Small business owners and their employees often struggle to cope with the sheer volume of work that running a commercial enterprise in the 21st century involves. Whilst some may come to the conclusion that this just goes to show it really isn’t possible to compete with the big boys on a level playing field, we beg to differ. With a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve and a little help from reliable outsourcing professionals, you can not only get your new business off the ground, you can also expect to watch it thrive and grow over the coming years. Below, we take a look at 5 business functions you should seriously consider outsourcing.
Choosing the Right Business Functions to Outsource
When you are deciding which functions to outsource and which to keep in house, ask yourself whether they are a core part of what your company has to offer and whether you or your employees are the best people to perform them. Whilst your answers to these questions may lead you to different conclusions than other small business owners, the following 5 business functions are among the most commonly outsourced and therefore merit serious consideration.
- General research – whilst coming up with ideas for new products is something that you should definitely be doing in house, there are many other areas of your business that can be researched more cheaply and efficiently by third parties.
For example: finding the cheapest and most reliable supplier of office stationery in your part of the world is a task that can be completed online by a virtual assistant working from a remote location and is not something with which you will want to bother yourself when you have a thousand and one other tasks that require your urgent attention. Virtual assistants can be very inexpensive, efficient and reliable.
- Marketing – you may at first come to the conclusion that marketing is a core function over which you should never relinquish control to a third party. It is certainly true that keeping control of your marketing strategy and its implementation will be crucial to the success of your company but this doesn’t mean you cannot outsource the majority of the workload involved with promoting your business to new customers.
Unless you are an experienced marketing professional yourself, the cost of hiring a full-time in-house guru is likely to be prohibitive: letting an outside agency take the strain will save you both time and money in the first few years that you are in business.
- Website and custom application development – the time that it takes for an enthusiastic amateur to create a presentable website far exceeds what it would take an experienced professional to do more capably and effectively. Given the abundance of cheap developers to be found online, there really is no reason for you to consider tackling this type of IT task yourself.
If you are worried about being let down by freelancers, there are a number of freelancer agency sites that offer an escrow service, whereby they hold your money in a special account until the work for which you are paying has been completed to your satisfaction. You can also check ratings from previous customers before hiring a particular freelancer.
- Managing your social media presence – many small business owners find it relatively easy to set up a Facebook page and Instagram account for their new venture but keeping them updated with new and interesting content is another matter entirely. There is no doubt that maintaining a lively social media presence can prove to be very beneficial to companies of all sizes, especially small ones that are trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors so a solution needs to be found.
The most popular social media platforms available today, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, have much to offer your business and you can take full advantage of what they have to offer by hiring an industry expert to maintain your social media pages. This person can post new messages and images on a regular basis while you concentrate on meeting the needs of your existing customers.
- Call handling – Hiring a full-time, professional receptionist is an expense that most new business owners cannot afford or justify. Nevertheless, incoming telephone enquiries must be fielded by a competent and experienced telephonist if your company is to make a good first impression so leaving the job of answering the phone to whoever happens to be nearest is definitely not the right solution.
Arranging for phone enquiries to be routed to a call centre staffed by experienced professionals is the easiest and most cost effective solution as far as many business owners are concerned. Message Direct offers 24-hour virtual receptionist services to companies of all sizes so no matter what your normal business hours, we can make sure that your customers are never left hanging on the phone waiting for somebody to answer. Messages can be sent via email or SMS, ensuring that you have all the relevant details regarding incoming calls as soon as they are concluded.
When You Should Consider Insourcing
Now that you have a good idea of the benefits that outsourcing certain functions has to offer small businesses, you may be wondering how you will know that the time has arrived to consider insourcing those same business functions, i.e. performing them internally instead of continuing to use a third party service.
The answer to this question depends on the cost/benefits associated with outsourcing each function compared to handling it in house. If, for example, it becomes clear after a couple of years that you can handle marketing and PR more efficiently and cheaply in house, then that is exactly what you should do. However, if you analyse your call handling needs and come to the conclusion that it is still cheaper and more convenient to have them met by a company such as ours, there is no reason to insource that particular function.