Are you a small business owner or a large business executive? Maybe something in between? Do you find it hard to juggle–or oversee the juggling of–the many different jobs that keep your business functioning?
Who wouldn’t be?! After all, virtually every component of a business is a business in and of itself. Your business excels at some things because those are what you’re in business for. Other things are outside your purview and can give you headaches.
Did you earn your MBA so that you could mop the hallways? Or reach out by phone to client prospects? Or do background checks on prospective new hires?
Of course not–unless, that is … you’re in business specifically to do one or more of these sorts of things. If so, then you might actually be one of those companies that outsource.
If you’re not an outsourcing service provider yourself, though, how do you go about outsourcing your business’s service needs?
Likely Categories for Using Outsourcing Service Providers
What follows are some of the big categories we believe have very good outsourcing potential.
1. Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Tax Preparation
Growing a business is good news! However, your newly increased revenues might wind up going toward extra space to accommodate all the accountants, tax preparers, and other staff you will need.
That is, unless you outsource some of these roles. While it’s important of course to house the CFO and other senior staff on site, others–especially seasonal employees such as tax accountants– can work from home or a rented office as freelancers.
And if you’re a small business or start-up, outsourcing financial services could prove to be a very wise decision. Among other things, financial service firms can provide expertise that might help your business flourish.
2. Website Design and Updating
There are many services online for do-it-yourself website designers. Unless you’re building a website for your own personal pleasure, though, you should hire a professional website designer instead.
It’s not hard to build a website from one of the many templates out there, but unless you hire a trained website designer, you risk having a common-looking or even flawed website. Nothing that would entice people to use your business.
You want your company and its brand to be memorable, right? And, really, you don’t want to have to stay on top of all the necessary updated by yourself–or have your assistant spend a lot of his time doing them.
3. Copy Writing
Similar to webpage design, writing is something most people have a little experience with and therefore believe they can do it well– or at least sufficiently for the job.
It is writing after all. right?
Nope. Good writing of the kind that will make your business and all it does stand out in the minds of the public takes talent and years of practice. It also should require impeccable grammar skills.
4. Printing and Mail Service
Considered a “non-core” service–that nonetheless is very important to a lot of workplaces–outsourcing printing and mail can offer a lot of conveniences, such as quick repair for technologies when they break down. Learn more here.
Check out the website of one of the larger payroll processing companies and take in all they offer. There probably will be services you’d never heard of, much less realized you need for your business.
6. Cleaning Services
it’s one thing if your company is large enough to support a dedicated in-house cleaning crew. But for most, this would be an unwise use of resources.
Professional cleaning companies are just that: professional. They know the latest cleaning technologies as well as up-to-date-safety standards and numerous other useful things.
They’re efficient and often flexible to schedule. For example, they will get the place ready for your holiday party and clean up after but will stay out of sight during the party. You should invite them to the party, though.
7. Facilities Maintenance
Like cleaning, perhaps even more so, facilities maintenance involves a lot of technical expertise and a wide array of skills–from gardening and landscaping to fixing leaky pipes to assembling new office furniture.
Also like cleaning, larger businesses probably benefit from having at least one maintenance worker on site, but for smaller businesses, this is a poor use of resources.
Outsourcing facilities maintenance. like most other kinds of outsourcing, has both pros and cons that need to be considered before making a commitment.
Single outsourcing, also known as single source outsourcing, is “the practice of using one supply source without a competitive bidding process for a justifiable reason.”
It seems hard to imagine that it’s possible to get all your outsourcing services from a single outsourcing company–for example, facilities maintenance, accounting, and web design aren’t the best mix. Still, there are services that might complement one another.
For example, a human resources firm might also offer payroll services and perhaps employee trainings as well.
Freelancing is a great source for “desk jobs” like accounting and legal services, as well as for creative jobs like writing, photography, and design. All these jobs are important; however, some businesses might need them less frequently than others.
For example, small business outsourcing is something to be expected, with a limited number of employees can only wear so many “hats” before they burn out. So they will look for a variety of different freelance specializations.
The freelance market has been helped tremendously in the past several years by online employer-freelancer matching services such as Upwork and Fiverr, which offer extras that add convenience for both the one hiring and the one seeking work.
Cautions About Outsourcing to Think About
We’ll conclude by sharing some wisdom about outsourcing–which be a big help to businesses when done well
A business might want to think twice about outsourcing these things, however:
- The training and socializing of new employees. Chances are you want to have new employees learn traditions, protocols, and work expectations in house. Occasional trainings by an outside HR firm wouldn’t be bad, though.
- Anything involving customer/client relationships. Would you want a low-wage employee you’ve never met speaking with your customers and clients? What might they be saying and how would you know?
- Research and development (R&D) and other core business activities. These are significant to business’ missions. Farming them out could hurt the bottom line. Consider partnering with universities for this, though.
- Most other things that involve branding the business. Your brand tells people what to expect from your products and services. It differentiates your offering from that of competitors. It is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
To state it a bit differently, don’t work with outsourcing service providers in ways that might hurt your company’s valuable reputation. Do work with them in other ways that help your productivity, though.
Why not start assessing the needs of your business in the near future?