Your business is established now. You’ve moved from the spare bedroom of your place into that great open office with the Foosball table and the cool coffee machine. Your consulting CFO is positioning you to scale, and has brought you a strategy with that word on it again: outsource. Major corporations outsource things all the time, like those *shudder* call centres you hate so much, to save costs. But you’ve always been a believer that if you want things done right, you do them yourself. That’s a great mentality when your company is just you and your clients and managing your resources is easy; it gets a lot more difficult when you look at scaling your business for success.
The benefits of outsourcing
You’ve already seen the benefits of hiring on an outside CFO for your business. They’re a pro, with specialized skills and are more experienced at running a company than you are. Outsourcing, by definition, is acquiring a product or service rather than producing it yourself. So why would you outsource a process?
Hiring an outside service affects your bottom line. Rather than a full-time employee that needs training and a salary, you’re hiring an expert who needs to maximize their own efficiency to handle the workload from several clients like you. That means that you’re only paying them for the time they spend working on your file, at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee, while getting the knowledge and experience of someone who’s been at this job for a while.
Specialised skills and tools
Looking for outside support gives you access to a huge base of talented people, and a wider range of equipment than you would otherwise have. From expert knowledge of policy and procedure, to training and use of task-specific software, outsourcing your processes can be much more efficient than trying to bring on a full-time employee.
One of the major benefits of outsourcing your non-revenue generating tasks is that it frees up your time. As an entrepreneur, you know how crucial time management is, and how big a detriment it can be if you get side tracked dealing with the minutiae of running a business. Outsourcing a function means you can rest a little easier knowing that the day-to-day functions are in good hands thereby allowing you to get back to building your product.
So, we’ve talked about outsourcing and how it can benefit your business, but we haven’t addressed which parts of your work you should look at outsourcing:
This one’s obvious. Outsourcing accounting is a concept that’s easy for most entrepreneurs to come to grips with. External bookkeepers aren’t a new thing, and they offer a range of different services. From Accounts Payable and Receivable, to revenue recognition, even as far as preparing and filing taxes, it’s easy enough to justify having someone external handle the books. Taking the burden of day-to-day financial operations off your shoulders, and in fact moving that process offsite, is the best way to refocus your attention on your other projects.
The outsourcing of design services is a part of your business that saves more time than it does money. This decision is based more on the scope of the work than it is on the cost of the project. Since you’re unlikely to need a new slate of design work every day, having a full-time employee is unsustainable for your business. Outsourcing the design piece also allows you to explore different designers, each of whom will have an unique style.
Developing and maintaining your website is another part of your business that’s easy to offload to an outside resource. The speed at which technology moves is incredibly high, and the cost of ever-greening an employee’s knowledge base can be prohibitive to keeping an on-site resource. That’s where outsourcing really comes into its own. Since your outside contractor must stay on top of the latest and greatest tech, you benefit directly from the latest advances while keeping costs in line.
Like web development, marketing can seem like a foreign language to most entrepreneurs. The ever-changing cycle of social media sources and the constantly evolving marketing strategies are often best left to those souls brave enough to immerse themselves in the murky waters of marketing. Managing your brand and online presence is something you can quickly hand-off, and keep tabs on with relatively minimal maintenance.
While you’re unlikely to want to outsource your sales team, it can be advantageous to outsource the support function. Be it putting together the contracts or supporting your sales pipeline with a virtual assistant, hiring outside help can often be the best route. The less your sales force manages, the more they focus on the tasks that actively generate revenue. That’s what you hired them for, isn’t it?
The part you should remember
You’re the CEO of a great business, and you’re poised to start the next period of rapid growth. It’s time to start looking at the best way to implement new practises and processes. Bringing in expert help, from dedicated outside resources, can be the perfect path toward achieving the goals you’ve set for your business. Bringing in outsourced help can be a huge cost- and time-saving endeavour, and can give you access to a much broader knowledge base than you might find from in-house resources. As you grow, you can change your process outsourcing to fit the current needs of your business, without being trapped by employment contracts and personal relationships.
To sum it up…
- Break down the work into tasks
- Determine which tasks should remain in-house and which could potentially be outsourced
- Find the right outside resources
- Save dat money
- Develop a stronger product
- Grow your company
- Rinse and repeat