How to Use Outsourcing to Grow Your Business
Outsourcing can be the key to growth and scalability for small businesses. Find out how contractors can help business owners minimize costs and maximize productivity.
Let’s say you own a small business and things are going great. You have an established customer base and your revenue stream is steady. All is well...or is it?
As the business owner, you are spread thin. You are being pulled in too many directions. Your time is being gobbled up by accounting, operational, and other business management tasks. You hardly have any time to dedicate to business development.
Countless small business owners have found themselves in this very predicament. What do they do to push their business to the next level? They get help!
Rather than bringing people on staff, they look to contractors. They outsource in a strategic and deliberate way.
When you and your existing employees can no longer manage the day-to-day operations of the business effectively, it’s time to look at outsourcing.
If you have just accepted a new project or client but don’t have the internal bandwidth or expertise to deliver, it’s time to look at outsourcing.
Likewise, if you find yourself wanting to grow your business but have no time during the day to dedicate to that growth, it’s time to look at outsourcing.
How to Use Outsourcing to Grow Your Business:
- Consider the 5 benefits of outsourcing for business growth
- Learn about commonly outsourced roles and responsibilities
- Find professional and skilled contractors
- Optimize and manage freelance positions
- Overcome typical outsourcing challenges
Consider the 5 Benefits of Outsourcing for Business Growth
There are many beneficial factors that come from outsourcing.
In addition to increasing productivity, outsourcing will bring in subject matter experts who relieve your workload and improve quality. Other benefits include:
1. Focus on Core Business
Arguably, the most important benefit a business owner realizes when they start outsourcing is time.
When a business owner is bogged down taking care of every daily task that keeps the company moving, there is no time, energy, or focus available for the core business.
By identifying responsibilities that can be delegated to a contractor, the business owner is free to focus on the core of the business and achieve growth.
2. Free Up Capital
Capital is key to business growth for any organization, big or small. When you hire internally, you add fixed costs to your balance sheet.
With outsourcing, those costs become variable. Variable costs are more easily shed, changed, and controlled. Lowering fixed costs means you have more capital to funnel to other parts of the business.
If you’re looking for investors or have your sights set on eventually selling your business, this move makes you more attractive to investors. With more capital to direct toward producing revenue, your business becomes a better bet to buyers and those looking to invest.
3. Reduce Labor Costs
A contractor is hired for a particular role or project and is paid for the work he or she completes.
Full time employees come with the added expense of onboarding, training, benefits, paid time off, and more.
Eliminate those expenses and reduce your overall labor costs by contracting freelancers for specific functions or projects.
4. Access Specialized Talent
Business owners wear every hat in the beginning. They alone are behind the sales, marketing, accounting, and management of the business.
Entrepreneurs are a savvy and talented bunch, but they are not experts in every conceivable field at once.
Outsourcing allows you to tap into a huge pool of talent to find contractors who specialize in the areas that will impact your business the most.
5. Kick-Off New Projects Quickly
One of your growth strategies may include taking on a new type of project or target customer. Diversification can lower risk, increase revenue, and make your business more attractive to investors.
As the business owner and voice of your brand, you know how to land the project. But what next?
You don’t have the expertise or experience amongst your internal staff to execute. Outsourcing can get you the team you need to start work quickly at an affordable cost.
Learn About Commonly Outsourced Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities a business owner can outsource are limited only by imagination. There are contractors of nearly every conceivable type that are easier-than-ever to find, vet, and hire.
Of course, every business owner needs to fully understand their financials. That doesn’t mean she or he should spend the vast amount of time it takes to perform various accounting functions.
Bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, and more are frequently outsourced. It is so commonplace, in fact, that there is an entire industry of accounting and payroll companies out there that service small business.
Admin tasks can take up a huge amount of your time and attention, pulling you further away from your core business.
Offload administrative tasks such as emailing, phone calls, setting appointments, and creating schedules to a virtual assistant. They are widely available and can often be contracted on the cheap.
There are many options out there for tech-savvy business owners who want to design and manage their own website.
These providers make it easier for novices to get a website online but they are not always the best choice for business.
Outsourcing your web presence, technical portals, and other tech jobs can be more time and cost effective than doing it yourself with better results. Let someone with the expertise help you put your best virtual foot forward.
Copywriting and Content Development
Every business has a host of written communications on a daily basis.
Blog posts, social media, marketing materials, media releases, website copy, and emails are all integral pieces of your business’s communication strategy.
Copywriting and content development need someone who is highly skilled. Don’t leave your brand messaging in the hands of anyone who is not experienced in writing effective, compelling content, including yourself.
Find Professional and Skilled Contractors
When the time has come to start actively searching for and hiring freelancers or service providers, business owners have many choices.
The first place to look is within your own network. Perhaps you know someone who knows someone who has just the skillset you are looking to hire.
There are many resources available for finding professional and skill contractors.
Along with the ones listed above, LinkedIn, social media, and your own customer list are great places to begin. If you are sure your network doesn’t have what you are looking for, there are tons of websites that are worth exploring.
Here are five freelance sites and job boards to check out:
- Upwork: The largest freelance talent marketplace in the world, Upwork connects businesses with great talent, easily and quickly.
- Fiverr: Focuses on freelancers offering digital services, this platform allows buyers to place orders for “gigs” in just one click.
- FlexJobs: Has a team of trained researchers who find and screen jobs in over 50 categories, filling part-time to full-time as well as entry-level to executive roles.
- Scripted: This site works exclusively with writers in a variety of categories. Find experienced and skilled copywriters, bloggers, marketing writers, and more.
- Indeed: This job site is not dedicated exclusively to contractors but is used by freelancers and businesses who tend to be looking to fill roles that require more experience.
Optimize and Manage Freelance Positions
Now that you have a pool of talent to choose from, you need to make sure you hire the right person for the job and someone who is a good fit for your company culture.
Look for someone who looks great on paper and presents well in person or over the phone. Chemistry matters. Check the freelancer’s reviews, testimonials, and references just like you would a full-time hire. Once you are completely comfortable and confident, you can set out the terms of the work and hire the freelancer.
If things go horribly wrong, it’s okay. The flexibility to make changes is one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing freelancers. Learn from your mistakes and use them to make a better hire the next time around.
You don’t have to settle or continue working with a provider who does not suit your needs in every way.
Overcome Typical Outsourcing Challenges
The benefits of using outsourced providers are easy to understand. That doesn’t mean outsourcing is free from challenges, though. Business owners should consider some of the common issues related to outsourcing and keep them in mind while making hiring choices.
If you hire someone who speaks a different language than you, expect there to be some degree of communication difficulty. Over time, you will become more comfortable with this and find a way to communicate together with few glitches.
Time Zone Differences
Many people look at a difference in time zone as a problem at first. We are used to having our employees available during the same working hours as us.
If your freelancer needs to interact with clients or respond to problems in real time, time zone matching will be necessary. However, this can actually be a great benefit to you and your business.
You are effectively increasing available work hours by hiring someone in a different time zone.
Outsourcing Can Grow Your Business
Business owners who are ready to grow their business in a strategic and low-risk way should consider outsourcing.
Lower costs, heightened owner focus, and improved results will lead the way to scalable and continued growth.