Learn how outsourcing some operations can grow your bottom line.
As a small business owner, you often have to wear many hats — if not all of them. Reputation is everything in business, and the best owners know they must be hands-on if they want to have happy customers. But, as a business owner, if you’re finding no time left in your day to pursue growth initiatives, it might be time to let go of the reins a bit.
Ask yourself what you want to focus on and where you see your business in five or 10 years. Being proactive rather than reactive can mean the difference between long-term success and failure. Determining your business’s strengths and primary services can help shed some light on areas that might be better outsourced.
Technology has made outsourcing for small businesses more accessible than ever. Working with freelancers and subcontractors, who can be located anywhere in the world, can save on overhead like payroll taxes, health insurance, worker’s compensation and even office space. If you view these vendors as business partners and learn to trust them, they can grow with you and become an integral part of the business.
Getting referrals from other business owners, your accountant, lawyer or banker is a good way to find reliable vendors for outsourcing. Security risks must always be considered, especially when it comes to financial information or health benefits. Fully vetting subcontractors and sharing only the information that is absolutely necessary with them are some ways to protect you and your business.
The most used services for outsourcing are IT, payroll and data entry, web and graphic design, executive assistance, writing and project management. Many of these are not central to generating profit for a business, depending on the type of work the company does. Functions like payroll are often routine and could waste valuable time and energy on a talented employee whose time could be better spent elsewhere. Others, like design and project management, might be temporary and needed only during certain times of the year.
Outsourcing some services can cost less than having them performed in house. Rather than paying for a full-time staff person with benefits, you’re paying only for what you really need to be performed by a qualified professional.
As outsourcing becomes more of a way of life for small businesses, consider going “outside” your business so that you can focus on the big picture from the inside.
Most common tasks small businesses choose to outsource:
Repetitive tasks: Data entry is a good example of a highly repetitive task. While you may use your in-house staff for this, it may be a better idea to outsource this and employ the in-house staff for more useful work.
Specialized tasks: IT support can be the right example of this type of task. While you may need IT support for your network, you may not need to appoint a full-time employee for this purpose. In such a situation, a contractor may be ideal for this specialized work.
Expert tasks: Financial analyst is a good example of a position requiring a high level of expertise but that you can still easily outsource. It may be difficult for a small business to pay for highly skilled executives. However, you can appoint a financial analyst on a contractual basis at a much lower cost.
Source: Small Business Trends
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