What You Should Be Outsourcing And When
When building a business, you want to build as much of it as you can yourself. However, with a limited budget, it’s cost effective to only take on so much in house. You also have to consider the tasks that outsiders might be able to help you with as well. But where do you look for help and when do you look for it? Here, we’re going to look at the who, why, and when of outsourcing to help you create an effective strategy for managing your growing workload.
Not every company needs to have an in-house IT team. In fact, if your set up is relatively small with, say, less than a dozen computers, the costs of hiring your own IT team or even one tech savvy individual could outweigh the value of their work. If they don’t have enough systems to keep themselves busy, you could be paying them essentially to sit around. Instead, managed IT services work on an as-you-need-it basis, so you don’t have to pay when they’re not doing work for you, outside of a possible retainer. The benefit of outsourcing is that it also becomes a lot easier to find those with real expertise and experience, rather than having to hire someone with entry level skills and qualifications.
Making the assumption that you’re going to need a business website (because who doesn’t these days), how are you going to make that website? Are you going to design your own using the tools out there like WordPress or SquareSpace? You can create a perfectly serviceable website this way, but it takes time to learn to do it, and takes even more time to create a truly professional looking website with them. Web development teams can make things a lot more convenient, ensuring that you have a top brand quality web presence right from the beginning, and they can teach you how to use the systems to update it with content yourself, so you don’t have to pay to keep them on in the long-term.
If you’re running ecommerce, starting your own store, or simply creating products to ship off to wholesalers, then you need to think about how you’re going to both store and deliver those products. In time, you will want your own warehouse and your own fleet, as the long-term costs of owning it all are much lower. From the start, however, if you’re not equipped to meet the demands of your customers, your services will suffer as a result. Fulfilment businesses can help you make sure you’re ready to meet that demand immediately.
This is one of those areas that you must always ensure you’re being taken care of. A business based from home running on one laptop might not necessarily need an IT guy, and you might be able to market your business just fine on your own, but you are not a chartered accountant, and you need one. Besides making sure that your taxes are without any red flags, a professional accountant will also audit and organize your finances, and act as a consultant, making sure that the profitability of your business is always a focus. The legal implications of getting your finances wrong is worrisome enough, but you shouldn’t underestimate the value an accountant can bring, as well. Large organisations are able to hire accountants to take an in-house role, but for smaller businesses, outsourcing is the only real affordable way to get access to their expertise.
This is one role that you might never have to outsource. If you are able to quickly build enough of a team to handle all the administrative side of the business for you, setting schedules, answering emails, taking phone calls and the like, then you may do just fine without a virtual assistant. If you find yourself drowning in that kind of work, to the point that its affecting your productivity and your ability to meet goals, however, you should consider working with one. They can shoulder a lot of the burden of running a business so you can focus on the efforts that are going to actually make you money.
A good brand goes a long way and launching a business with a clear brand vision and the quality visuals to go with it should not be underestimated. You might have some idea of the kind of images and vibe that you want but, unless you’re also an expert with graphic design tools, you shouldn’t handle all of it yourself. Hiring a marketing company to create your brand story and style from the ground up might not be necessary but working with graphic artists and designers is essential for adding that extra layer of much needed polish.
This is another demand that you might very well be able to fill yourself, if it needs to be filled at all. Not everyone company needs to have a social media presence. For some, it might be a waste of time to try and engage customers if your products aren’t naturally very exciting. However, if you do have to get on social media, consider how much time you’re able to put into it. If your team isn’t able to consistently update your feed with content or able to respond to customers on the fly, then you might want to consider hiring a social media marketing team to take over the channel for you. For businesses that use social media, it can be a valuable means to grow leads, to gain user reviews, and to build customer loyalty and retention so you shouldn’t take a no effort approach to it.
In most cases, you want to eventually envelop the tasks you’re outsourcing so that your team is handling more it themselves. However, for expertise that you don’t need on a regular basis, you shouldn’t be afraid to keep good long-term relationships with outsourcing partners. Unless you can find enough work for them to justify a full-time position, it’s more cost effective to keep those partners.