Lack of expertise, not enough time and poor cash flow are some of the reasons why 8 out of 10 businesses fail. Today I look into how outsourcing can give you a fighting chance.
The early stages of a business are full-on and all-encompassing, you are ready to tackle every problem and take on every role to build your business and fulfil your vision.
Eventually, you arrive here…
The point where you realise that there are not enough hours in a week, even if you are burning the candle at both ends. You are hardly keeping on top of the admin, never mind growing.
You take time out to consider your options
1. I could employ someone and increase my output.
The second option, something I wish I’d considered when in this situation the first time.
2. Maybe I should outsource tasks.
Often at the early stages of growth, your cash flow is not stable and you have zero, or very little experience of recruitment and managing people. The daunting task of coordinating and hiring employees can be a challenge for even the most established company.
Then there’s the responsibility of paying a salary (and pension contributions) when some months you struggle to pay yourself. And there’s one thing for sure, an employee will never be as passionate about your vision as you are. Looking forward to the weekend, and the dread of Monday morning is a reality for them, as it was for you when you were an employee, no matter how much you loved your job and co-workers.
Yet many start-ups feel this is their only option and outsourcing often doesn’t even factor as an alternative.
So why should I outsource?
If you really want to increase the scale of your business at some point you will have to start delegating.
Outsourcing enables you to dip your toe into talent sourcing and people management without the financial commitment of a full-time employee.
Focus on Growth
Freeing up time will allow you to focus on core objectives and growth. You’ll become better positioned to innovate, not just administrate.
Lower Costs and Responsibility
You can expand your team without the financial burden. You only pay the for skills you require, as and when you need them.
Access to Specialist Skills
Outsourcing allows you to access a range of specialised talent without relying on the skills of one or two employees. Experts are agile in their field and will achieve better results giving a good return on investment.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Customers are more likely to buy from companies who respond warmly and quickly. Busy people take longer to reply and are often briefer in their responses. Having more scope will allow more time to offer outstanding customer service.
What to outsource?
So you’ve decided your days of being a ‘jack of all trades’ are over but you’re not ready to become a bonafide employer. Before deciding which tasks you can hand over, take a hard look at your business and determine your strengths, and consider your aspirations for the business.
While the chances are you’re already outsourcing some tasks, such as year-end accounts, these days, almost any task can be outsourced, thanks to so many professionals leaving the rat race to work as freelancers or set up on their own.
To help get you thinking I’ve outlined some of the most commonly outsourced jobs.
If you could do with an extra pair of hands, a Virtual Assistant (VA) is a great option. VAs usually set aside a set number of hours each month to perform tasks such as admin and customer service assistance. The benefits of building up a working relationship with a Virtual Assistant means that they get to know your business and are able to quickly and efficiently step in over busy periods.
Web Design and Maintenance
How many times have you visited a tired looking website and immediately made a snap judgement? Having a great business website is a necessity these days, with the website being the first impression that potential clients will have of your brand. Web design is a job best left to the professionals, a novice or out-of-date website is a huge turn-off.
Inbound marketing is resoundingly more effective than any other marketing efforts. So whether you like it or not, blogging is now an essential part of driving traffic to your website, engaging visitors and generating customers. Managing a business blog can be very time-consuming, and requires strong writing skills, as well as an understanding of the ins and outs of your web platform and SEO.
Many companies today are choosing to outsource all of their marketing and advertising efforts. There are many advantages to this, including being able to hire specialised talent who can reach your target audience more effectively. Whether it’s a Pay Per Click campaign or SEO.
Ok, so how do I find the right people?
Look at previous work, ask to see portfolios, check out their profiles and read references and testimonials. If possible, meet up in person or have a skype call.
If you need a hand finding the perfect Yorkshire based freelancer or specialist, feel free to tell us your requirements and we’ll be happy to help.
Before handing over the reins, firstly you should identify exactly which performance metrics are important for each task you want to outsource. Be clear on project objectives, timeframe, responsibilities, payment terms and ownership of work product then set them out in a contract or service agreement.
You can find several templates online, and if you’re looking for a legally drawn up contract or other legal documents have a look at the Lawbite.
Once you’ve found the perfect fit for your company, the partnership has the potential to be a time and money saving match made in heaven!