Do you ever find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut with your work? Do you often reach the end of the work day finding that you haven’t been able to progress much because your time has been taken up by completing small, routine tasks? Sometimes it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of the essentials done and be proactive and productive at the same time. Especially if you are running or managing a small business. But how do you go about solving this?
At the end of the day, there are certain things that need to be done and if you ignore or neglect them in favour of other activities or projects, it won’t be long until the business struggles to stay afloat. Many would think that the answer to all of your issues at this point is taking on a full-time workforce. But becoming an employer and hiring staff of your own can be a lengthy and expensive process. Chances are, you only need a hand with the odd specialist task here and there and a full-time staff member would spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs.
So, what are the alternative options? Let’s take a look at outsourcing. This could be the answer to all of your wishes.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a common business practice used by small and large firms alike. It involves handing certain jobs out to independent, external individuals for a contracted period of time. The hand over of certain jobs can be one-off or ongoing, depending on your preferences.
There are plenty of benefits that come hand in hand in outsourcing. This is why it may well be the answer to all of your business needs. Firstly, outsourcing allows you to employ someone else to carry out certain tasks on a freelance and self-employed basis. This reduces the responsibility that you have in regards to the arrangement. You don’t have to worry about their taxes, offering holiday pay or sick pay, having to supply them with set hours of work every week. The list goes on. Essentially, this individual is working for themselves and will take care of their own finances. Secondly, outsourcing can allow you to collaborate with an individual who is a professional in their field, meaning that you don’t have to spend time searching for specialist full-time staff or training up yourself or other individuals in your company to complete the role in-house. This means that you can focus on what you’re good at, enhancing your brand’s core values and products, while other tasks are taken care of by a specialist.
As with anything, positives regarding outsourcing come hand in hand with a few negatives. Firstly, you will need to dedicate a little time to find a good worker who can take the outsourced work on and you will also have to draw up contracts and agreements with this third party. You will also have to monitor the work, checking in regularly on the third party’s progress, this is where video conferencing equipment can be very useful. You also have to focus a lot on security. Collaborating with a third party inevitably means allowing them access to certain data or company information that may be confidential or sensitive. This is why you need to take the time to find someone trustworthy and responsible to carry out the specified work.
What Work Can I Outsource?
So, if outsourcing sounds like a good option for your work, you may be wondering what areas you can outsource effectively. Take a moment to sit down and make a note of all of the areas of the working day that you find yourself dedicating excess time to. There are likely to be a few major processes that you find yourself struggling with or exasperated by. Chances are, you can outsource them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
When most business owners start out, they can feel territorial over their brand and what it produces. They want to do everything themselves and keep absolutely everything in-house. But chances are that this will involve investing in highly expensive pieces of manufacturing equipment and you may find that your products change and evolve to meet market demand, rendering certain equipment useless as you stop stocking or supplying certain products. You can avoid this by allowing a third-party to create your goods for you. This way you can contact others who already have the necessary equipment and a lot of experience in creating what it is that you have envisioned. Not only is this likely to result in a higher quality final product, but you will also save yourself a small fortune in company expenses in the process and reduce overall wastage. Perfect!
Read up company’s reviews before making use of their labour. You will want to see reports of high-quality finishes on functional and hard-wearing products, quick turn around between placing an order and receiving the products and professional engagement. Remember that you can negotiate on price too. Most manufacturers will often discounts when you buy in bulk, so haggle and get the best price possible.
IT can be the bane of any business person’s life. No matter how vigilant you are, there always seems to be some sort of issue or hiccup along the way. Yes, occasionally you can use a search engine to seek out advice on rectifying the issue, but most of the time results will come up short. This is why you need to make use of IT outsourcing. Highly trained professionals will be able to identify and rectify problems in a large variety of areas. Specialists in cloud solutions will offer effective storage solutions, removing the need of setting up in-house hardware that is difficult to maintain and expensive to run. No more worrying about backing up your sensitive and essential documents and files!
A documents solutions team can also consolidate all of your files, meaning that your business data isn’t spread out across multiple platforms and devices. Everything will be within easy reach and simple to find.
Cyber security specialists can help to protect your business from the threat of online theft and cyber attack, while a dedicated IT support team helps you to maintain functionality and maximizes productivity
Technology consultants can even help you to create a long-term, strategic business plan, considering your budget projections and sales targets, recommending the best technology to automate processes in your company and improving speed, efficiency, and organization within your brand.
With professionals focusing on so many different areas, a vast quantity of your time will become freed up, allowing you to focus on other significant areas.
Finances and Accounting
Chances are that if you have a small company, you aren’t going to need a full-time accountant or finances department. But there are still options that will prove useful in balancing your books and ensuring that you avoid debt and unnecessary expenses. When it comes to filing taxes, call in a professional, self-employed accountant who is completely qualified. This will help to prevent and mistakes which could result in later fines or harsher prosecution for misleading or incorrect tax payments. They will also ensure that everything is completed and filed before the deadline. Remember, incomplete or incorrect tax returns will not only be financially damaging for your company, but they will tarnish your reputation too. So avoid this at all costs and call for help when it is needed.
As your business expands, you will encounter increased costs that need to be secured with contracts and costs that will need to be paid on time. Commercial rent for offices, administrative or support costs, utility bills and other overheads, office equipment, security costs (CCTV, doormen, etc.), company cars, company phones and other necessary fixed costs will begin to approach you in abundance. More and more companies are opting to move to a shared location so that more administrative costs can be shared. If this sounds good to you, start checking out executive office suites. They have full administrative support and don’t even necessarily have enforced long-term leases. They are an extremely cost-effective way of setting up smaller or slowly expanding businesses.
These are all just a few areas that you can begin to outsource, the list goes on and chances are that you’ll make use of all of them at some point or another on your business journey. You may start out opting for one or two options, but as your business grows and sees increasing interest, sales and profits, you’re likely to start outsourcing more areas to allow yourself the time to focus on other areas. This is essential for growth, as you will need to develop new products, spend time considering advertising and conduct many hours of market research in order to establish your company in its field. So, start outsourcing and allow yourself the time to do all of this at the same time as maintaining high-quality products, customer service and delivery for the consumer market.