Outsourcing is defined as the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities that would usually be handled by in-house staff and resources. By outsourcing some key activities, a business contracts out some of its functions to specialized service providers, who can become valued business partners over time.
Why do companies use outsourcing? Some common reasons include:
- Reducing and controlling operating costs
- Improving company focus
- Gaining access to high quality capabilities
- Freeing internal resources for other purposes
- Streamlining for other time-consuming functions
- Maximizing use of external resources
- Sharing risks with a partner company
Now that you are aware of some reasons to outsource, let’s talk about which activities or tasks are best suited to outsourcing. A small business may not be able to support every task that needs to be carried out to keep the business running. It can be very expensive to hire employees or teams of employees to perform certain tasks that don’t need to be executed every day, but are still vital for the company. This is where outsourcing can be useful as well as cost effective. Some activities that are easily outsourced are:
One of the most effective ways to generate leads, inbound marketing is also one of the tasks that requires a lot of time and energy on the part of a company’s employees. Outsourcing your inbound marketing helps to get it managed properly by experts.
If your company is on social media, then you already know that posting relevant content is important. But how many small businesses do you think actually have the time to create fresh content? Do you? When you outsource your blog, you can get experienced writers to develop your content for you, ready to post.
Similarly, outsourcing your social media needs is also recommended. There are a host of websites, apps and social media platforms and you can’t possibly navigate them all. However, there are plenty of social media companies out there who do it on a daily basis, and with expertise. Leave it to them to manage it for you.
Online Marketing & SEO
Do you or someone in your company know how to use Google Adwords, Facebook advertising or handle Search Engine Optimization? Probably not. Or if you do, you’re muddling through it. Just like social media and blogs, outsourcing online marketing and SEO will free up your time to handle the customers when they find you online.
Yet another time consuming job, data entry is best outsourced. There are companies who specialize in data entry as well as data retention and management, thus freeing up your time.
A medium to large business can probably afford to hire a full time accountant, and keep him or her busy. Most small businesses can’t support that expense. You will find a variety of independent accounting firms ready to take on the job.
If you sell good, including selling them online, then you require a customer service team. A lot of small businesses try to handle customer service themselves, with the result that they are not able to respond to all inquiries and complaints. This leads to loss of customers and a drop in the customer experience. Outsourcing your customer service function will avoid that from happening.
One of the earliest forms of outsourcing, answering services have been around for a long time. If you have a start up with just a few people, and can’t manage all your calls and messages, an answering service is the ‘answer’ for you.
You probably know your target market, but do you know how to market to them? Or perhaps, like a lot of small businesses, you think everyone is a potential customer and are not narrowing your marketing efforts. Instead of wasting your time marketing to everyone, hire a market research company to find out who your target is, and whether they will want your product or service. Not only does this provide you with helpful market information, it will also help you pivot your services if the market is not ready for them.
All businesses, irrespective of their size want higher profits and bigger savings. Outsourcing is a clever way to manage your expenses and time, while still getting the results you want.