The benefits of outsourcing are numerous. If you’re a successful small business, you’ll notice that you’re quickly running out of time to get everything done that needs to be done. Keeping up with existing tasks is hard enough. Taking on new ones can feel impossible. When you reach this stage of small business ownership, you need to start outsourcing.
Outsourcing means to purchase goods or subcontract services from an outside supplier or source.
Don’t be afraid to hand off some of the tasks that keep your business humming. Paying someone for a few hours of work each week to do even one time-consuming task, like your payroll for example, frees you up to handle more important things — and more of the things that you love about owning your own business!
Experts exist to do the work they are good at so you can do the work you’re good at.
Why Should You Outsource?
Outsourcing can be the answer to reducing and controlling costs of your business. In fact, this is usually the main reason people decide to start outsourcing.
Outsourcing can improve the company’s focus. It will free-up you and your employees (if you have them) and internal resources for new purposes. It will also increase efficiency for the time-consuming functions your business currently lacks the resources for.
Improved Focus on Core Business Activities
Outsourcing can free up you or your people to focus on their strengths. Allowing you or your staff to concentrate on their main tasks and future strategy will make yours or their work less stressful and more fulfilling.
Choosing a freelancer to specialize in a process or service can help you achieve a more productive, efficient business of your own. Many people find that their business gets better when they outsource, and they are able to offer a higher quality experience for their customers, as well as their employees. All of this leads to customer loyalty and employee retention, two of the most resource-saving goals in any business.
The cost savings you’ll achieve by outsourcing can help you release dollars for spending on developing other areas of your business and retaining top talents. Strategic outsourcing allows you to save on labor costs and operating expenses.
Outsourcing can give you access to capabilities and facilities otherwise not accessible or affordable. You may have the need to use an expensive specialized tool that you don’t want to purchase, like a paint booth, an automatic quilting machine or a 3-D printer for example. Let someone else take the financial hit of buying the machine and gaining the expertise, then outsource your need for the use of the tool to them.
Greater Competitive Advantage
Outsourcing can help to make your business more flexible and agile, able to adapt to changing market conditions and challenges, while providing cost savings and service level improvements. Outsourcing can also help you leverage knowledge and skills in your complete supply chain, giving you an advantage over your competitors.
Outsourcing gives you access to expertise, technology and resources. Your hired service provider can improve your performance by meeting key metrics, such as efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction.
Successful Outsourcing Without Losing Quality
To successfully outsource some of your processes, you should take a 2-step approach.
First, identify your business needs by examining your current business processes and workflow. Make sure to identify areas for improvement and determine what outsourcing services your business requires. After identifying your business needs, you can determine which specific tasks to outsource. This task may take a couple of months so that you can accurately see where your time and efforts are being spent, where it makes sense to keep something in-house and where to outsource.
Second, be sure you are able to maintain control over your business by creating a comprehensive service level agreement that sets expectations between you and the service provider. Make sure to describe the products or services to be delivered and constantly collaborate with your new partner to ensure you’re maintaining business control.
Maintaining Your Brand
If you’ve reached the point of needing to outsource, then chances are good you didn’t get there without knowing what makes a good brand. But if you need a refresher, check out our ultimate guide to get your brand up to par.
The guide has sections about visuals, tone, voice, audience and more, making it easier to be consistent with your marketing efforts, stick to your values and provide a consistent solution to your customers’ problems. Having a brand guide for your company makes outsourcing so much easier; if there are questions about what is on brand and what isn’t, you and your new partners merely have to refer to the brand guidelines. This goes for marketing materials and physical products. Give a blueprint and make sure it’s followed.
If everyone is following the same rules, the results will be more cohesive.
It’s helpful to provide the outsourced team with some guidelines and examples, but you can’t stop there. Always have an internal person or team review the completed outsourced work to be sure it aligns with your expectations. Have someone on your internal team go through a rigorous review and inspection process that evaluates uniformity and consistency.
The Bottom Line
Employing strategic outsourcing can be a game-changer for your business. This strategy gives you access to real expertise, modern technology and the resources necessary to succeed.
Further, the right partner helps improve your service efficiency and business productivity. They ultimately help you scale your operations, grow your business and achieve competitive advantages on a larger scale.
Eventually, all successful entrepreneurs figure out when outsourcing is the next necessary step. Doing it right can be a great way to increase your own efficiency and that of your in-house team of subject matter experts, ensuring your outsourced work has the same impact on the projects you finish in-house.
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