Outsourcing, for many people the word has a bad connotation as it brings to mind factories in China or call centers in India. However, outsourcing is a legitimate strategic option for many businesses, including small businesses, as it allows the opportunity to reduce costs while focusing time and attention or those activities which are vital for the business to succeed. With that in mind, here are four service providers every small business.
- IT Staff
Unless your business is fixing computers and maintaining networks, odds are that you will want to outsource this function. Sure, you might keep one person on your team who can help in a pinch, making sure that every computer is properly updated and clear of any viruses or malware is a form of drudgery which most small business owners can do without.
Besides saving you time, outsourcing your IT staff will probably save you money as well. The reason is simple – you won’t need to have a fulltime IT person on your payroll. Even entry-level IT people demand a premium salary and as such, you are probably better off only paying for IT support when you need it.
- Accounting & Bookkeeping
Here is another function, which more a chore than anything else. Sure, keeping your books in order will help you to make better decisions about the course your business will take. However, it takes time and competence to ensure that every purchase order, receipt, etc. are properly entered into your system.
As such, you are probably better served by choosing which specializes in providing bookkeeping services for small businesses. Not only will this fill understand the needs of small businesses, but they will also free up time to control where your business is going instead of where it has been.
Another benefit of outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping is that you can leverage your provider’s experience when it comes to things like cash management and tax planning. Both tend to be the Achilles heel of many small business owners who are usually very good at the technical aspect of their industry but not the principles of accounting.
Lastly, choosing an outside bookkeeper or accountant to work with your small business means that you will be less likely to pay penalties for late filings. As such, outsourcing your books can help to save your business more than just time and money – it can also save you the hassle of having to deal with the government.
One problem faced by almost every small business is finding the right people. While businesses such as restaurants and construction companies might find a hard time outsourcing their staff, other businesses can use the internet to find the help they need when they need it.
Sites such as Upwork has changed the way work is done and this has opened a world of experience which small businesses can tap into. In this way, a small business owner can find a designer in Thailand or a computer programmer in Canada to help with the jobs they are trying to complete.
Beyond these marketplaces for freelancers, the internet has also made it easier to manage the recruitment process. Just think about it, when was the last time you placed a classified ad in your local newspaper to fill a job opening?
Not only are these sites helping small businesses to cast a wider net in the search for talent, but they are increasingly helping to manage the recruitment process as well. In doing so these portals are transforming from job boards to a personnel manager for many small businesses.
- Sales & Marketing
In the old days, a small business probably needed a team of salespeople to maintain contact with potential customers. In addition, small business owners needed to be constantly involved with the local community to make sure they had their pulse on what was happening in their own backyards.
This is not how sales and marketing work these days. Sure, you can’t hide from your customers and being involved in your community will ensure that people know who you are and what you do.
These days small business owners can outsource a lot of the grunt work related to sales and marketing – in some cases even having your customers become your sales team. How is this possible? For starters, social media has changed the game for companies large and small and this often means allowing your customers greater leeway in defining your brand.
Beyond this automation tools have helped to reduce the amount of time it takes to pull together a marketing campaign which delivers an ROI.
At the click of a button (or two) a small business owner can draft and schedule their social media campaigns, design collateral, and even order copies. Don’t forget your website, as these days it is easier than ever before to build a stunning website without the need to waste days or weeks on learning how to code.
There you have it, four functions every small business should outsource – doing so will not only save you time and money, it will also help you to take your small business to the next level.