Why Every Business Should Outsource

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | OutsourcingOwning and running a business is not a 9-5 role; it takes a highly committed, dedicated individual who will strive for success every hour of the day, whether that means working until 9pm on a Friday evening or waking up early to take a business call on a Sunday.

However, running a business is not a sole effort for the majority of the time. It takes an army, especially if the business owner lacks the necessary skills for marketing, web development, or even accounting.

When you need an additional skill set in your company which you currently do not have, outsourcing is your best option. This increasingly popular practice allows a business owner to receive the talent and workforce they need, but without requiring bringing a new member of staff into the business permanently.

Why Outsource?

As a business owner, if you currently lack a number of skills which could see your company grow and succeed, it can be daunting to begin the recruitment process. Plus, recruitment takes valuable time and valuable resources. You may end up spending a number of weeks trying to find a suitable candidate only for them to reject the job offer. In this event, it’s back to the beginning of the process.

An alternative path is to seek the assistance of a contractor or freelancer and outsource the role. This person will hold the qualifications and skill set you need to get the job done, except they won’t be hired for a full-time position. This way, once the task is complete, you have the option of working on another project together, or exchanging payment and thanking each other for their contributions.

When you choose to outsource, you reduce the risk of losing time, resources and money into a stressful recruitment period. Instead, you gain the experience and expertise your role requires with minimal fuss and effort.

What’s more, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement — the business owner benefits by getting a project completed on time and within budget; the contractor benefits by earning a paycheck, boosting their experience and their reputation. After all, reputation within outsourcing is highly valuable.

What Should You Outsource?

Now you know why you should outsource, it’s time to learn what projects and roles you should outsource, including:

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a specialist skill on its own; you need to understand the many factors, such as SEO, PPC, copywriting, editing skills, social media, and so on. It’s also a rather time-consuming role, one which needs constant monitoring and measuring of which methods are successful, and which you need to change. Outsourcing digital marketing means you get the knowledge and expertise from a reputable marketer who can help drive your campaigns to success. For a fledgling business, it’s an essential role you cannot be without.

Security

In the modern age, security is extremely crucial for all businesses. With so much private data being held on our systems, it’s critical that it’s protected at all costs. A data breach or ransom can be devastating for enterprises of all sizes, and even be the reason why a company fails. However, an experienced Chief Information Security Officer is an expensive role, something brand new businesses can’t always afford. Therefore, opting to outsource CISO is a cost-effective solution.

Web Development

If you don’t have a website, you won’t get very far in today’s digital world. It’s your virtual storefront, and as such, it needs to be attractive and easy to navigate. Website development and coding is a specialist skill, but your website isn’t something to cut corners over. Choosing to outsource your web design needs means you receive a visually stunning and technically correct site from the experts without the high price tag.

How To Get Your First Clients As A Freelancer

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article | Entrepreneurship | Freelancer
 
If you’re just getting started as a new freelancer, even if you’ve run other freelance businesses, one of the first things you’re probably focusing on is how to get your first paying clients.

Although it’s going to take some work and effort on your part to get yourself out there and find those initial clients and certainly isn’t easy or something you can expect to happen overnight, if you’re staying focused on the right strategies and not trying everything all at once, then you can definitely make the process of getting clients a simple one.

In this post, we’re going to give you some actionable tips and strategies that you can use to start getting your first paying clients as a freelancer so that you can start building a freedom-focused business that allows you to help people and build a life and business on your terms.

Decide who you want to work with:

In order to be able to get clients, you have to know who your clients are that you want to be working with. The ability to choose your clients is one of the main benefits of freelancing instead of working in-house where your employer will already have the clients in place and you just have to do the work. If you’re not sure what kinds of clients you want, or how to identify them, then doing an ideal client avatar exercise is something that can really help you gain more clarity around this. It will help you identify the traits you want to have in your ideal clients, the type of budgets they may have available for the project, and also what industry they work in. There are many types of ideal client avatar exercises available that you can fill out for free online, so it’s best to take a look at a few different ones to see which one best suits you to help you come up with the answers you need.

Determine your positioning:

To make the process of attracting your ideal clients easier, then it’s important to define how you’re going to position yourself in front of them. For example, do you want to attract and work with only larger companies as opposed to small businesses? Do you want to charge high-end prices for premium work or do you like the idea of offering a more tiered pricing that would allow clients with various budgets to work with you? The other thing to think about when it comes to positioning your freelance services is whether you consider yourself to be a specialist or a generalist. Whilst both have good and bad points, it’s something that you’ll need to be clear about because it’s going to be something that will help you set yourself apart when it comes to pitching and offering your services to clients. For example, do you have strong data visualisation examples in your portfolio that you can show clients because this is something you specialise in or are you someone who has a wide variety of different examples of all kinds of copywriting you’ve done as a more general copywriter?

Create prices and packages:

If you want to get clients to pay for your freelance services, then you have to determine what those prices are ahead of time so that when you send out proposals you can come up fees that reflect your prices and not just something you’ve plucked out of the air after being asked what your prices are. Being able to offer your clients different packages according to their needs is also something that you should have in place before even looking for clients because this will help you keep your earnings in line with your goals and stay organized when it comes to looking for clients because you’ll know how many you can work with at any one time.

Be proactive in reaching out:

Even if you have the most beautiful and most expensive website on the planet, clients aren’t just going to come flocking through the door to work with you, so you’re going to have to put yourself out there if you want clients to hire you. This will involve things like creating content for your website and blog, posting on social media, reaching out to clients you want to work with and letting them know about your offers and services. Of course not every client will hire you, and you’ll probably get more rejection emails than you will replies from people wishing to work with you, but you need to keep going and stay proactive in your search because this is really the only way to build your business.

Hot Desking, Dedicated Desks And Coworking Spaces – What You Need To Know

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | Hot Desking | Coworking Space
 
If joining a coworking space, one can get lost in a maze of spaces, each offering similar amenities but also being very different in culture and attitude. In New Zealand’s coworking landscape, you can find a mash-up of spaces, but choosing one depends on the fit of your business. Unlike typical office space, spaces have a personality of their own.

However, many spaces have a basic menu that provides a place to work and use the amenities associated with most offices. Some spaces provide office support in the form of a receptionist while others might focus on improving the amenities. To maximise the use of the spaces, prospective coworking professionals should research hot desking, dedicated desks, and coworking spaces to get an idea of what they might encounter.

Let’s take a closer look at the coworking platform and all its variations so you can choose the best option for your business.

Ins And Outs

Excepting the basic coworking space that provides Wi-Fi access and a table to work at, and maybe coffee, most coworking spaces worth their salt provide businesses with a menu of options. In addition to both the hot desk and the dedicated desk, private office space is available as well. Many of these spaces include the use of meeting room space with some providing the option as a part of an a la carte menu.

In Auckland and a few other cities, you might find spaces that cater to a particular type of business, as coworking has definitely evolved to include all businesses. Furthermore, the cost can run the gamut as well with high-end spaces catering to a more sophisticated crowd and more affordable spaces offering up practical amenities that can help businesses. Usually, the leases are month-to-month, or very short, and so being tied to a protracted lease is not an issue.

The coworking space is one that can be used to help your business comfortably grow. With larger spaces that have other plans, you can transition your business up or down to suit its needs. Finally, if lucky enough to find an internationally-operated coworking space you can benefit from spaces in other locations around the country and world.

Hot Desks Versus Dedicated Desks

While they occupy the same space, there is a marked difference between the hot desk and dedicated desks. The hot desk simply is a workspace that is shared with other professionals. You have access to the desk. In many cases, these spaces provide free Wi-Fi to professionals and come equipped with the standard office equipment you might find in your average office.

The dedicated desk, alternatively, is a permanent desk that professionals can lease monthly at a higher cost. These desks provide a little more privacy, and so if your business requires confidentiality, the dedicated desk is ideal for this option. While you might get more perks with the dedicated desk, you have access to similar office equipment.

Whether one is better than the other all depends on the needs of the business. Generally, sharing space requires everyone to leave the space clean. Furthermore, those who need workspace all the time might not be able to access a hot desk during peak times, but a dedicated desk is always available. Conversely, working alone in the dedicated desk, you remove opportunities to socially interact with others. Really, the advantage or disadvantage depends on the needs of the renter.

In The Know

These are the basics of the coworking space and the two most popular plans, but again once, heading out into New Zealand’s coworking community you are apt to find variations on the coworking concept. Any way you look at it, both options are still much cheaper options to even leasing the serviced office. More importantly, the potential to grow your business on platform primed to for success makes any choice good.

How to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article | FreelancerIf you have a talent in a particular industry and you have the determination required to work for yourself successfully, then there are plentiful opportunities in the freelance sector at the moment. Freelancing has several advantages over setting up a business, because it requires a far lower level of investment and you don’t have to employ anyone else. All you need are the skills, computer facilities, and the will to succeed.

There are many jobs that lend themselves to freelancing; in fact, there are very few specialties that don’t have some kind of online application. For example, even the most practical, hands-on jobs such as construction, teaching, and medicine, all need web-based services such as training and consulting. If you have the urge to go it alone, there’s very little holding you back – but the critical difference between success and failure will be your ability to market yourself effectively.

Why marketing matters for freelancers

You may consider marketing to be more appropriate for a small business than a freelance enterprise, especially if you have good contacts and can start off with some ready-made clients. While it’s always advantageous to have a couple of clients on your books before you take the plunge into full-time freelancing, there are a couple of points you should bear in mind.

Firstly, if you’re planning to take clients with you from your present job, you could be heading for trouble. Somewhere in your employment contract, it will probably say something along the lines of employees aren’t permitted to poach clients from the business if they leave for a period of six months or so. You may not have such a clause, but it’s still considered underhand to take contacts with you if you leave a business.

Whether you have such a clause or not, you may feel that there’s very little your previous employer could do anyway once you’ve left, but regardless of whether they seek to claim damages against you, which they could well do in some instances, they do have the power to sully your reputation. Businesses live or die on their reputation, and if you become known in the industry as someone who can’t be trusted, your future will be bleak.

Furthermore, you can’t rely on the handful of clients you start with to keep you going or generate new business for you. To build up a sound, stable business, you need to master the art of marketing yourself.

You are the product

In a business, you’re selling a service or a product, and while you would do well to include yourself as a valuable part of the package, you wouldn’t necessarily be the focus. However, if you’re a freelancer, you need to be selling yourself – in effect, you are the product. The only difference between you and all the thousands of other bookkeepers, writers, tutors, or whatever you specialize in, is yourself. All the other freelancers in your sector will be offering broadly similar services, so the only way you can stand out from the crowd is to promote the benefits you offer potential clients.

Some people have no problem with this at all, and happily talk themselves up; others find it hard to sell themselves and promote their abilities. Being over-confident can be off-putting, as you can come across as arrogant; but failing to market yourself as one of the best in your field isn’t likely to impress prospective customers. A middle ground is usually the best approach, showing confidence in your skills without being too full of yourself. If you do struggle with self-confidence, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as a freelancer, but you’ll need to put a concerted effort into learning how to present yourself in your marketing.

Marketing tools for freelancers

Many freelancers underestimate the importance of having a website. If you think it’s a bit over the top to create a website just to promote yourself, think again. A website impresses potential clients and reinforces the idea that you’re a serious, committed expert in your field. You can use the website to provide full details of the services you offer, host a portfolio of previous work, and display customer testimonials. It’s a good platform to introduce yourself and help clients get to know you as a person so they make a connection with you, and it’s invaluable for being found in web searches.

If you’re not sure how to create an effective website, find out more about using a design service to create the optimum site, and compare the pros and cons of using a website builder compared to a design service. Your site doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated, just well designed, easy to use, full of relevant information, and updated regularly. In addition to your website, listings in directories not only make your business easier to find, but improve your rankings in search engine results lists too.

Social media can also be a powerful tool if used regularly, but don’t overwhelm yourself by signing up to every possible platform. Have a look at the usage statistics for each one and select one or two to start with. You want to get the hang of posting regularly and managing your accounts effectively without having too many different ones to worry about. Once you get accustomed to writing a daily FaceBook post, or tweeting a few times a day, you can always expand onto other platforms. You should also look at specialist websites and publications that focus on your field of expertise, as a presence in these will be perfect for reaching your target customers.

Many people make a very decent living from going freelance, and have a better quality of life working for themselves. Some go on to establish a fully-fledged business based on their freelancing, but you can follow whichever path appeals most to you. The important thing to remember is that you need to sell yourself, and take the task of marketing yourself very seriously if you want to bring in the right clients.

Proven Methods For Maximizing Business Efficiency

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Business EfficiencyIn order for any business to reach its potential, it will need to be operating at maximum efficiency. The company will be held back if the business processes are not as streamlined and efficient as possible, but identifying ways in which you can improve the efficiency of the company is a huge challenge, particularly when it is a complex operation. It can also be hard to judge when it is your own company, but there are a few ways in which you could identify areas and make improvements which could help your company to improve efficiency and find greater success.

1. Analyze Each Process

First, it is a good idea to look at each process in the business and identify if there could be ways to improve. List every process no matter how big or small and carefully consider if this is the most efficient way to perform this task.

2. Speak With Staff

It is also helpful to speak with your staff about areas in which there could be improvements made. It is the employees that know the challenges of the operation better than anyone else as this is the work that they are doing each and every day. Listening to your staff and making their role easier can also do wonders for morale and job satisfaction.

3. Upgrade Technology

Due to the rate that technology evolves, the majority of businesses are operating on technology which is not top of the range. Upgrading your tech can significantly increase the efficiency of your operation and maybe even improve the quality of the product and service that you provide.

4. Delegate

When you set up a small business, it is understandable that you want to retain control over each aspect of the operation. Ultimately, this is not the most efficient way of working. Instead, you need to put trust in your staff to handle responsibilities through delegating. This can be effective as it frees up more time for you to focus on areas to improve the business.

5. Outsource

Following on from this, there are also business tasks which should be outsourced to experts to improve efficiency. The best example of this is accounting as this is a highly critical area of business. Using a recognized firm like Del Real Tax accounting services can improve efficiency while maximizing profits for the company. It could make a big difference in the success of your company.

6. Look After Staff

Efficiency will always come down to staff productivity, so you need to identify ways to keep morale high and incentives your employees. This could include positive feedback, rewards for hit-ting targets, company events and offering training and development for staff.

When a business can find ways to improve their efficiency, they can go on to maximize profit while simultaneously making work easier and more enjoyable for staff. It can be a big challenge to improve efficiency, especially for large, complex operations, but the above are all highly effective methods to use which could transform an entire business when used in combination together.