As a small business owner or even a manager, are you usually tempted to do everything by yourself? If so, you really need to resist it. This article will help you identify those tasks every small business owner should outsource so that you can start to do so today.
As a business owner, choose to do the things that you are passionate about.
Also do things that you’re good at, that energize you, and that brings in money.
Leave everything else to someone else.
When you focus your time and energy on the essential or “core” things, you tend to accomplish more.
You stand a better chance of achieving success and making your small business grow.
Tasks Every Small Business Owner Should Outsource
Big businesses have been using strategic outsourcing for some time now.
An increasing number of small businesses are following suit.
Business leaders now recognize the powerful impact that outsourcing services can have on their businesses’ output, growth, and bottom lines.
Recent developments in technology have made outsourcing in business a more accessible and affordable strategy even for small firms and start-up businesses.
Outsourcing to contractors has become quite convenient.
You can outsource to people from anywhere in the world .
You can hire extremely qualified professionals who are now contracting their expertise and services in various fields.
For example, human resource management, accounting, graphic design, web design, IT services, marketing, virtual assistant services, and many more.
It is not surprising to find more and more business leaders drawing up outsourcing plans for their companies.
When Is the Best Time To Seriously Consider Strategic Outsourcing?
Many business analysts recommend that you should start using outsourcing services as soon as your cash flow allows it.
If you are facing the following situations listed below, it is a good time to outsource.
- Lack of expertise
- No time
- The need to grow
Benefits Of Outsourcing
Your company gets many long-term benefits from wise outsourcing.
Some of the most important advantages of outsourcing include the following.
It allows you to;
Effectively outsourcing certain tasks helps you save money.
Outsourcing contractors don’t have too many overhead expenses.
They pay their workers.
However, they don’t have to provide insurance, workers’ compensation, vacation leaves, medical assistance, among others.
This is true, especially if they are based in the Philippines, China, India, or some other non-Western country.
Hence, you can expect their rates to be very reasonable.
Outsourcing allows you to save on big expenditures.
If you start outsourcing in the early stages of your enterprise, you will be able to put the money into more productive use elsewhere in your company.
You will be able to invest it in revenue-producing activities.
Begin New Projects Right Away
If you handle a project in-house, you need weeks or months to prepare for it.
You have to look for the right people, coach and train them, and give them the support they require.
When you outsource this same project, however, the startup process is minimal.
You just have to look for the right outsourcing firm and the project is as good as done.
Put All Your Energy And Time Into Your Core Business
Your business, like most businesses, has limited resources.
You and your people have only enough time and attention to go around.
Minor activities don’t directly influence your company’s growth.
However, they can use up a lot of your resources.
Manage wisely by putting your resources where they matter most.
Invest more in areas such as serving your clients, growing your business, and bringing in more profits.
Outsource the tasks that don’t directly help you achieve your company’s objectives.
Get An Equal Chance To Succeed
Outsourcing levels the playing field when it comes to using support services.
A large company has the resources to maintain first-rate support services to help them accomplish things.
If you are a small business owner, you probably can’t afford to do the same.
An outsourcing plan enables you to act big.
In other words, it provides you the same economies of expertise, productivity, and scale that a larger company takes for granted.
It Reduces The Risk Of Failure
Every business faces risk.
Financial conditions, competition, the market, government regulations, and technologies – all these can change so fast.
Outsourcing puts you together with people with the experience and know-how to help you avoid or reduce the risk in their particular areas of expertise.
Problems Of Outsourcing
There are certain things you need to be aware of that may make your outsourcing experience less than ideal.
Total Loss Of Control
You can’t avoid losing some control when you outsource work.
Therefore, the best thing you can do about this is to provide clear direction and keep communication and feedback channels open.
By doing this, you ensure that things are going according to your expectations.
You don’t see your outsourcing partner every day.
He/She may even live in a place with a different time zone.
This puts a degree of limitation in your communication.
Get around this potential drawback by underscoring the need for communication.
Establish how you want to communicate with your partner; is it by instant messaging, video call, email, or phone?
See to it that your partner has access to a strong and consistently reliable internet connection.
Problems With Quality
You don’t want to run the risk of outsourcing work to people who fail to meet your criteria.
For this reason, you should do everything you can to choose the right partner.
Establish key performance indicators upfront.
Also, set regular evaluation periods so you are able to assess how well your partner is working.
The Risk Of Destroying Your Good Customer Relationships
If you are outsourcing customer or technical support, give your partner all the information she needs.
The data will help her meet your customers’ expectations.
It would also help to maintain the positive relationships you have already established with your customers.
Tasks Every Small Business Owner Should Outsource
Effectively outsourcing tasks help business owners reduce expenses.
Similarly, it allows you to put in more revenue for activities that bring operational growth.
It also lets you concentrate on growing your business.
And simultaneously, it frees up your time and helps you achieve a better work/life balance.
If you feel that the advantages of outsourcing outweigh the problems of outsourcing, it is time to give your tasks a long hard look and determine which ones to outsource.
The following are tasks every small business owner should outsource.
Administrative And Scheduling Tasks
As a business owner, you tend to spend more time on an endless stream of small tasks that tend to eat up your time when you don’t outsource them.
Some of these tasks include answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, taking messages, checking your voicemail and email, taking care of customer support, and so on.
Don’t allow such tasks to bog you down.
For instance, hire a virtual assistant.
As a small business owner, you need to outsource in order to plan, strategize, and take care of core tasks and processes to grow your business.
You can’t afford to waste your time on repetitive tasks that can easily be handled by a virtual assistant.
Get rid of “busy” work so you can focus on the big picture.
Payroll work is not limited to taking care of your employees’ salary payouts.
It requires the grasp of important information like tax laws, labor requirements, and regulations.
If you are not well-versed or trained in such matters, you run the risk of making omissions, mistakes, and improper filings.
Furthermore, these errors can result in the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) levying huge fines against you.
A single mistake can set off tax audits that may eventually cost your business a lot of money.
You don’t have to handle your business payroll.
You don’t even have to hire an accountant as a full-time employee.
Simply look for reliable service and outsource the job.
Stop worrying about making costly payroll-related mistakes.
Outsource the job and free up your time (and your mind).
Consequently, you can concentrate on efficiently running your business.
Bookkeeping And Other Financial Services
Many small businesses opt to outsource bookkeeping for simple reasons.
It is one of the tasks that a business owner usually struggles with and often neglects.
As your business grows, the task of handling your books becomes more complex.
You need to put in control someone who knows what he is doing.
Outsource bookkeeping and other financial services.
A seasoned bookkeeper can do the job fast and accurately.
He/she can keep you updated with the financial information you need to make good decisions about running your business.
Don’t wait for tax season before hiring a bookkeeper to do your accounting and tax preparation.
Outsource this service and enjoy the benefits right now.
You can outsource bookkeeping and other financial services like accounts payable, accounts receivable, and invoicing to a financial consultant.
You can even ask him/her to include financial reporting, financial analysis, and financial planning, and ask for a lower rate.
Chances are that you may be worried about outsourcing this particular type of work.
So put your mind at ease by checking the qualifications of professional contractors with the certifying accounting organizations in your country.
Your business needs to stand out in social media channels, advertising campaigns, and marketing promotions.
So, it is best to have your graphic design handled by an exceptional graphic designer.
Having such an individual on retainer can be very costly, especially for small businesses.
It is much more practical to outsource the task.
You need easy-to-digest and interesting content to generate leads and educate your target market.
Good content that is not too obviously sales-oriented, helps you nurture relationships and enhance your prospects of closing a sale.
Furthermore, it helps you develop your market’s awareness and earn its trust and respect.
You probably realize the benefits that come from content marketing but do not have the resources to manage it.
It is time-consuming to produce and distribute content. In addition, it’s quite expensive to employ a marketing team.
Large companies usually hire executives and put them directly in charge of content marketing.
If your small business does not have the budget to do the same, you can outsource this task and enjoy the same advantage.
Firstly, start small and outsource content marketing to a freelance writer.
As your business grows, you can outsource to a marketing agency.
Either option saves you money and helps you nurture mutually-satisfying relationships with your market.
Give customer/technical support the importance that it deserves.
It spells the difference between keeping customers loyal to you and driving them away.
It is not always possible for a small business to have trained people exclusively dedicated to customer service.
Usually, salespeople or office staff are tasked with practically dividing their time between customer service (keeping current customers happy) and sales (developing new clients).
You can outsource this function and get extra manpower to take your customers’ calls.
How To Outsource Tasks
After identifying which of your tasks to outsource, it is time to find the right outsourcing contractors.
Here are some tips to help you get the utmost benefit from your outsourcing investment:
Consider The Different Ways To Outsource
One of the most reliable ways to outsource is to ask for recommendations from reliable business contacts and associates.
Also, you can opt to use an online platform that is designed to connect businesses with outsourcing contractors.
Look for prospective outsource partners.
You can get recommendations from a lot of sources, including business and professional associations, chambers of commerce, and your business contacts.
You can also use the Internet
One of the perks of outsourcing in business is that you don’t have to limit your options to local talent. In other words, you can tap people from anywhere in the world.
Another option for finding the right partner is to use an outsourcing agency.
Outsourcing agencies hook up domestic businesses with matching outsourcing partners.
They provide quality assurance and help out with communication, billing, and other similar processes.
Elance and Odesk are examples of such agencies.
How to outsource is not a problem because of the many options open to you.
Take Your Network Or Contacts Into Account
You may just find the right outsource partner in your own network.
Many small firms outsource tasks to talented contacts they know and continue to retain their services as the business grows.
Evaluate Your Prospects
It is important to find out if your requirements match the candidates’ specialized skills.
Interview the promising candidates.
Look for people who give clear, direct, and substantial answers, and who show a good grasp of your requirements.
If you are open to outsourcing overseas, see to it that your prospective partner conforms to the labor standards in your country.
Furthermore, ask for a proposal from your short-listed candidates.
This should include a description of their services, examples of previous projects, and a price estimate.
These proposals enable you to make a side-by-side comparison of your top candidates.
Also, they help narrow down your choice to the one candidate most likely to meet your requirements.
Make Your Expectations Clear
Be frank, clear, and direct.
Describe in precise terms what you regard as good work.
Set a timeframe.
Talk about what penalties you will apply if milestones are not delivered on dates that you both agreed on.
Be Aware Of Any Legal Issues That May Be Involved
Avoid problematic legal issues by being aware of federal and state laws, tax forms, and other similar requirements, if applicable.
Be Sensitive To Cultural Differences
Even if you’re paying people to handle tasks for you, be sensitive to cultural differences.
Try to accommodate them if you can.
By being appropriately responsive to differences, you make work relations more pleasant and productive.
Pay Fair And Reasonable Rates
People naturally want to get a bargain.
However, if you find a skilled and reliable vendor whose rates you can afford, don’t argue over price.
There are people you can get for a cheaper price, but they may not have the skills and qualities that your business needs.
Start off a contractor by giving him a small project.
This will help you find out if he understands his mission and can accomplish work according to expectations.
When you get positive results, assign bigger and more important work.
Prepare A Work Contract That Lays Out The Specific Details Of The Work Relationship
To avoid misunderstanding, document all the important details of the outsourced project in a contract.
Spell out the specific services, the timeline for delivery, and the payment agreed on.
Proper documentation ensures that you and your partner both understand each other’s responsibilities.
Avoid Micromanaging Your Outsource Partners
Once you have finalized the relationship, enjoy the benefits.
It is sometimes hard to let go of control.
But, refrain from constantly checking your outsource partner’s work over and over again.
Constant checking will just use up the time that you hope to save from outsourcing the tasks.
Hence, establish channels for communication and feedback.
However, don’t over-manage your partners or become overly controlling.
Put Effective Ways Of Communication In Place
You need to find the right channels to discuss plans, establish performance objectives, give feedback, and provide support.
Establish A Way To Assess Performance
Performance evaluation allows you to review your partner’s work.
- Firstly, does the output meet your expectations?
- Are the results profitable and of high quality?
- Is the partner living up to his promises?
- Lastly, What can be done to improve the work?
Use the evaluation as a basis for deciding whether or not you want to continue outsourcing to this particular partner.
Final Points On Tasks Every Small Business Owner Should Outsource
Regardless of what specific tasks you plan to outsource, the bottom line is that outsourcing helps you to save costs.
It also expands your business.
Outsourcing is a smart strategy for both large and small businesses.
Furthermore, it gives you the chance to extend your capabilities and build your core competencies.
You get to refocus on your business priorities as well as save money, time, and resources.
Even more, the tasks get done faster and more efficiently.
Hence, giving you more time to concentrate on work that generates revenues and scales your business.
Have you tried outsourcing your tasks before?
What was your experience like?
Do share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
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