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Outsourcing Might Be The Answer You’ve Been Looking For

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Outsourcing | Entrepreneurship
 
One of the biggest challenges of running a business is simply the fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that you need to. There are hundreds of businesses that had huge amounts of potential but fell apart simply because they took on too much and weren’t able to handle the workload or the pressure. There can sometimes be a sense of pride connected to how much of your business you are dealing with personally, but you should never let that get in the way of your success. So what is the answer? Since you can make the days any longer then there’s only one solution: share the workload. And the very best way to do that is through outsourcing. Outsourcing is simply hiring a professional in a particular field to handle a certain aspect of your business for you. That way you can focus your energy on more specific places, and you don’t end up feeling like you’re spread too thin. There are plenty of different areas of your business that you can outsource to other people, but here are some of the most common that you might want to consider.

Your IT

Let’s face it, we live in an intensely digital age and if your business isn’t able to reflect that then you’ve got a pretty major problem on your hands. Connecting to a company that can offer managed IT services for your business can help you make sure that you’re always right on the cutting edge of all modern digital developments. Otherwise, you run the risk of falling behind the competition entirely.

Your branding

It might sound kind of shallow but the truth is that without great branding, your business is never going to succeed. Customers will be drawn by what they see when they first look at your business and if your branding is ugly and amateurish, then they’re going to assume that your business simply isn’t worth dealing with. You need to make sure that you’re working with someone who can really make the most of your branding and help you connect with as many customers as possible.

Your finances

Despite how important they are to your business, not everyone is going to be an expert with numbers and figures. If that’s the case then hiring an accountant is going to save you a great deal of time and hassle. Not only that but you can be sure that your finances are always in order no matter what, that way you’re protected from any nasty surprises down the road. Not only that but your attention is now free to focus on the kinds of things that are really important to you.

The truth is that there are too many different parts of your business that would benefit from outsourcing to count. You need to think about the things that are really important to your business and make sure that you’re putting them in the hands of the people who can really make the most of them.

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.

5 Ways in Which Outsourcing is Leading Today’s Companies to Massive Growth

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution ArticleThere was a time when the term ‘outsourcing’ brought fear and trembling to almost everyone from company directors to the lowest hourly wage worker. However, in recent years, there has been a general awakening to the many benefits outsourcing has for companies large and small. If you still have all, or part of, your company’s operations in-house, you might want to look at these five ways in which outsourcing is leading other companies just like yours to massive growth faster than they ever thought possible.

1. The Cost Factor

Although there are many reasons why businesses aren’t making the profits they had projected, the cost of keeping in-house staff is one of the biggest expenditures any company will deal with. Not only are there salaries to pay, but all those peripheral expenses such as benefits packages, health insurance, training and so forth, chip away at their bottom line. However, even at reduced operational costs of which staffing increasingly eats a huge portion of any budget, there are so many other benefits to outsourcing that labor has taken a backseat to those previously unthought of advantages.

2. Professional Expertise as Close as the Cloud

Many small to medium sized businesses already contract the services of outsourced professionals, such as accountants and marketing strategists, but haven’t yet understood that those services can be classified as outsourced! Over the past few years, businesses are going farther afield when seeking those services because of the cloud. Today it is possible to hire an accounting service in New York City, for example, when your base of operations is in Portland, Oregon. Whether you are looking for a marketing strategist or a corporate accountant, this company offers services in the cloud that are both cost and time effective.

3. Top Talent within Easy Reach

Almost every profession has become highly competitive and so the search for the top talent could take more time than you have to spare. Even though you can list key positions for which you are hiring online, it can take weeks, if not months to find the right fit for your company culture. While there are still those positions which must be kept in-house, many professional jobs can be effectively outsourced because there is no need to keep them on the premises. As mentioned above, accounting and marketing are two of those professional services which can be safely and easily outsourced. Of course, you couldn’t very well outsource a job on a production line, but you could outsource many key positions effectively.

4. Company Expansion Doesn’t Require Larger Premises

Oftentimes a company grows so large that they need to expand their current base of operations or move to larger premises. When you can outsource a number of your key positions, there may never be a need for bigger buildings, larger parking lots and additional equipment and machinery. Office positions are some of the easiest to outsource and if you aren’t completely comfortable with outsourcing in the Cloud, you could always hire flexible workers who only spend a part of their work week on site. Many work from home most of the week with only occasional trips to the office.

In fact, the need to do that is even less frequent than previously because files can be uploaded to the Cloud, meetings can be teleconferenced, and with instant communications via email or services like Evernote, there is often no reason to ever physically report to work. If you would like to hold tighter control, then flexible workers are to your advantage, but outsourced positions can still fill a void at a reduced cost to your company.

5. Advances in Technology at No Extra Cost

Then there are technological advances to be cognizant of. Every day technology is advancing at the speed of light and the cost of keeping up with all that technology can be prohibitive. When outsourcing, the company doing the actual work is going to be ultimately responsible for staying on the cutting edge of technology which means that your company doesn’t need to pay for anything but the services or products they have been outsourcing right along. This is one of the most amazing advantages to outsourcing in the 21st Century and why so many companies prefer to outsource even the most critical jobs. It’s almost impossible to stay current on technology within all departments of your enterprise.

It’s a New World After All

There are still those who believe that outsourcing will knock workers out of jobs. In reality, outsourcing can provide many more jobs than previously thought possible because of the massive growth most companies realize when expanding through outsourced services and production. They may not be jobs in your local area but they are jobs nonetheless. You can work for, or hire someone from, literally any state in the country which is a definite advantage most of the time.

Perhaps what is really at stake here is keeping those jobs within the United States. There is no reason to send work overseas if those services are available at reasonable costs within our borders. Did you ever stop to think that outsourcing can help to keep costs lower for everyone involved? Whether you are a manufacturer proud of bearing the “Made in America” insignia or a highly qualified professional seeking to find work in your field, outsourcing can be kept at home and at reasonable costs.

From a worker’s perspective, there is no reason why you can’t find work as a self-employed outsourcer if you have gained some amount of proficiency at your job. Everyone benefits and your work can help to keep America’s companies strong and growing stronger by the day. Instead of fearing outsourcing as a dirty word to be eliminated from the English language, embrace it as a way forward in the 21st Century. Everyone benefits when our companies are kept strong, and the above mentioned benefits clearly show you how outsourcing can be a vital part of that process. Now it’s simply up to you to decide ways in which outsourcing can be of benefit to you.

Make The Best Use Of Your Time – Outsource!

Finances are tight at the launch of most new businesses, especially if you factor in the costs associated with employing staff and renting premises. There are ways of cutting costs and one way is to outsource a lot of the essential tasks to freelancers. Outsourcing will lower the number of staff you will need to employ on a permanent basis. Freelancers only get paid for the work they complete and won’t require holiday and sick pay. You can tap into the expertise of freelancers on a global scale. Excellent time management is then required for the remaining tasks.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
 
Time management is a skill in itself! If you don’t want to spend the whole day running around like a “headless chicken” achieving nothing, time management is a skill you need to develop fairly quickly! It is essential to prioritise your workload and ordering your “to do” list should become part of your daily routine.

Did you know that it is possible to hire the expertise of an online receptionist? This will remove a lot of the call answering tasks which can cause interruptions to your day. It is also possible to choose a new phone number with differing area codes relating to different parts of the country or a different country altogether! Take a look to see how much it costs to manage an australia 1800 number.

At the beginning of everyday, write a list of the tasks which need completing. Your next step is to then prioritise this list according to level of importance. If you can delegate any tasks or purchase software to make life easier – do it!

Here are some tips to make time management easier.

Deal with Urgent Tasks First

Sometimes tasks need to be urgently dealt with first. Staffing issues, customer requests and complaints and delivery issues will all need to take priority. Ensure IT systems are working effectively, especially cyber security software as you don’t want to be vulnerable to a data breach.

Project Deadlines

Your next tasks to take priority will be those related to deadlines. It is essential to meet certain deadlines in order to maintain customer and supplier satisfaction. Your deadlines may relate to accounting issues and if you don’t meet them you may incur hefty fines.

Phone Calls and Emails

If you answer the phone or open an email every time it rings or pings into your inbox you won’t get a great deal of work completed. Switch on the answer phone and turn off email notifications. Of course they do need to be dealt with eventually, but to make the best use of your time it would be a good idea to allocate a window in your schedule simply for responding to answerphone messages and emails.

Speaking by telephone is an essential form of communication. Many customers will prefer to speak to a real person as it gives the personal touch. To lower the amount of calls received ensure there is plenty of information on your website, which covers some of the more common queries. Perhaps consider having a “frequently asked questions” tab on your website.

To reduce the number of queries you receive by telephone ensure that you have sufficient information on your website and other promotional media to answer most common questions.

Outsource

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
 
Even the best time managers in the world would struggle to complete all the necessary tasks needed to run a successful business alone. Being frugal may be a priority but you should put aside some funds which will enable you to outsource certain tasks. You will need to avoid trying to do everything yourself as you will quickly burn out. Any investment you make is likely to be returned tenfold, especially as it will allow you more time to concentrate on generating sales, without sales your business won’t be viable!

Research has shown that 80% of a business owners time should be spent on generating leads and making sales.The internet has opened up the opportunity to connect with freelancers on a global scale.

There are some tasks which naturally lend themselves to being outsourced.

Accounting Tasks

Keeping an accurate set of accounts is essential, it is also tedious and time consuming! Some people love the accounting side of running a business but if keeping your books straight is not your “thing” it would be worth outsourcing this task to an experienced bookkeeper on a freelance basis. An accountant would also be useful at tax return deadlines.

Social Media Management

Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has very quickly escalated into becoming a major marketing tool. Social media platforms literally allow you to promote your business to thousands if not millions of potential customers. The downside to social media marketing is that it is very time consuming. To stay engaged on platforms you need to interact and post regularly. You also need to be available to respond to queries 24/7. It would make sense to employ a social media manager, who could concentrate on building up your followers as well as a rapport with future and existing customers.

Virtual PA

It is now possible to employ a virtual PA, who can undertake all the tasks normally associated with a secretary in the traditional sense. A good PA will ensure records are up to date, complete paperwork, write up minutes and store data safely. All these tasks take time and if you have delegated them elsewhere you will free up lots of time.

For outsourcing to be successful you need to adopt excellent forms of communication. You will not see the freelancer in person so any instructions need to be clearly communicated in the written word as well as spoken. This will ensure that information isn’t misinterpreted and everyone will be working to the same goal.

When choosing a freelancer to outsource tasks to, be wary. Ensure that you can view examples of previous work and follow up references. There are so many people to choose from it’s important to realise that the cheapest isn’t likely to be the best, it’s also fair to say that the most expensive isn’t always the best either! Go for middle ground.

If You Haven’t Thought About Outsourcing, You’re Missing Out

If you are just in the middle of getting ready to launch your business, there might be some avenues of freeing up time and energy in the early days that you haven’t considered yet. Most entrepreneurs are ready for long hours, the grind but you don’t have to accept that as rote. There are a few things that you can outsource early on and maximize your time for running the business and getting creative.

Bookkeeping – this is pretty much a vital part of keeping your business running well, and keeping firm hold of your finances. Head to a couple of freelance sites, have a chat with other business owners and see if you can find yourself a bookkeeper you trust and has a proven track record.

Accounting – they go hand in hand, and excellent bookkeeping can help your accountant make the most of those deductibles, and they are experts in the field. You won’t get silly mistakes or in hot water for not completing something correctly.

Appointments – while you might want to be the point of contact for all appointment setups, it is highly likely that you would benefit from something like TimeTrade, Setmore or SimpleBook.me. They are automated systems that check availability, book appointments, notify you or the person responsible for the meeting, plus they have many other functions to explore.

Storage – Rather than have a lot of paper or HDDs hanging around, look into ways to lighten to load and make your data accessible anywhere. Use of Cloud storage or an outsource fax server can help manage how you’re sending data to employees and clients.

Admin tasks – If you have a lot of admin tasks, and are spending more time taking care of those than managing your client work, then it might be time to think about hiring a VA. A virtual assistant can take care of a lot of tasks for you:

  • Social media management and scheduling
  • Research
  • Blog Writing
  • Data Entry
  • File Management
  • Commenting and responding to social media messages
  • Transcription

And, so much more. If you manage to find a VA that understands what you are trying to achieve they can be a tremendous asset to you and your business. It’s like having two of yourself.

Social Media scheduling – Set up something like Hootsuite, SocialOomph or Buffer. Other platforms work just as well, but those are highly rated. It will take you, or your VA a few hours to curate a month or more of content across all of your platforms.

Do you have the time to manage your content marketing? If not, hire a freelancer to take care of that for you. It is basically the use of easy to read and digest content, that educates and informs your target audience without being salesy. Lead generation, relationship building and vital.

Look at what you aren’t great at. Every CEO in the world has at least one thing that they aren’t great at taking care of or getting done. Check what yours is and spend the time to find someone who can take care of it for you.