The DIY spirit in the small business world is as alive as ever, and if your business takes full advantage of automating certain routine activities it’s probably accomplishing a lot more than it could a decade ago. Just because something can’t be automated, though, that doesn’t mean that your business should be doing it itself.
In business, your time is your currency, so it’s a good idea to maximize the number of hours you spend on your core business and consider the value of outsourcing things that your company either doesn’t have the expertise, or the billable hours to do. But that doesn’t mean that your company should just pay people to do everything that isn’t part of your core business. Here’s 4 examples of things that your small business should think about outsourcing.
Often times, your web presence is the connection between you and your clients; your best friend in terms of attracting business. Nowadays anyone can register a domain and use WordPress to make a serviceable page to host your company. But unless you’re a web developer and building websites is part of your core business, outsourcing web development is probably a better idea.
Experts are there to really knock your website out of the park, and your clients will know the difference too. Compare the companies you’ve seen online with slick, professional sites versus the ones whose design screams “amateur”. It’s a bad look, huh? Sure, you’ll have to pay a premium for a great design, but it’s worth it. Just make sure to keep your brand’s voice in house. You know what your company is trying to say, so don’t try to have someone else speak for you.
Marketing & Advertising
Marketing is something that a lot of small businesses feel the need to go at alone. After all, you know your product and you know what you want to say; that’s half the battle, right?
While many companies have indeed experienced success by marketing themselves, the right kind of marketing expertise can really strap a rocket to your business and take you to the next level.
Unless you’re an actual marketing agency, you’re probably going to miss a few of the finer points in marketing, and your well-intentioned efforts might not get your company anywhere. Furthermore, consulting an outside agency doesn’t necessarily mean divesting your entire marketing strategy to an outside source; tailored services are available, and sometimes your company could benefit from someone really hashing out your SEO strategy, your physical distribution or your high-level marketing plan.
Chances are, there are approximately zero people in your company who get excited over tidying the office. You didn’t start a business to showcase your janitorial skills, so why waste company time playing clean-up?
Recently, I had a meeting with one of my clients. On the subject of their company’s early days, they were telling me how they used to work on a rotation where every few days, two employees would spend a couple hours sweeping, vacuuming, mopping and dusting because on paper, that’s cheaper than hiring a cleaning service. Then they realized that this was costing them more than the hourly wages of the employees on the cleaning schedule; it was also costing them the revenue that those employees could’ve been generating by servicing their clients.
So what they decided to do was to hire a local office janitorial service to come in once a week. Even though this cost more than it would to pay their own employees to do it, it also freed up their employees’ time to generate revenue in excess of the cleaning fees, making for a more profitable outcome.
Accounting & Bookkeeping
Beancounting is vital to your business; you know that. Making sure that your numbers add up and that you’re in the black is of utmost importance, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re doing this right.
Many businesses fall prey to a DIY mentality where they’ll spend time trying to learn the ropes of accounting, and that’s not only wasteful in terms of hours, but it puts you at risk to make some pretty costly mistakes.
Think about it: if you’re spending a couple hours each week working on your internal accounting, you’re spending time that could be better served working with clients, developing your product or building your business — i.e. things that will make you money. Every city has their fair share of accountants and bookkeepers who can sort your books out faster and better than you could by going at it internally. You might even be able to trade your company’s service or product for some accounting services. Either way, this is one expense which pays for itself in terms of freeing up your business hours and avoiding errors.
Of course, outsourcing decisions should be made on the basis of your business’s needs. While consulting and paying professionals for certain services can free up company resources, sometimes there aren’t the available resources to cover the costs of outsourcing in the first place.
So when it comes to deciding whether or not to outsource, make sure that the internal resources you’re freeing up are producing revenues in excess of the cost of whatever it is you’re outsourced. This way, you can continue to drive growth, and take your business to where it needs to get.