How Small Business Owners can benefit from Outsourcing
As a small business owner, you will be used to wearing many different hats. Part of being your own boss will mean that you are also your own marketing manager, sales accountant, webmaster and receptionist.
However, if you want to put all of your energy into establishing and growing your business, some of the more routine and dare I say ‘mundane’ tasks of running your business can begin to get on your nerves and take up far too much of your precious time. This doesn’t mean that these essential tasks can be ignored or put off. They are just as important to the smooth running of your business as winning new accounts, selling more of your products or services and developing your business network.
One easy solution to freeing up your time is to outsource some of your everyday tasks. This way you can safely place the day to day management of your essential tasks into the hands of experts or specialists with a lot of experience and knowledge on the subject. Quite often this can be a relief for the small business owner as the expert they hire will often have a much better working knowledge of the job in hand and will perform the task better than the business owner!
Outsourcing can save you money
Outsourcing on a short-term or long-term time-frame can often work out much more cost effective than hiring someone on a permanent basis as an employee. For example if you were to hire a virtual receptionist to answer your incoming business calls, they could work from just about anywhere in the country so do not need to take up valuable work space on your business premises. This means you will not have to provide them with office space, desks, phones and other equipment needed for a permanent on-site employee as well as have to pay a full-time wage plus other benefits.
If renting a business premises is one of your major expenses, by outsourcing tasks that don’t need to be conducted on site you can save money on not having to rent a larger premises to house all of your business activities.
Renting office space for employees is one of the major drawbacks of being a small business owner. Meeting all your health and safety regulations with regard to keeping people safe on your property is another essential task that you need to consider. If could be far easier in a lot of cases to permanently outsource those jobs within your company that can be handled elsewhere, such as telephone call answering, bookkeeping and accounts, mail sorting, digital marketing, SEO and social media, and other essential administrative duties.
You could even hire some plush, air conditioned, Wi-Fi enabled, unbranded meeting room space complete with reception staff for a day if you need to meet with and impress a new or existing client. There is no need for you to make space for a meeting room on your business premises if it is likely to sit empty for the most part of the year.
You can control your capital costs with wise outsourcing. Doing this enables you to convert fixed costs into variable costs. It can release much needed capital for investment elsewhere in your business, and will allow you to avoid large expenditures during the early stages of establishing your business.
Boost your Company Image
In business, your reputation and how people perceive your company are very important. You may be a small business, but you can still project an air of gravitas and professionalism of a much larger company if you are clever with your outsourcing.
Prospective new customers or clients may be put off dealing with you if they are met with a frantic, harried business owner who is running around fielding incoming phone calls and sifting through piles of paperwork while trying (and failing) to hold a serious conversation with them.
You may think it would be quicker and easier to set your phone to go to voicemail when you are busy. However, studies have shown that 80% of callers will hang up the phone when greeted by voicemail. This can mean a good lead or new prospective client turning to one of your competitors who will actually answer their call. Being unable to answer your calls as they come in means that you are losing out on a lot of potential new business.
Having something simple in place such as call answering service would at least mean you can conduct a client meeting, go out to visit existing customers, attend conferences and network meetings without worry or interruption. You can focus on your day knowing that all incoming calls are being dealt with and you will never miss a promising lead because you were otherwise engaged elsewhere. A prospective client calling your business for the first time will be greeted in a friendly and professional manner, and will be left with a positive first impression of your company.
Other benefits of outsourcing
Using outside firms to handle your day to day tasks is a very familiar practice in the US for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is a concept that is catching on here in the UK too. Many small business owners are now outsourcing many of their important functions because otherwise they wouldn’t have the spare time available to focus on growing their business.
Outsourcing is wise in a lot of cases, and there has been a lot of industries created to cater for the needs of companies looking to outsource, both large and small. Here are just a few more reasons why a small business can benefit from doing this:
An outside provider’s specialist skills and knowledge can give your company and important advantage. It would cost you a small fortune to hire and train your own in-house staff to the same level of knowledge and capabilities offered by some specialist firms. A providers cost structures and ability to jump in and manage a high performance service from day one means that you can get instant results and a great increase in efficiency.
Reduced staffing costs
Many small business owners are running their company on very tight budgets. Many cannot afford the prospect of hiring and training permanent staff. In some cases there may not even be enough consistent work coming in that a permanent member of staff can be assigned to handle. This means you will be paying for staff to do nothing. Outsourcing will allow you to focus your tasks to people as and when you need them.
Improved time management
Freeing up your precious time to focus on growing and expanding your business can be very rewarding. Every small business owner has limited time resources, so you can effectively shift your focus from peripheral everyday activities towards growing and improving your company, serving your clients or customers better, and work out your priorities for moving the business forward.
Better project management
Rather than be faced with weeks if not months looking to interview and hire the right people for the job, then having to train them and support them in their role, you can simply hire experts for your project instead. This can be a great solution where time is of the essence and you have specific deadlines to meet.
Compete with bigger firms
You can use outsourcing to help level the playing field. Many small business owners are not in a position to compete with larger companies within their own business sector. They simply don’t have the in-house services available that larger firms have. However, hiring in expertise can allow smaller businesses to ‘act big’ and perform to the same level, efficiency and expertise than their larger neighbours.
Better risk management
The world of business is an ever-changing environment. All businesses, small and large, are subject to competition, fluctuating markets, government policies and regulations, economic and financial conditions, and the advancement of new technology. Being able to outsource many of your tasks means that most of these conditions and risks are managed for you by the outsourcing providers. They are the experts in their own field, so they will know how to risk manage their own services.