Guide to Boosting Your Small Business by Outsourcing
It’s common practice for modern businesses, whether large or small, to outsource some of their business tasks to other companies. Tasks that require specific expertise or that don’t require decisions relating to the strategy of the business are good candidates for outsourcing.
SEO and marketing are examples of the types of jobs you may wish to outsource. This can be of benefit to small business owners because you can use expert service providers who use advanced and cutting-edge strategies to help you build your business. Many companies provide these services at very affordable prices, so you may be surprised what your budget can stretch to.
Outsourcing some of your business tasks can save you time and yield better results. There are various pricing structures you can use to do this. You can pay a professional by the hour or day for short-term tasks or pay a fixed price per project. Alternatively, you may pay a monthly fee for ongoing services. Many small businesses outsource these tasks remotely. This means that you don’t need to hire a member of staff to do these jobs and give them a workspace, which can save you a lot of money.
Which tasks can my small business outsource?
There are various tasks which you can outsource reasonably cheaply to save you time and money. These include:
Keeping financial records is time consuming and reduces the amount of time you can dedicate to running your business. It’s important that your accounts are handled accurately as any mistakes can have serious consequences. Unless someone in your business has expertise in bookkeeping, you’ll most likely outsource this to a dedicated company.
Site design and SEO
It’s important that your website represents your brand values because it forms a customer’s first impressions of your business. If it isn’t slick and modern, this may put potential clients off. It needs to be kept up-to-date and should convert a good proportion of your website’s traffic into sales. Website design requires expertise and industry knowledge, so we recommend outsourcing this unless you’re confident in this area.
Small businesses use various marketing methods including content and social media marketing. Nowadays, social media marketing is a very powerful and effective way of promoting your business. However, hiring a dedicated employee to take care of marketing can be expensive and is beyond the budget of most small businesses. So, outsourcing this remotely on a project-by-project basis is often more cost effective.
When you use an expert company, they will have modern technology that is far too expensive for most small businesses to buy inhouse. Employing an agency with access to this type of technology means you can utilize it at a much lower price.
Managing your business payroll is another are where you shouldn’t risk making any mistakes. It’s important to get your payroll right because it involves taxation. Otherwise, you could end up with a hefty fine. An expert payroll company will give you peace of mind that this is being handled properly.
Small businesses will need graphics that promote a strong and cohesive brand image. This makes your service or product recognizable and appealing to customers. The expertise required means that employing a graphic designer on your team is unaffordable for most small business owners. However, good graphic design isn’t out of reach if you outsource to a dedicated company.
Is outsourcing my business tasks a good idea?
Outsourcing business tasks comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Whether it works for you depends on the nature of your business, your budget and how you personally prefer to work. Here are the pros and cons of outsourcing for small businesses:
If you hire dedicated employees to carry out aspects of your business such as graphic design or SEO, you’ll have to pay them at the same rate all year round. For many small businesses, there isn’t a need for these tasks at the same scale all the time. Outsourcing means you can adjust the amount of work being done up or down when you need to or if your budget changes.
- Frees up your workforce
If you’ve delegated aspects of running your business to an expert company, that leaves you and any employees your company has free to get on with other aspects of the business. This can save a lot of time if you’ve previously been trying to handle tasks without the necessary expertise, making you more productive.
- Budget friendly
Generally, outsourcing some of your business tasks is cheaper because you save money on technology and staffing costs. There are a few possible exceptions which we’ll discuss below.
- Risk reduction
When you use an outsourcing firm, they accept a portion of the risk associated with a certain project. This can help reduce stress for small business owners.
- Helps you compete
Many big companies outsource aspects of their business. If you do the same, you can access similar expertise and technology, helping you to compete against larger companies in your industry.
- Reduced control
Outsourcing means that you won’t be able to physically oversee the work being done as it will be carried out in another location. This means that you won’t have the same level of control, so it’s very important to agree with the outsourcing firm how and when you will check progress.
- Risk of data breach
Depending on the nature of the information you share, using an outsourcing company increases the chance that sensitive data or business material could be leaked or lost. Ask the outsourcing company how they ensure that sensitive data is protected.
- Unexpected costs
Reputable outsourcing companies should give you a full break down of any potential costs and stick to them unless you have agreed a change. However, there is a possibility that you could be hit with unexpected extra costs in certain situations.
Which outsourcing model should I use?
There are various outsourcing models you could choose to use for your small business. Which one you ultimately go for depends on what type of work you want done, your budget and whether the project is short or long-term. Below, we’ll explain the most common outsourcing models to help you decide what would work well for your company.
Professional outsourcing means using a professional company to carry out regular tasks such as payroll or bookkeeping. This helps to save money as it’s usually cheaper to pay a second party for work carried out than hiring someone to do it inhouse.
There are a lot of processes necessary to keep a small business running and thriving. For example, keeping your webpage optimized using SEO techniques is a vital process if you want to be visible online to potential customers. It’s also difficult to do effectively and efficiently without specific expertise. For this reason, many companies choose to outsource this process to an affordable small business SEO company like Small Business SEO.
Small businesses usually use this outsourcing model if they have a project that requires expertise but don’t require long-term help. Creating seasonal graphics is a good example. It’s much more affordable to hire a professional to complete the project as a one-off than hiring an employee that you don’t need all the time.
Where should I outsource my business tasks?
You have three choices when it comes to deciding where to outsource to geographically: local, offshore and nearshore. Which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences and business model. There are positives and negatives to each option. In this section, we’ll talk you through what you need to know about each.
If you outsource locally, that means that the work will be carried out by a nearby firm. This has several obvious advantages. For example, you will be working during the same hours and there won’t be a language barrier, which can make communication easier. It’s also possible that you may be able to meet face-to-face, and some small business owners prefer this.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that outsourcing work to USA-based companies is more expensive than other options. You may feel it’s worth the price for ease of communication, but it’s probably a good idea to look into other options as well to see what you could save.
Offshore outsourcing is a frequent practice for businesses of all sizes. When you outsource offshore, you contract an overseas company to carry out your business tasks. Some overseas companies are expert in carrying out work for offshore customers. Countries such as China and India are major providers of small business outsourcing services.
There are many benefits to using offshore outsourcing for your small business. These include:
- Significant savings
By outsourcing overseas, you can expect to spend as little as 30% of the cost of local outsourcing.
- Skilled professionals
In outsourcing hubs like China, reputable companies hire highly qualified and dedicated professionals to carry out tasks for their clients. This means that your outsourced projects will be handled by experts and completed to a high standard.
- Long-term partnership
Working with the same company allows for more consistency and security than potentially hiring a different freelancer for each project. If you find an offshore outsourcing company you like, you can form a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.
Nearshoring is a type of offshore outsourcing where tasks are given to expert firms in nearby countries. This means that you reap the benefits of offshore outsourcing while working in the same time-zone.
How do I choose the best outsourcing company for my small business?
If you decide to outsource some of your business tasks, you will find that there’s a lot of choice available. It’s important to make sure that the company you plan to work with are reputable and have the skills needed to carry out the work correctly. It’s also important to make sure the deal you get represents value for money whether you outsource locally or overseas. Here are some key things you should check before committing to work with an outsourcing firm.
Clarify your expectations
It’s important to explain clearly to the outsourcing company the exact nature of the tasks and what your desired end result is. Failure to communicate your needs clearly can result in disappointment and wasted time and money in the end. You also need to communicate your brand values to the company so that they can carry out work in a way that represents your company well.
Choose an experienced firm
Make sure that the firm you plan on using has experience in the type of work you need to be carried out for businesses of a similar size and scale to your own. You can ask to know the qualifications of the team who will work on your projects to make sure they have the expertise necessary to do the work to a high standard.
Ask for references
A reputable company will be happy to provide references from other clients who they have carried out similar projects for and to let you see examples of their work. This will help you ascertain whether the company is easy to work with and carries out work to a suitably high standard.
Set a plan for communication
Knowing how and when you will communicate with your outsourcing company is key. Without regular contact, you can quickly lose control of a project. First of all, make sure that there is a dedicated person to act as your point of contact who speaks the same language as you. Ask how often you can expect to be updated, how long they usually take to respond to queries and make sure you are satisfied with the answers. Decide together how you will keep in touch and at what times, bearing in mind your relative time zones if you are outsourcing offshore
The bottom line
There are many key advantages to outsourcing some of your business processes as a small business owner. Outsourcing gives you access to expertise and technology that would otherwise be unaffordable. It also frees you up to devote more time to what you do best- providing a great service to your customers.
SEO is a task that’s ideally suited to outsourcing because it takes a lot of time and expertise to do successfully. At Small Business SEO, our dedicated team provide a range of small business SEO services to help you grow your company and become more visible to clients in a competitive online marketplace.