Outsourcing your expanding business
Many people are attracted to running their own businesses because they like to be in control, to ensure everything runs just as they want it to. When a business starts to grow, however, doing everything in-house can become impracticable. Trying to manage every element of an expanding company takes up time and energy and is ultimately counter-productive. This is when it is time to consider outsourcing as a practical way forward.
What can be outsourced?
The simple answer to this question is that it is possible to outsource anything, but that doesn’t mean everything should be. To make the most of this option, key elements of the business should be kept in-house while all the subsidiary tasks that could be carried out by anyone with an appropriate level of skill can be outsourced. This leaves the business’s core team free to concentrate on all the things that make the company unique.
Almost any business can outsource elements of its administration and payroll management. There is no reason why the core team should be dealing with routine tasks such as data entry and mail-outs when they could be better employed on developing products or services and moving into new markets. An increasing number of businesses also outsource call handling, on the understanding that most communications can be dealt with in a routine way, with only the important ones being passed on to management for a direct response.
Outsourcing the more mundane tasks means that they can be handled by professionals without the business having to meet the cost of employing permanent staff. Instead of having one assistant who is struggling to multitask, each job can be carried out by a specialist, thus reducing the risk of error.
Along with providing access to specialist professionals, outsourcing can be extended to cover equipment and other services, such as stationery printing or conference calling; it can also be applied to aspects of manufacturing. Sourcing equipment this way is much cheaper than purchasing it outright, especially if it is only needed for a limited period of time; for example, for a one-off project.
How it works
There are many ways to go about outsourcing. Networking or searching online can provide direct access to freelancers, but it is advisable to only use this option if the individual or company concerned is able to provide references from a number of satisfied clients. For those who prefer to avoid the risk or hassle of sourcing contractors directly, an umbrella company can provide workers who have already proved their skills. Umbrella companies routinely take care of payroll and tax issues; effectively all the financial aspects of their client companies.
Long term benefits
Over the long-term, outsourcing gives businesses the flexibility to meet changing demand without all the disruption involved in hiring and firing staff. It also presents opportunities for business owners and their core staff to learn new skills by working with experts and makes it easy to arrange cover when a staff member is suddenly unavailable. At first, it can be difficult to let go and allow contractors to work unsupervised, but as everyone adapts, business owners should find themselves less stressed and better able to concentrate on what they are really good at.