How Outsourcing Can Save your Business Time & Money
If you are the owner of a small or medium sized business, you probably care very greatly about the health of your company. As a result, you might have the habit of trying to take on too many things and supervise every task. Of course, not only will this kind of approach keep you exhausted and over-worked, it will also prevent your business from growing as it should. It will also keep your employees from developing new skill sets and from being as creative as they can be.
But if you own a small business, you are probably careful with every penny you earn. So how do you keep your company healthy and growing without spending too much? One great option is to figure out the areas in which you and your staff are over-taxed and to outsource some of that work.
Before You Begin, Delegate
It may not be immediately obvious to you what kind of contractor you are looking for. For example, if you have an in-house website editor who is having trouble running updates on your website, you might not be sure if you should get a web designer, a web developer, or both.
So before you go posting job notices, sit down with your employees and ask them a few questions.
- What do you consider to be your current strengths? What job responsibilities do you enjoy most?
- Which of your current job responsibilities do you enjoy least? Do you find yourself procrastinating with or underperforming on any of your responsibilities because you don't like them?
- In what ways do you feel over-taxed? Is there something that you like doing, but maybe you feel like you have to spend too much of your time doing it or there's just more than you can handle on your own?
- What skill sets would you like to develop? In what areas would you like to grow?
By taking this approach, you can work with your employees to figure out what their actual job function is, what is appropriate for them to do, whether or not they need people to help them, and what job functions you should not necessarily outsource, but rather should help current employees grow in those capacities.
Even for people in Human Resources and other job functions in which hiring many people with many job titles is a major part of the job, it can be hard to get a total grasp on what that job title really means. After all, you have not been trained in all of these areas, which is why you are hiring someone who has been! Getting the employees themselves to help you understand will be beneficial for them and for the company.
Saving Money Through Outsourcing
So how can outsourcing actually save you money? The bottom-line is that when you choose to outsource some functions, you can make your in-house team more efficient by allowing them to focus on their own main tasks. Contractors are usually specialists in their field, which means that they are skilled at what they do and can usually do it fairly quickly. If you choose to use an outsourcing resource like oDesk, contractors are responsible for tracking and reporting hours and progress and because their professional reputation depends on your good reviews and on metrics like their average time spent on a project, it is also in their best interest to do a good job and to do it quickly.
Here are some examples of ways you might be able to save some money for your business by outsourcing:
- Outsource your social media. Small businesses don't usually need terribly robust social media schedules, but they should still be active and as high-performing as possible. However, since it probably doesn't make sense to hire a full-time social media person, you can contract this to someone who can spend just a few hours on it a week, but do it more professionally than you'd be able to on your own.
- Outsource your bookkeeping. Resources like www.communitytax.com offer services in bookkeeping, which means that your accounts will be safe, secure, and well-managed, without you needing to hire an actual bookkeeper. Especially when your operations are small and local, this can represent significant savings.
- Outsource your marketing and web design. There are lots of companies like www.designfluxx.com that specialize in web design and/or marketing. While such services can be expensive, they prevent you from having to oversee the hiring of a marketing or web design team and their management. If you need to do something like completely redesign your website and branding, outsourcing these job functions could lead to a much quicker turn-around on your project. They may also offer services like ongoing website maintenance, which is very useful if you want your site to have any complex functionality, SEO services, content writing, social media marketing, branding, logo design, business cards and other printed materials, and marketing outreach.
When considering outsourcing, sit down with your team and make a very careful plan of how you think a contractor could be most helpful to you. When hiring a contractor, be sure to ask lots of specific questions about situations they might have to face, and ask for references and/or work examples. Be sure to come up with a schedule for work that is agreeable to everyone and a method for how communications between the contractor and your team will work. Once you have established a good relationship with your contractor, you will start seeing positive results.
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