Think outsourcing is just for medium and large-sized businesses?
While you may not have the need to outsource a major payroll process or have customer service taken care of overseas, your small business will benefit from having various tasks outsourced to contracted professionals.
One of the best advantages is the money you’ll save:
- no employee costs for work done by outsourced professionals
- no office space needed for outsourced workers
- you generally pay for deliverables instead of time, possibly saving you money from inefficient employees
- core business tasks can be performed with increased focus leading to greater energy and thought put into the direct revenue-generating activities
Small businesses and organizations outsource as a permanent plan or as a short-term solution; to bridge a gap in staffing or seasonal influxes of the business and to assist with work-flow through start-up and growth phases.
One of the greatest things about outsourcing is the flexibility. You can have an outside business take over a whole function of your business operations or just a part of it. You can hire someone for a short-term project or as a long-term service provider.
Customizing Your Outsourcing Experience
Outsourcing is definitely not a one-way-fits-all practice. Every business has a unique situation in relation to the skills available from the owner(s) and employees and how they are best served from outside help.
One service business may have available resources to easily and competently handle the day-to-day bookkeeping tasks and only need an outside provider to take care of payroll and government remittances. While another service business in the same industry feels like anything to do with accounting and money management is best to outsource.
Difficulty in finding suitable employees can also cause some businesses to look at outsourcing. Trust and dependability are needed for many positions, but these virtues seem to be lacking in a certain percentage of the workforce. Whether the task is dealing with finances or just completing a job to specifications, an outside company is bound by a certain level of customer service if they’re looking to grow and expand their client base.
We all how quickly the news of poor service can spread and that works as a great motivator for excellent customer service!
In addition, there are no sick days to get in the way or training that you need to oversee.
Popular Small Business Processes to Outsource
Any reduction in overhead leaves more money for operational growth (or just more profit) and frees up time for the key movers and shakers of your business. Outsourced processes are easily tracked for continuity, expense control and risk management. And for the business owner that may be looking for an improved work/life balance, it just may be the way to get it!
Almost any work that is done with a computer can be outsourced. Communication through online platforms has expanded to the degree that many employees actually do most of their work from home, only stopping in to the office once a week or less.
With video, email and a multitude of other online programs that make virtual services easy to track and deliver, outsourcing has become a dependable way for businesses to cut costs and service providers to have more freedom running their own business.
In the big picture, outsourcing is a beneficial situation for small businesses, virtual service providers and all of society. The freelance economy is a growing field and expected to make for 50% of the workforce by 2020.
While pretty much anything that can be delivered via the internet can be performed outside of your business, here are a few of the more popular tasks that you may find especially beneficial to outsource:
Depending on the size of your business, your marketing needs could include some promotion materials and an online presence, or a full-on strategy that includes content marketing, email automation and 5 other daily tasks that get your message out to the right audience. Whether you outsource a few tasks or all of your marketing, having professional input from outside your organization is a great way to gain a perspective that may not be available from you and your internal team.
Website design and maintenance would be one of the top outsourcing tasks for any size business. Every business needs a professional representation online and very few have the skills to have a custom website developed.
Content writing is also a regularly contracted marketing task. Writing blog posts to have fresh website content, creating e-books and case studies to highlight intriguing business features and having a professional manage engaging social media profiles is a cost effective way to keep on top of the marketing game.
Keeping track of the numbers is not only a necessary task to take care of the income and expenses, but is a vital way to indicate where some operating changes could be made.
That is, if you maintain proper records and view accurate reporting.
Bookkeeping is probably one of the most common outsourced finance tasks. But having outside professionals take care of payroll and government remittances is a close second.
It’s also helpful to have those people that like working with numbers so much, they actually decided to do it as a career. They instinctively look over the big picture of your finances and pass along any areas where you could improve in relation to your financial matters.
All other office tasks, big and small, can take up a lot of time and take away from the main focus of what your business provides. Some you just have to do yourself because they need that personal touch from the main operators of the business. However, there is so much that can be taken care of by anybody with the right skills. In fact there’s probably many tasks that can be performed better by someone that has focused their career on certain aspects. Which means the owners and employees could be freed up to put their energy on the stuff that really makes the money.
You can hire a virtual assistant to do pretty much anything. The administrative processes that are best to outsource are dependent on the business structure, skills available from in-house individuals, and time availability.
Monitoring and responding to emails, setting up travel plans and business meetings, creating presentations and managing data are a few of the more common small business needs to outsource.
Be Part of a Growing Industry
In addition to the cost savings and improved efficiency, the outsourcing advantages go beyond the direct benefit of getting the work done better. The big-picture benefit of a better balance between a career and home life happens on both sides of the outsourcing picture.
When we don’t all have to be in the same building to get work done, then why do it. The freelance professionals get to have a rewarding career but don’t have to waste time on a daily commute. Small businesses still get to have team of professionals driving success, but they don’t have to pay out all the added expenses of have qualified employees.
It certainly works for us and our clients. And with the ever-growing industry of freelancers and software platforms that connect businesses with the freelance workforce, you can be sure its a trend that will continue to increase over time.
Steph has been building businesses, mostly from home, for over 10 years. She provides virtual marketing services and consulting and also coaches entrepreneurs to start and grow their business from home. Steph educates her two boys at home and they are all comfortably nestled in trees in Central Ontario. She loves being a home-body and building up her permaculture property.