startups, two of which successfully sold to large international corporations.
What tasks should startup founders consider outsourcing, and why?
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. One of the main tasks of a founder is to identify your weaknesses and find the best people to help you with those weaknesses. Depending on whether those areas can utilize a full-time employee, you decide if you should hire a new colleague or outsource it to an agency or a freelancer. Generally, accounting, payroll, and recruitment can be outsourced.
What tasks should startup founders not consider outsourcing, and why?
One thing I would never outsource is the development of the actual product. This requires long-term ownership from the internal team. I have seen too many times how startups spend years fixing technical debt created by cheap outsourcing.
What steps should be taken to outsource specific tasks or projects, and why?
Check past projects and references. Many outsourcing companies are very good at selling themselves but not great regarding the actual work. Thankfully, in every country and city, there are many other founders that you can ask for recommendations. I would also avoid outsourcing stuff to friends and family. You should find the best people for the job. This is what VC capital is there for, and these days even super-early stage projects can raise a pre-seed/seed of $100k-$500k quite easily.
What is the best way to approach outsourcing tasks or projects to reduce uncertainty along the way, and why?
Well, agencies generally provide you with a better guarantee of continuity than freelancers. But in my experience, the best specialists do not work for agencies. So, finding great freelancers with solid references would be my approach. Regarding tasks/areas where there is only one correct way of doing things (like accounting or payroll), I would favor outsourcing immediately. I would be more careful regarding business automation, marketing automation, and other high-complexity and high-impact areas.
What questions should startup founders ask contractors when looking to outsource tasks or projects, and why?
I would ask what projects with similar challenges they worked on before. What exactly did they do and how did they do it, and what were some measurable outcomes? What mistakes do they think companies are typically making in that area? The inability to answer such questions would be a red flag.