How to Use Outsourcing to Grow Your Business
Let’s say you are a sales or marketing leader in an organization and things are going great! You have an established customer base and your revenue stream is steady. All is well...or is it? As the director or department head you are spread thin. You are being pulled in too many directions. Your time is being gobbled up by budget, operational, and other business management tasks. You hardly have any time to dedicate to business development.
Sound familiar? You think it’s the right time to grow your organization, but you don’t have the time to do it yourself and you don’t have the budget to bring in additional staff.
Countless executives have found themselves in this very predicament. What do they do to push their company to the next level? They get help! Rather than bringing people on staff, they look to BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) centres for solutions. They outsource in a strategic and deliberate way.
Outsourcing can be the key to growth and scalability for small to enterprise businesses. BPO centers can help business leaders minimize costs and maximize productivity by adopting a partnership attitude. Outsourcing also frees up your leaders time to focus their efforts on what they do best: the core of the business.
When you and your existing team can no longer manage the day-to-day operations of the business effectively, it’s time to look at outsourcing. If you have just accepted a new project or client but don’t have the internal bandwidth or expertise to deliver, it’s time to look at outsourcing. If you find yourself wanting to grow your business but have no time during the day to dedicate to that growth, it’s time to look at outsourcing.
Why should you outsource instead of hire? There are many reasons to choose outsourcing to grow your business.
5 Benefits of Outsourcing for Business Growth
Focus on Core Business: Arguably, the most important benefit a business leader realizes when they start outsourcing is time. When an executive is bogged down taking care of every daily task that keeps the company moving, there is no time, energy, or focus available for the core business. By identifying responsibilities that can be delegated to a service provider, organizations are free to focus on the core of the business and achieve growth.
Free Up Capital: Capital is key to business growth, for any organization big or small. When you hire internally, you add fixed costs to your balance sheet. With outsourcing, those costs become variable. Variable costs are more easily shed, changed, and controlled. Lowering fixed costs means you have more capital to funnel to other parts of the business. If you’re looking for investors or have your sites set on eventually selling your business, this move makes you more attractive to investors. With more capital to direct toward producing revenue, your business becomes a better bet to buyers and those looking to invest.
Reduce Labor Costs: An outsourced service is paid for a particular role or project and is paid for the work they complete or are contracted to fulfil. Full time employees come with the added expense of on-boarding, training, benefits, paid time off, and more. Eliminate those expenses and reduce your overall labor costs by outsourcing specific functions or projects.
Access Specialized Talent: Business leaders can wear every hat in the beginning. They are often alone behind the sales, marketing, accounting, and management of organizations. Outsourcing allows you to tap into a huge pool of talent to find service providers who specialize in the areas that will impact your business the most.
Instead of learning how to be an accountant, bring on a company whose accounting expertise will save you money, time, and energy. Instead of creating a blog post that may or may not reach or motivate your intended audience, hire a content development team who can craft effective copy that targets readers you seek.
Technology as a Business Enabler: Gaining access to the providers innovative technologies and solutions should be one of your growth strategies. Including taking on a new type of project or target customer. Diversification can lower risk, increase revenue, and make your organization more attractive to investors. As the sales and marketing leader and voice of your brand, you know how to land the project. But what next?
Commonly Outsourced Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities a business can outsource are limited only by the imagination. There are services of nearly every conceivable type that are easier than ever to find, vet, and contract. Every business is unique, but there are some roles that are more commonly outsourced than others.
Accounting: Of course, every business owner needs to fully understand their financials. That doesn’t mean she or he should spend the vast amount of time it takes to perform various accounting functions. Bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, and more are frequently outsourced. It is so commonplace, in fact, that there is an entire industry of accounting and payroll companies out there that service small and large businesses.
Administrative Assistance: Admin or back office tasks can take up a huge amount of your time and attention, pulling you further away from your core business. Off load administrative tasks such as emailing, phone calls, setting appointments, and creating schedules to a virtual assistant. They are widely available and can often be contracted fairly economically.
Virtual assistants from all over the world can be hired at a much lower hourly rate than the same type of work demands in the US. Of course, language and cultural differences should be weighed and taken into consideration, especially if the assistant will do any client-facing work.
Tech Support: There are many options out there for tech-savvy businesses who want to design and manage their own website. These providers make it easier for novices to get a website online but they are not always the best choice for business. Outsourcing your web presence, technical portals, and other tech jobs can be more time and cost effective than doing it yourself with better results. Let someone with expertise help you put your best virtual foot forward.
Copywriting and Content Development: Every business has a host of written communications on a daily basis. Blog posts, social media, marketing materials, media releases, website copy and emails are all integral pieces of your business’s communication strategy. Copywriting and content development is highly skilled. Don’t leave your brand messaging in the hands of anyone who is not experienced in writing effective, compelling content, including yourself.
Outsource Your Weaknesses: When in doubt as to what roles or responsibilities to outsource, look to your own weaknesses. Owning or running an organization is challenging. Take inventory of the processes that you dread or areas where you lack expertise. Those are prime candidates for outsourcing so that you can be available to the core parts of the business that cannot function without you.
How to Find Professional and Skilled Services
When the time has come to start actively searching for and contracting outsourced service providers, businesses have many choices. The first place to look is within your own network. Perhaps you know someone who knows someone who has just the services you are looking to hire or contract.
These connections can come with a personal recommendation that you can rely on, bringing a level of comfort and reassurance you won’t get when you hire a complete stranger. This can be very helpful, especially when you are just beginning to outsource.
LinkedIn, social media, and your own customer list are great places to begin. If you are sure your network doesn’t have what you are looking for, there are tons of websites that are worth exploring.
Optimizing and Managing Service Providers
Now that you have some tools and can find talent to choose from, you need to make sure you hire the company that is right for the job and a good fit for your company culture. Look for partners who look great on paper and present well in person or over the phone. Chemistry matters. Check their service reviews, testimonials, and references just like you would a full-time hire. Once you are completely comfortable and confident, you can negotiate the terms of the work and contract the provider.
Now you want to ensure that your new team members have all of the information necessary to deliver the work you need at the standards you desire. Set your partner up for success by setting clear expectations. Provide necessary background information, resources, and project goals. Make sure your service provider has guidelines and information pertinent to the job.
In the beginning, you will want to check-in on progress. Don’t wait until the day before you expect a report to be completed to see how things are going. In the first few weeks together, test the waters and make sure your partner is swimming in the right direction. Direct, lead, and ask questions every step along the way, and with combining both partners' domain expertise everyone can focus on better business outcomes.
This will build trust between you and your partner and raise the comfort levels on both sides. Outsourced teams do not want to operate in a void. They want to deliver a service that leads to repeat business for them. Give them the direction needed to succeed and you will both be satisfied as a result with collaborative governance.
If things go horribly wrong, it’s okay! The flexibility to make changes is one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing. Learn from your mistakes and use them to make a better decision the next time around. You don’t have to settle or continue working with a provider who does not suit your needs in every way.
Overcome Typical Outsourcing Challenges
The benefits of using outsourced service providers are easy to understand. That doesn’t mean that outsourcing is free from challenges, though. Business leaders should consider some of the common issues related to outsourcing and keep them in mind while making hiring choices.
Language barriers: If you hire someone that speaks a different home language than you, expect there to be some degree of communication difficulty. Over time, you will become more comfortable with this and find a way to communicate together with few hitches. If the divide is too great and you cannot understand each other, it may be time to look for a different freelancer. Note that jobs that involve direct client communication or writing should only go to people with an excellent command of your primary language.
Time Zone Differences: Many people look at the difference in time zone as a problem at first. We are used to having our employees available during the same working hours as us. If your provider needs to interact with clients or respond to problems in real time, time zone matching will be necessary. However, this can actually be a great benefit to you and your business. You are effectively increasing available work hours by hiring a company in a different time zone. Wake up in the morning and see that your outsourced provider has delivered what you need while you were sleeping.
Business owners and leaders who are ready to grow their business in a strategic and low-risk way should consider outsourcing. Lower costs, heightened management focus, and improved results will lead the way to scalable and continued growth.