Outsource to Grow Your Small Business

January 25, 2018

Building, and running a business is tough, especially when you're operating with a lean team and a tight budget. Some days it seems like there just isn't enough time, money or manpower to do it all. That’s why this time of year is the perfect time to focus on what you do best, and look at ways to outsource the rest.

There’s a misconception that a great company must be great at everything. This could not be further from the truth. Focus on your strengths and outsource whatever is possible. There’s no need to create positions to handle just one or two tertiary tasks, when you can outsource the tasks outside your area of expertise. In fact, the funds that you save on staff can be redirected to other areas of your company, and keep your company lean. Outsourcing also allows you to form valuable partnerships, and ultimately lets you focus on your business.

Before you outsource anything, it’s always advisable to have a clear set of business needs and goals in mind. This will help you find a freelancer or firm with the skillset that lines up with your vision. It is also a good idea to ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is there a competitive advantage to doing the task in-house?
  • Is it a specialized service that doesn’t need to be handled full-time?
  • Is it a commodity--something someone else can do better and more efficiently?
  • Are the costs of the service lower than what it would take in time and manpower to get it done in-house?

Once you decide to outsource, the big question is, where to start. While you can outsource everything from customer service to logistics and shipping, the following areas tend to be top choices for many business owners.

Payroll – Many companies often initially process payroll themselves because they consider in-house processing to be more cost-effective than outsourcing, or they want to maintain control over payroll data to handle last-minute changes. However, even the most meticulous professional with the best of intentions can find payroll to be a headache, and a liability. Payroll services offer an attractive and valuable alternative to in-house processing, and can provide less expensive, simpler means to stay up to date on the latest policies, paying your employees, filing your taxes, and performing a host of other duties.

Marketing - When companies decide to do their marketing themselves, they may have the capability, but not the time. Outsourcing marketing activities may initially seem daunting, however, if it is approached in a systematic and strategic way, it can lead not only to more effective marketing, but to a stronger, more successful business. Hiring an external firm, or independent contractor ensures that marketing moves to the top of the priority list – and your company's marketing efforts will receive the time and energy they deserve.

IT – The nature of modern data is complex and becoming increasingly difficult to manage - hence the term “big data.” As a result, it’s incredibly difficult to manage data, hardware and computing resources in-house, which is why more and more companies are reaching out to third-party managed IT providers. With a third-party IT support service, you also have additional resources and high levels of technology that you may otherwise have not have access to, all which helps you stay competitive.

Bottom line, outsourcing is a good option when you have back-office functions that are complicated in nature, and the size of your company is preventing you from performing them at a consistent and reasonable cost. As your business needs change and grow, outsourcing can save you time and money, and allow you to let go of some of the details and focus on what you do best, building your business.

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