How to Leverage the Power of Outsourcing
Small business owners often think they can accomplish everything by building up their entire company by hand from the inside out, but sometimes doing it all yourself can slow growth and cause the business to lose focus. Unless your core business is actually about performing back-office services, these tasks, while a crucial and necessary aspect of doing any kind of business, are more of a distraction than a benefit to the bottom line. With more options for outsourcing available today than ever before, consider offloading the work that is neither profitable nor part of your core competence.
Outsourcing has traditionally been the strategy of large corporations, but technology has made it a viable option for even the smallest of businesses. The key comes from the combination of skilled workers around the world wanting independence and remote access made available through the internet. Businesses can easily make use of professionals offering services in a wide variety of areas, from executive assistants to HR specialists and bookkeepers, and from web designers to graphic designers and advertising experts.
Technically, these freelancers work as subcontractors under management companies, so unlike independent contractors, they’re set up to augment, enable and integrate with your company just as a full-time employee would, with a minimum of hassle on your end. With outsourcing, not only does a company owner not need to worry about hiring and managing individual employees for each area of business, but he or she doesn’t need to deal with ongoing details like payroll taxes, health insurance, and other benefits.
Getting started with outsourcing does take some care, however. It’s up to you to evaluate your needs and then compare them to the offerings. If you’re just beginning your venture, you’ll have an immediate need for a whole range of things, but you don’t want to fall into the trap of either holding off from outsourcing entirely or outsourcing too much too early. For instance, if you’re starting a local retail business, you’ll probably want to stand-up a simple website with SEO. For this task, if you don’t happen to possess the web development skills yourself, you’ll want to seriously consider outsourcing a single individual to take care of this piecemeal work. At the same time, since your business should be focused on your retail store and not web development, you don’t want to outsource a full-blown web development team complete with requirements analysts, designers and artists, programmers, QA, and a project manager.
However, HR is a major section of your business that’s primed for outsourcing, because you’ll need such services from the very outset. Companies that provide HR outsourcing are called Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs). You may be wondering, how will a PEO work with your business? If you intend to hire a PEO and full-time employees, you’ll have an immediate need for managing their payroll, for instance. Using the retail example, if you hire a couple stocking assistants and cashiers, do you really want to handle payroll yourself or hire yet another employee to do that work?
At any phase in the development of your small business, outsourcing can help.