Outsourcing

As your business grows, you may well find your staff becoming overstretched. This frequently results in loss of efficiency and staff morale as employees become stressed and frustrated. This impacts negatively on your interaction with customers leading to clients becoming less satisfied too. How to deal with this problem? Outsourcing some of your functions is the answer. But which functions are well-suited to outsourcing, and which functions need to remain in-house?

Never outsource Core Business Competencies

Core business competencies are the bread and butter of your business – functions which you depend on directly to make income. Assessing your clients and their particular requirements will highlight the core competencies your business needs to function well.

So will looking at your business’s mission statement and the skills required to service your business niche. Discussion with your employees can also highlight core functions and skills that give your business a competitive advantage in the market.

Core business competencies might include:

  • Strategic planning and related organizational skills.
  • Business and financial judgment and decision-making.
  • Functions based on product-specific knowledge and insights.
  • Intellectual property and proprietary business information.
  • Specific industry-related skills.
  • Executive leadership that impacts overall management, procedures, policies, projects, and personnel decisions.
  • Functions that impact your business’s legal liabilities and accountability.
  • Functions that carry risk or are unpredictable in their scope and impact.
  • Functions that are interdepartmental or multidisciplinary.

Outsourcing is a powerful tool to improve efficiency and access expensive skills and technology. Remember, however, that you can’t hand over the ‘steering wheel’ of your business and still expect to remain the driver that determines where your business goes!

Functions that are suitable for outsourcing

Many business functions can be successfully outsourced, allowing you and your staff to focus on those core functions. Outsourcing allows you to incorporate skills and products into your business without employing or training more people or investing in more technology.

These functions lend themselves very well to outsourcing:

1. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Effective SEO is vital for any business these days. It is a prime function to be outsourced for several reasons. The most compelling being that SEO requires a high level of specialized knowledge and expertise.

It is a complex subject that needs really clued-up, experienced professionals to do well, with in-depth knowledge of the most up-to-date and effective SEO marketing tools. Outsourcing SEO is more efficient, will save you money, and ensure that you remain competitive in your field.

2. Customer service

Customer service is another crucial function of any business, but it’s also very time-consuming! If you don’t have the resources to deliver an exceptional experience every time, outsourcing customer service is a wise idea.

There are many substantial benefits to doing this:

  • It will relieve you of a burden and allow you to focus on core business priorities.
  • Many providers offer support in multiple languages and across several channels (phone, live chat, email, social media, and more).
  • It will boost your efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability.
  • You will acquire the services, skills, and technological know-how of specialized, dedicated customer service teams.

Remember, the cost of acquiring a new customer is enormous compared with retaining an existing one. If you can’t keep your clients satisfied, outsource customer support before they go to one of your competitors instead.

3. Accounting and bookkeeping

It can be expensive to employ a dedicated person for the day-to-day bookkeeping/accounting functions, especially for small businesses. Many companies choose to outsource their accounting function as it is more economical and accurate to employ a specialized company or even a part-time freelancer.

4. Social Media and Digital Marketing

An experienced marketing firm will relieve you of the need to employ people with the highly specialized skills this function requires. These include content creation, ad design and planning, email marketing, and alignment with your SEO strategy.

Outsourcing will also ensure your business posts on the prime social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat, Linked In, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, and more – whatever platforms your potential customers are using. It will help with lead generation and CRM integration. Crucially, it will help you grow your followers with effective, targeted marketing campaigns and promotions.

5. Sales

Sales is a wide-ranging and vital function, but your company might not have the expert personnel or sophisticated processes to make sales calls, set up funnels, and close deals on a large scale. By handing those skilled tasks over to a professional and specialized company, your business will generate more sales and profitability will improve.

6. IT management

As IT requires highly specialized levels of skill, IT management is one of the largest outsourcing industries. Handling IT operations in-house can be costly, and the average small business often doesn’t have the necessary expertise.

Several outsourcing options are available. You can outsource to a company or freelancer who can offer technical help as and when needed. Alternatively, you can outsource to a full-service IT provider for more hands-on assistance.

7. Legal services

You probably won’t be shocked to learn that having an in-house lawyer is pretty expensive! Most small businesses, therefore, outsource their legal services on either a retainer basis or on an ad-hoc basis through online marketplaces for legal services and documents.

8. Administration

Outsourcing your admin function to a virtual assistant will relieve you of most of the admin burden. A VA can take care of everything from secretarial work, office administration, transcription, and translation, to data entry, inbox management, scheduling, and spreadsheets, saving you both time and money.

9. Market and customer research

Expanding into a new market or launching a new product is a risky business without proper research. Market research is a long and expensive process. Outsourcing is both easier and more cost-effective. You will benefit from valuable insights and resources, so you can make informed decisions.

In conclusion

Outsourcing is a valuable tool, particularly for smaller businesses with limited resources. It’s a good way of accessing the benefits of highly professional skills, expertise, and technology – without breaking the bank in the process!

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