Outsourcing Options for Small Business
When you started your business, you might have been able to do everything yourself. Maybe you needed to save money in those crucial first months, or perhaps you took on extra duties because you had the time to take care of them on your own. If your business has now grown to the point where the hours it takes to manage every aspect of it outnumbers the 24 hours in a day, you might want to think about outsourcing.
Outsourcing is often a great business decision. Your time is worth a lot, and it might be better off being spent on building your business and performing the work your business provides instead of sending out invoices, processing payroll, or struggling to learn how to build a website.
These days, nearly every function of a small business can be outsourced to either a freelancer, independent contractor, or to another company. It’s up to you as the business owner when and which functions to outsource, but experts recommend outsourcing work that is highly repetitive or requires specialized knowledge or skills. With these guidelines in mind, here are just a few outsourcing options for your consideration.
Some say that word-of-mouth referrals are the best form of marketing, especially because it’s free. However, at some point—better sooner than later—you’ll need additional marketing services. Virtually no business can function without a website, and although there are some great DIY website tools available, your best bet is to engage the services of a graphic designer for this task. The designer can also help you create a logo and images that you can use on business cards and on social media. Your designer can probably recommend someone to help you with printing, and perhaps a social media expert to build and manage your business profiles. These are must-do marketing tasks, but after you’re more established, you may consider outsourcing additional services like paid online ads, content creation, or email marketing.
“Accounting” is a broad term that for your small business could include payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, tax preparation, and much more. Unless you’re actually an accountant or another type of financial services provider, outsourcing these functions is a great idea. Some vendors offer multiple services under one umbrella. Fully Accountable, for example, can serve as your business’ e-commerce accountant and finance department; they also offer the services of professional financial advisors. If you’re still licking stamps and envelopes once a month, consider outsourcing your statement printing and mailing services; in addition to the time you’ll save by outsourcing, you’ll also avoid wear and tear on your office printer and your tongue, too!
Sure, when your small business technology consisted of a laptop and mobile phone, you had everything under control. But as a business grows, so do its needs for upgraded technology. If you have several employees and an office, you’ll need all of your computers and your phone systems to be connected to communicate properly with one another within a network. An IT professional can definitely help you with that initial setup as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrades. Another benefit of outsourcing IT is that your IT consultant will be able to keep you and your systems up-to-date with the latest technological improvements and security safeguards.
Other services that can be outsourced include customer service, human resources, administrative tasks, and even sales. For most businesses, outsourcing is a smart financial decision, and can actually help your business grow more rapidly by freeing up cash flow, letting you focus on what you do best, giving you access to experts, and giving you greater flexibility as a business owner.