The word “outsourcing” has developed a bad reputation over the past few decades. Some employees look at it as a threat to their job security or a way for companies to make a quick buck at their expense.
In truth, outsourcing doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It can be a cost-effective way to help your company grow while maintaining top-quality services and products. It’s all about knowing the dos and don’ts.
A great approach to strategic outsourcing is to outsource the tasks that aren’t part of the service you provide. For instance, if you run a law firm, you can outsource certain administrative tasks rather than any legal services.
For a better understanding of strategic outsourcing, check out these common examples.
Examples of Strategic Outsourcing
Running a business is a huge endeavor. The right outsourcing options can be the perfect balance between struggling to do it all yourself and overspending on staff. Here are some of the most beneficial types of outsourcing for small businesses.
1. Information Technology
Information technology, or IT, is one of the most underestimated aspects of small businesses. Many companies have an IT contractor they call when there’s a problem, but regular maintenance falls by the wayside.
The reality is that if your cybersecurity isn’t up to snuff, it leaves you vulnerable to lawsuits. A lawsuit could be the least of your worries compared to the hit your reputation takes when customers don’t feel they can trust you.
Outsourcing your IT services to an IT firm can give you the protection you need. As LINC Project points out, it can also help you accommodate the changing degrees of IT service you need.
For example, you might need a full team of professionals at first to set up a secure network for your data. When that job is done, you just need occasional help with maintenance. With outsourcing, you get as much or as little as you need.
2. Call Centers
We’ve all dealt with the frustration of trying to contact a company with limited availability. What if your customer service is only available from 9-5 on weekdays? For customers who work during those times, when are they supposed to reach you?
This is why outsourced call centers and answering services have become so popular. Your customers can contact you 24/7 at their convenience, sending the message that you care about their experience.
If you don’t want to outsource all your customer service, there’s a middle ground too. You can have an in-house customer service representative during your business hours. When they clock out, your evening and weekend answering service can take over.
3. Accounting Services
In your business’ early days, you might be able to handle the bookkeeping yourself. As you grow, though, your accounting and payroll needs become larger and more complex. What do you do when there’s too much to handle yourself but not enough to justify an in-house accountant?
This is where many small businesses find themselves, and it’s a perfect fit for outsourcing. Hiring an accounting firm gives you expert service without paying for more hours than you need.
As an added bonus, an accounting firm has the expertise to keep you on the legal up-and-up. It’s easy to get into tax trouble due to sheer ignorance of the process, and outsourced accountants know how to protect you.
4. Marketing Services
When it comes to growing your business, marketing is one of the most vital investments you can make. The problem is that too many businesses try to save money with DIY campaigns that end up being ineffective.
A profitable marketing strategy requires a varied approach. It demands a search-optimized website, a social media presence, event planning, and more. Chances are that you can’t find an employee who can do it all.
That’s why outsourcing to a marketing agency is so advantageous. Agencies have teams of professionals including strategists, graphic designers, copywriters, web developers, and more. You get expert-level results without the expense of hiring a full marketing department.
5. Data Entry
If you’re like most businesses, you’d be shocked to find out how much time your employees spend on “busy work.” For instance, a salesperson might spend ten minutes making a sale and twenty minutes filling out the paperwork for it.
To help your business run its best, you need to keep your employees’ time focused on the jobs they do best. That’s where data entry outsourcing comes in. Data entry technicians have the skills to keep your paperwork in order with minimal time invested.
On top of making sure your employees’ time is well-spent, outsourced data entry professionals are great at their job too. You can expect your data entry to take less time than it did when your employees completed it in-house.
Human resources covers a wide range of tasks. As effective as an in-house human resources team can be for a large company, it’s not an expense many small businesses can afford.
Outsourcing your human resources tasks can free up your time for matters that are better suited to your skillset. Between insurance benefits, recruitment and termination paperwork, and more, a human resources firm has the knowledge to handle it efficiently.
Keep in mind that you can choose which tasks you want to outsource too. For example, you might want to outsource your employee benefits management. You can do this while handling all your own recruitment in-house.
Making the Right Outsourcing Decisions
As with any other part of running your business, the success of your outsourcing depends on how you do it. Choosing the right tasks to outsource can let you grow your business while keeping your employees focused on what the do best.
The examples of strategic outsourcing above are the tip of the iceberg. It’s worth your time to take a look at how your business operates and think about what tasks you can delegate to an outside master.
For more help getting your business to reach its potential, check out our blog of business tips.