As small businesses grow into medium-sized ones (and perhaps, in time, large corporations), there are many growing pains along way, and most assuredly, many expenses. When I speak with my operational counterparts at start-ups and SMEs in particular, I hear about the challenges they face getting to the next level. This may include reaching a new revenue (or profit) marker or creating streamlined processes to generate greater efficiencies.
A common rock and hard place comes with wearing many hats and trying to do too much in areas that aren't essential for their business; however, are part of running any business. They believe that if they do it all, they'll manage to save some money to reinvest into the business and its long-term goals. In reality, what tends to happen through this approach is that it ends up costing the company more in lost efficiencies or to rectify the results of having done something improperly the first or second (or many other) time.
Based on conversations with counterparts and the actions of many SMEs I've worked with, here are five areas to consider outsourcing:
HR means more than hiring your employees. There are ongoing needs such as benefits, performance management, and a variety of accompanying processes that can encumber a growing business trying to stay on top of crossed "T"s and dotted "I"s. Outsourcing HR can help keep costs down and also help businesses to minimize risk regarding with labour laws and employment regulations that can change regularly.
With an increasingly fragmented and competitive media landscape, getting the attention of an editor or producer isn't as simple as issuing a press release, and getting profile for an up and coming business is important. Getting a journalist to read your email can be a challenge as they receive hundreds of pitches daily. A PR agency provides a team of experts with regular lines of communication to media contacts that impact the customer/client base. They also have the ability to create integrated strategies across multiple channels (online and off), which means handling your day-to-day social media and ramping up or down as needed for any promotional campaigns. When you're streamlining costs and focus in order to grow your business, this makes a lot of financial sense on a project or retainer basis vs. having a full-time employee working on a handful of news items each year.
Looking at the market trends, it's clear that telecommunication is evolving into a managed service. Transferring day-to-day responsibilities for voice and data management to an outside vendor is an immense load off the staff of any growing company. It means not having to worry about hardware and software issues, as well as ongoing technical support, remote monitoring, troubleshooting, repairs and ongoing upgrades. With so much riding on telecom, it makes sense to have a team of dedicated experts maintaining one of the key systems in driving and converting sales. Outsourcing also frees up any in-house IT support to focus on streamlining processes rather than devoting their time to dealing with maintenance and technical difficulties.
Websites are generally the first communications vehicle for most companies now. Within seconds, a potential customer could lose interest and leave the page due to slow site speed, poor navigation or a disjointed layout. Taking a risk by producing a sub-standard website internally could be one of the costliest mistake a company can make in this day and age. It's also no longer enough to just have a website - it needs to be responsive, optimized for SEO, and evolve with a solid understanding of what search engines deem to be valuable, high ranking content in order to be found in the first place. By outsourcing, a business can secure a cost-effective website and its ongoing maintenance with a clear goal to convert sales.
Accounting is a key function of any business reporting that allows you to know exactly how you're performing from month to month. It flags potential rising costs so that you can avoid issues before they become unmanageable. Payroll, taxes, payables and receivables are all an essential part of any business. Outsourcing your accounting can allow you to have a team of financial professionals who can monitor your business on an ongoing business so that you can make the necessary changes to avoid financial pitfalls. They can properly categorize all your business expenses, set your company up on a payroll system, indicate what tax instalments are owed at what intervals, and provide helpful advice as needed.
These are essential components to running a business. One way to offset the cost and complexity of ensuring those components are in place is to identify which is not part of the core business and to outsource. Doing so can streamline processes, make operations more efficient, and free up team members to focus on strengthening and growing the core business.
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