Jim Huebner
24 August, 2021

There’s a time and place to do things yourself. When it comes to survival, you can definitely make the case for doing it yourself. I remember watching Rambo for the first time and being in awe of his grit when he stitched up his own wound. No doctors around. No nurse to hold his hand or to clean the cut with antiseptic. No painkillers. He just did what he had to do, even if it meant doing it himself and ending up with a nasty scar and some gangrene to boot.

But here’s the deal: Most of us in business are NOT in a situation similar to Rambo’s. We are getting along with a base set of business (albeit some more easily than others). We are paying our bills, seeing customers, and thinking about growing to the next level. And I think I can safely say that VERY few of us are in a place where we need to stitch up our own wound. At least I hope!

So here’s a question:

  • When is it right to do things yourself, and when should someone else do it?

My dad was an attorney, and my mom says he had his own philosophy on this subject. If he could pay someone less to do a job than what he charged per hour, then he was happy to pay them to do it.

I discussed the concept of building an internal marketing team with a client once. He told me that for a number of years, he had run an in-house agency at another company and said he would never try that again… unless he was convinced that bringing it in-house would meet two criteria. “And it MUST meet BOTH criteria,” he added.

Here they are…

We can consistently do it better.
We can consistently do it cheaper.

It is a similar philosophy to my dad’s and one that makes a lot of sense. It’s the same reason Huebner Marketing doesn’t own a printing press. We might be able to do it better, but it wouldn’t be cheaper. Conversely, we might be able to do it cheaper, but certainly not better.

Here’s an exercise that might help make the in-house vs. outsource decisions a little easier.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  • Are there things we are doing in-house that are keeping us from investing our resources in our strengths, in our sales channels, or in our products and services?
  • Is there anything we are paying someone else to do that we could actually do cheaper AND better ourselves because we have more expertise and capacity?

While there’s a little Rambo in all of us, let me caution you to make sure it doesn’t keep you from doing what you do best. “Nasty scars and gangrene” can cause serious problems down the road.