The benefits of outsourcing in a small business
Making the decision to outsource a service, a product, or a process can be the best thing you ever do for your business. It can save you money, people power and physical resources. If you are a small business and are trying to run your company single handed, then outsourcing will undoubtedly make the job easier. Well that has always been my opinion and is what I say to business owners when I get asked this question. I also recommend that businesses get into the habit of outsourcing as soon as possible in life of the business. Why?
- a) A business owner should concentrate on what they are good at, which is hopefully the core of the business. They need to be responsible for the growth of the business. So, unless the business is a bookkeeping one, accounts are probably not the key strength of the business owner. (OK, go on; you’re all going to tell me you were accountants in previous lives now aren’t you…)
- b) It implements good practices and puts in place the systems for when the business grows. (the longer into the life of the business you are, the more difficult it becomes to give up that control!) And of course don’t forget to document those processes
- c) Time! It will probably take an experienced bookkeeper a quarter of the time it takes you to keep your books in order. And it will take a good VA a lot less time to type up the reports/ quotes/ invoices for the business while you can focus on dealing with the customer interaction and the new sales.
- d) Flexibility: You can get vital skills for certain aspects of the business on an as and when basis.
I wondered how many people agreed with my view that outsourcing certain vital functions was the right way to go. And also who disagreed. So I asked my network to complete a short survey on who outsourced, what they outsourced and when.
The results were that all the businesses who responded to the survey outsourced one or more functions within their business.
(other included PR, telemarketing and graphic design among others)
So no real surprises about what people outsource: they are the functions that can easily be outsourced and carried out either on site or offsite. And they are the ones where an expert is the best person to do that job!
I was pleased that the most common replies to “when did you start outsourcing?” was that people had started doing it very early in the business life. Lots of people said immediately or within the first 6 months of the business and 2 people said that they had included it as part of their business plan.
And the benefits, well time seemed to be a common theme. Outsourcing allowed the business owner the time to concentrate on the growth of the business. Great to hear that so many of you think that an answering service presents a more professional image to your clients than an answer phone message.
There were comments on the flexibility aspect which reduces the cost to the business of trying to employ someone on a part or full time basis.
Only one person commented that they had had a bad experience of outsourcing and had brought that function back in house – but did say that they still outsourced other services.
So the conclusion has to be that outsourcing is a great way to help and support the growth of your business. But also that the majority of people who provide these services are good at what they do. For myself I think the key to choosing your service provider is by talking to people you know and trust and asking them who they use! Find people who work in the same way that you do, who will present your business in the way want them to, or in the same way you do if they are to talk to or interact with your clients/ customers is important.
So that’s how well it can work – I guess another post has to be on what can go wrong and how to avoid it…..
Let me know what you think about outsourcing and the experiences you’ve had – good and bad.