COVID-19 is not only causing sickness and death among millions of people globally, but the virus also has devastating impacts on businesses. It’s predicted we will see the pandemic’s long-term effects for years.
What can small businesses do to keep their business running? Outsourcing is a powerful tool.
Are you unsure of the outsourcing process? Continue reading and know how to outsource professionals for your business.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
There’s a reason why more small businesses are using more contractors and outsourcing their tasks. Are you unsure if you’re ready to make the transition to outsourcing vital tasks? Here are a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you outsource.
Most businesses outsource to save money. You receive the same quality work without paying a salary, benefits, and other expenses. As long as you find a skilled contractor or agency, you’ll have the advantages of an in-house employee without the added financial responsibilities.
The roles you outsource usually require specialized tools and software, such as ERP and business automation. By outsourcing, you’re accessing a pool of skilled professionals who work with the essential tools necessary to perform their roles, preventing you from making any unnecessary investments.
You have to spend money to make money. And that’s true with outsourcing. If you’re handling all roles yourself, you risk running an inefficient business and losing money.
Many businesses forget how much time outsourcing saves. This goes beyond the time of managing a staff; you’ll save time because you’re not training your outsourced professionals and you won’t be bogged down with meetings or other interferences.
Start New Projects Quickly
While the COVID-19 pandemic is causing many setbacks, it’s also creating new opportunities and business innovation.
Small business owners are starting new projects to keep up with the new wave of consumerism. But if you hire for these roles, your projects could take months to achieve. That’s because you need to find the right staff, train them, and manage their roles.
Outsourcing helps start new projects quickly; whether you’re enhancing your marketing campaigns or redesigning your website, you can get these projects running before the pandemic ends.
You can also save money on projects by outsourcing. You’re not investing in any equipment or tools, such as customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning software, cutting down on overhead.
Receive Work You’re Not Skilled to Fulfill
It’s common for businesses to outsource tasks that require special skills, such as IT and business intelligence. If you don’t have the skills for this task, there are a variety of professionals around the world who can fulfill this role for you.
Focus Your Time on Your Business
Non-core tasks eat up your time and your money. In addition, your core tasks are likely what you excel in and what you’re passionate about.
Outsourcing lets you focus on essential tasks you know you can complete. This results in more efficiency and better business management, adding to your business success.
What to Outsource
The first part of the outsourcing process is knowing which tasks to outsource and which ones to keep in-house. This is more difficult than most business owners think — you’ll have to take a look at your business processes, your needs, and your skills to determine what you need to outsource.
The best practice is to know what you can do as a business owner and what your existing staff can handle. You’ll also want to keep core tasks in-house and outsource the ones you don’t need every day.
If you’re still confused, here’s a breakdown of the most common tasks that are outsourced.
Digital Marketing and SEO
Every business needs digital marketing. Since many consumers search for products and services on search engines, SEO is also a smart investment.
But most business owners don’t have the skills and resources to host a successful business marketing and SEO campaign.
This is why most small businesses will benefit from outsourcing their digital marketing. This task will be more integral after the pandemic; you’ll want to attract new and existing customers to increase your sales.
Sales and Customer Service
If you don’t have a natural “sales personality,” outsourcing your sales can open up your market and can attract more customers. Most sales outsourcing agencies have CRM and other technology to keep up with new customer information, ensuring all data is secure and compliant.
You’ll also experience these benefits when you outsource customer service. If you don’t have the time to communicate with customers, outsourcing your customer service will result in significant savings and outsourced customer service agents have more experience and training in handling customer demands.
Finance and Accounting
There will come a time when you can’t handle your business’ finances DIY. While hiring a finance professional, such as an accountant or payroll specialist, may be out of your budget, you can access these crucial tasks by outsourcing them.
Outsourcing your finance department will not only cut the costs of hiring a full-time staff member but will also ensure your taxes and other financial documents are done correctly, resulting in fewer audits and penalties.
HR outsourcing is becoming more popular. You’ll always ensure you have a fully staffed HR department filled with talented professionals. Outsourcing HR not only supports your business but also supports your in-office staff members, resulting in a healthier workplace.
Supply Chain Management
E-commerce companies benefit from outsourcing their supply chain management because they handle customer demands and orders more effectively while reducing time and costs. Supply chain companies also have essential technology that many businesses don’t have.
Other Roles to Outsource
There are an endless amount of roles that you can outsource. While we listed some of the most common ones, you can outsource any role, from a CFO to a project manager.
Outsourced roles can be broken up into three categories:
- Executive roles
- Repetitive tasks
- Special skills and knowledge
If you need a business partner but can’t afford to split your earnings, you can outsource someone with executive knowledge and experience. Executive roles you can outsource include the CFO, CMO, and even business consulting.
Most businesses outsource repetitive tasks. These include data entry and inventory management. In addition, you can outsource any skills that require specialized knowledge that you don’t have. IT and cybersecurity are great examples.
When Should You Outsource?
Since we’re still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners should look at current tasks and the tasks you will need for the future. You’ll also want to take the economic effects into consideration, creating a new strategy where you can outsource professionals.
Let’s take digital marketing as an example. You’ll want to host a powerful marketing campaign to expand your audience, especially while so many people are online now. Different marketing strategies, such as SEO and social media marketing, will boost your brand and can result in more sales.
Other marketing tactics, such as web design, can give your brand a new and improved look when the pandemic ends. Many marketing companies offer web design in their list of services, so you’re able to access these essential web and marketing tactics all in one place.
There are also tasks that all businesses need, such as accounting. It’s best to put your company’s finances and taxes in the hands of professionals rather than doing them DIY.
Find the Best Professionals
While outsourcing is cost-effective and beneficial, your outsourcing efforts will fail if you don’t find the right professionals or the best agency. That’s why research is essential when outsourcing.
If you’re hiring an agency, look at reviews and make sure they offer what you need. If you’re outsourcing an individual, take a look at their resume, past clients, and ask for references.
Referrals are also helpful. Ask your professional network for recommendations and advice. If your professional network is small, social media outlets such as LinkedIn are always helpful.
If all else fails, you can post an ad on a job board or freelancing websites. Many talented and experienced contractors access these websites to find new gigs, so you’ll be connected with a skilled contractor.
All business owners should also understand that finding the best agency or professional may take some time, and even some trial and error. The best course of action is to know your needs and communicate well; for example, explain what you want and set deadlines.
If you don’t see results, that may not mean your contractor or agency is a bad fit. You may not see results because that task isn’t what your business needs. Other roles, such as SEO, aren’t effective immediately — it takes time for Google’s algorithms to recognize and rank your website.
How Much Should You Pay?
Outsourcing payment varies. Agencies usually charge set or monthly fees. But independent contractors all have different payment standards. While you should always have a budget, research the average pay for that role beforehand.
When it comes to outsourcing, do you get what you pay for? It depends.
Professionals and agencies in developing countries will charge less than those who reside in the U.S. and other major countries. You receive the same work as someone in the U.S. for a fraction of the price. This is why some businesses reported saving half a million dollars by outsourcing abroad.
But should you only outsource overseas? There’s no guarantee that workers abroad are better than your neighbors — they’re just able to charge less. In addition, several factors affect pricing. This is why price doesn’t always dictate quality.
Instead, look at their past work and see if they’re the best match. If so, then pay them what they’re worth.
How they charge also varies. Some contractors or agencies may charge a flat fee while others charge per hour. More agencies also charge a monthly or yearly fee, especially if you’re investing in software.
How to Communicate With Your Contractors or Agency
We mentioned communication previously, but it’s essential to emphasize this point and how to communicate with your contractors.
Outsourcing results in time and money saved, but these professionals don’t work in your office every day. They may not understand your branding, your processes, your preferences, and other crucial information about your business.
This is why effective communication is essential to the success of your outsourcing processes.
Start by making a document or an outline of what you want. List specific tasks, their due dates, how to perform them, and other information that pertains to your business and your own methods.
A document serves as a reference for your contractors or the agency, ensuring you receive the best quality work.
At the same time, you don’t want to micromanage. A detailed document should be enough to guide your contractors. If you’re constantly looking over their shoulders, you lose valuable time you could use toward your core business functions.
Understand that even with a reference, your contractors or the agency may slip up. This is normal during the beginning phase; the outsourced professionals are just getting to know your brand. If this occurs, provide constructive criticism to educate your contractors.
The Outsourcing Process for Small Businesses: Find the Best Professionals to Outsource
Business owners should be able to handle their core business tasks without wasting time and money on other roles.
Outsourcing allows businesses to achieve all of this while saving time and money. Before outsourcing professionals, small business owners should understand the outsourcing process to ease the transition.
If you’re creating a digital marketing strategy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you came to the right place.
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