Many companies are choosing to offload non-core functions to specialist suppliers. What was once viewed as a sign of weakness is now seen as an essential means of reducing costs and making the business more efficient.
As a small business owner it is vital that you make the right decisions when it comes to what you keep in-house, and what you outsource. For example, you might be in need of back office solutions to free up time for your team to do other things. By asking yourself these two simple questions you can help make the right choices for your business.
What Do You Do Well?
The marketing strategy for your business is likely to be based around something that you do well, so it makes sense to be doing of much as this as you can. If you are a graphic designer, the more resources you use designing, and the less you use doing the accounts, the more efficient your business will be.
But what else are you good at? What sets you apart from your competitors? What is your unique selling point? This is also a key feature of a good marketing plan and it is important that it dovetails with your choice of outsourcers.
Let’s say that you receive a lot of enquires by phone. If you want to lead your industry in terms of customer service, you will need to have enough trained staff operating the phones to cope with the demand. If you have a price-lead marketing strategy then it is more acceptable to outsource this job to a call centre.
What don’t you do well?
There may be some area of business that you have absolutely no grasp of, this is perfectly understandable, you can’t be expected to cover all bases. However you should resist the temptation to outsource these areas ‘out of sight, out of mind’. You may, without knowing, be throwing money at an ineffective service.
Do some research before committing to any service, if you are still in the dark as to what the best course of action is then it may be worth hiring a broker or consultant. Either way it is important that you are in the know before making any important decisions.
Once you think you have chosen a provider, don’t commit everything at once, slowly move the different aspects of your chosen function over. See how well they manage smaller tasks and use this as a yardstick for future performance.
Keep tabs on your new provider, If you have a member of staff more knowledgeable in said department, it may be worth delegating them as a liaison between you and them. Make sure they receive routine reports and manage performance and deadlines just as tightly as they would with in-house staff.
By thinking long and hard about the above questions you will outsource the right tasks to the right providers, streamlining your business and affording you more time to do the things you do best.
Author Bio: Joe Errington is a SEO and social media executive for MITIE. A strategic outsourcing company who look after the facilities management of companies in the UK and abroad.