Entrepreneurs of small to medium-sized businesses often wear many hats during startups. More often a business necessity than a strategic decision, entrepreneurs would take on many roles—and be good at them—while leaving their most powerful role up in the air: being the main decision maker, strategist, and planner. While expanding operations in-house might not be feasible yet necessary, entrepreneurs still have one viable solution: outsourcing services.
Seen as an option reserved for big businesses before, technology has made outsourcing a more accessible option for small businesses and it has made a powerful impact on growth, productivity and service delivery.
How Can Outsourcing Elevate Your Business?
1. It frees up your time so you can focus on generating income
Most entrepreneurs think they can do it all, then save big money on their business and still move forward and progress. In reality, this mode of thinking can really stall business growth.
Outsourcing means you are delegating tasks someone can do for your business (even better) so you, as a business owner, can free up your time to focus on generating income. There are especially repetitive but essential operational tasks that can be outsourced with minimal supervision and low risk.
2. You hire qualified experts that you won’t get to hire if you do it in-house.
Gregg Landers, director of growth management at CBIZ MHM, the 8th largest accounting and business services provider in the US categorizes three kinds of tasks you can outsource: highly repetitive (accounts payable, data entry, shipping inventory), highly skilled (financial analysts and bookkeepers) and specialized knowledge experts (IT support, data scientists, internet marketing).
By choosing to outsource, you are opening up your business to qualified professionals that bring more value to your business. Technology has opened up avenues for professionals who have decided to leave the corporate world but still want to offer their services in an environment they choose, time and location wise. We are talking about highly skilled, very qualified experts in different fields—information technology, finance, customer service, web and graphic design, accounting and a lot more.
David Walsh, entrepreneur and author of Source Control, an e-book on effective small business outsourcing, says, “Progressive entrepreneurs realize the unstoppable power of outsourcing to handle aspects of their business that are essential but simply don’t make sense for them to deal with personally. Small businesses, augmented by a global pool of human capital, can compete directly with the biggest players in their space, and win.”
3. You can use state-of the-art technology for your business without necessarily investing in it.
By outsourcing some of your business operations, you save not only time and human resources – you also save money when it comes to investing in technology. Outsourcing specific tasks mean your business doesn’t necessarily need to stay updated with technology in a specific operation (like finance software programs, IT infrastructure and necessary equipment for customer service or research and development). The outsourcing provider takes care of all of that. It is their core business to stay updated with the trends in technology.
4. Your business is re-engineered through outsourcing.
For businesses to stay competitive in their respective industries, they must constantly look inward and identify opportunities to improve their processes and systems to gain better results, and subsequently, more profit. Mike Hammer in his article, “Re-engineering work: don’t automate, obliterate” in the Harvard Business Review, defines re-engineering as the radical redesign of business processes for dramatic improvement.
Outsourcing provides businesses a quicker and more effective way of achieving the same goal with even better results and less overall effort.
5. Outsourcing can be a way for you to expand business, discover new target markets and be close to the end users.
Entrepreneurs also see outsourcing as one way to expand their business reach. They either take operations closer to their end users (manufacturing or research and development) or take on a whole new area to introduce their business to.
Outsourcing doesn’t end with the decision of what and when to outsource. For you to reap the biggest benefits outsourcing can do for your business, the act of choosing the right providers, securing your data, making it work and continually improving the business provider relationship and processes should be an ongoing cycle. While business needs and strategies vary, it is clear that outsourcing has become a core component in business operations and strategic planning, extending from the smallest business owners (one-man team hiring a virtual assistant for example) to big companies (corporations outsourcing their customer support or IT support).
Having the right resources — whether it be skills, technology, or time — available to you at the right time as your business develops is the key to growing intelligently. By outsourcing, you can have the right talent, the necessary equipment, the valuable time, when you need it.