In today’s advanced, fast-paced economy, it is important you are doing everything you can to help your business stay ahead. And with so much competition out there from large corporations and franchises, it might seem like the odds are stacked against your small businesses.
Well, this isn’t quite true. Despite the prominent role of large companies, the U.S. economy is still largely run on small businesses, meaning that if you follow sound business strategies, work to differentiate yourself from the crowd and offer quality products/services, you can expect at least some level of success.
However, where large corporations do usually have the edge is in pricing. Because their operations are so massive, they are able to streamline a whole host of activities while also producing in large quantities, dropping the unit price of the products/services they sell. To compete with this, you need to find a way to make your business run more efficiently—and cost-effectively—so that you can stand up to the big guys and carve out some space for yourself in an otherwise very competitive marketplace.
One of the ways you can do this is by outsourcing some of your business tasks. For those who don’t know, outsourcing means to transfer responsibility of certain tasks to another business. While on the surface level this might seem more expensive or unnecessary, it actually makes a lot of sense. Those that specialize in providing one type of service can usually do it much cheaper and faster than you can, especially when you are focusing on many things at once. This is why more and more companies are outsourcing every year.
Taking steps to help your business run more effectively and efficiently also helps to increase its value, something that will help you fetch a higher price should you decide tosell your business in the future. This isn’t something that is always on the minds of small business owners, particularly when they are first starting out, but it is an added bonus of building a business that runs well and makes money.
But not every task can or should be outsourced, especially for small businesses. So let’s take a look at what you can be sending out to other companies to help make your business run better.
Payroll and Accounting Services
This is one of the first things your business should consider outsourcing. It will be important to have a few in-house accountants and financial experts (depending on the size of your operation), but you want to have them focused on higher-level strategy stuff, not menial day-to-day tasks. Activities such as time tracking, payroll deductions and cutting paychecks are so straightforward that it doesn’t really make a lot of sense for you to pay one of your own people to do them.
Many of the firms that provide this service make use of automation, as well, and this makes the process even more streamlined. Employees will enter in their hours worked, and the payroll firm and their computers will do the rest, leaving you and your team to focus on what’s most important to your business.
IT and Tech Support
We are all aware of the tremendous headache that computer problems can cause. We depend on these machines to do even the simplest business functions, and when there is an issue, life seems to come to a standstill. The more time you spend waiting for someone to help you resolve your issue, the less time you are working, costing the business money.
By outsourcing tech support, you can guarantee that someone will be there to help when they are needed most. And since most tech support firms service multiple companies, you can expect them to be experts and to have quick solutions to the problems holding back your productivity.
You can also outsource things such as server management and cybersecurity—if these are relevant enough to your business. Finding people with this skill set can be hard, so to do it right, it is often best to look for outside help.
Marketing Content Creation
Marketing is such an important function for any business, but perhaps even more so for small businesses. When trying to break into a competitive market, being able to reach members of your target audience to generate interest for your brand and products is of utmost importance.
But the nitty-gritty of marketing, content creation, can quickly drain your time and resources. Whether you need articles written, brochures designed or videos filmed, doing this stuff yourself can take forever, and subsequently, can cost a fortune.
Sending this work out to be done by another firm will save you tons of hassle. However, it is important you be very clear about what you want. Determine your strategy first and clearly communicate to the firm you are using what that is. This stuff is important and expensive, so get it right the first time.
Procurement and Logistics
For companies that ship physical products, you are probably fully aware of how much of a pain it can be to make sure things get to where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there. Keeping track of this stuff yourself can easily eat away days at a time, something you as a small business owner are surely not willing to do.
Outsourcing this stuff can save you the headache and the expense. If you are running your sales through Amazon, there is a chance you are already doing this. But if not, consider looking at procurement and logistics suppliers, such as UPS, FedEx and DHL, who can do this stuff for you better and cheaper.
The last task you need to outsource is facilities management. Maintaining the place where you do business is important. It helps give a professional feel to current and prospective employees and customers. But you should not be paying your own people to do this stuff. There are companies entirely dedicated to doing this who will do it for much cheaper than you. Don’t waste your time or your money; find someone to do it for you.
Clearly, outsourcing is not something reserved for the big guys. Small businesses can take advantage of it to help them run more efficiently, effectively and profitably. Take a look at your business and if you are not outsourcing any of these activities, start shopping for suppliers. Then, put your focus on making your business all that it can be.