When you start your business, you often have to do everything yourself, but as you settle in to business, it can be a good idea to outsource some of your tasks. This not only leaves you free to concentrate on others areas – doing the actual job or planning a strategy for the future – but also means these tasks are put in the hands of experts.
We are all good at our speciality but not necessarily good at everything so it makes sense to give those tasks to people who are good at them. This is not a negative thing but rather a reflection of a business owner who realises they are not expert at everything and looks to do what is best for their business.
Outsourcing can also help to save your business money by reducing the need for employees to carry out these tasks. Instead, you can use freelancers or specialist companies and negotiate fixed fees and costs for them.
Tasks you can outsource
Payroll, bookkeeping and accounting
These financial tasks are very important to get right and can disrupt the business and staff if problems occur. It can also be a very time-consuming task to ensure payroll is done each week and that accounts and tax returns are kept up to date. Arranging a suitable accountant to deal with these tasks receives the burden. Many accountants offer fixed fee packages so you know exactly what you are paying for, and can help you set up accounting systems such as MYOB or Xero to help make things easier.
Unless you have a very good word of mouth customer base or work in a very specialist market where people are searching you out, you will probably need to do some marketing at some point either in print, radio/tv or online. Hiring a marketing specialist can ensure you get the best return on your investment for these projects.
Support and maintenance
From time to time businesses will need all kinds of support and maintenance. This might be support with computer networks or systems, maintenance of machinery or staff vehicles or maintenance to the building where your business is housed.
You can also outsource administrative support if your business doesn’t warrant a full-time admin person. This can include scheduling meetings and appointments, answering basic emails and invoicing.
Again it can be more cost-effective for small businesses to outsource these tasks rather than having someone on staff to deal with them.
Things to think about when you are outsourcing
If you decide to outsource some of your tasks, pick the companies or freelancers you work with carefully.
- choose companies that fit with your own business ethics
- ask for references or testimonials from other clients
- ask for recommendations from business colleagues and networking groups, friends or family
- think about whether you need the business to be local or whether you are happy with email and phone meetings
- ensure you discuss costs upfront and understand what you are getting for your money.
- set up a contract that includes the deliverables and outcomes so you know what is planned.
Do you outsource parts of your business? Does it help you? What do you outsource?