Running a business of any size in today’s highly competitive environment requires an immense investment of effort and time. For all new entrepreneurs and start-ups, the challenge is even more acute because they often have limited resources to delegate work. Rather than slogging endlessly from task to task, entrepreneurs should consider these outsourcing ideas to free up their schedules.
As an entrepreneur, you need to focus on your core competencies. You might be able to do it all early on, but as your business grows it’s not advisable to keep doing everything yourself.
For example, if you are running a business selling high-end real estate, you need to focus on closing deals much more than spending time creating image catalogs of new listings. It’s all about finding where you bring value and finding others that are able to help with the things you don’t really need to do.
This article will cover 11 outsourcing ideas that we’ve tested ourselves that are guaranteed to give your business a competitive edge. Many are low cost / high effort activities that once you offload, you’ll be wondering how you ever managed to do them all yourself.
1. Managing Social Media Channels
Nearly every business has a social media presence and needs to allocate resources to manage it. Instead of spending your valuable time managing social media or hiring an employee to do so, you can outsource the task to an external agency or freelancer.
In their initial growth stage, many start-ups and firms tend to have a haphazard approach to social media.
It is not surprising to see a storm of posts on a certain day and then absolute silence for weeks.
An effective social media strategy calls for regular posts with relevant content in order to build engagement. It also includes responding to customer queries and issues, as well as social screening through your business's social media channels.
To outsource these tasks, you must clearly define the scope of the work and regularly engage with your outsourcing partner. You should clearly specify the social handles, post frequency, escalation procedures, analytics, and reporting expectations. You should also work together with your outsourcing partner to build a social content calendar and develop an effective brand voice and personality on social platforms.
2. Bookkeeping and Accounting
For an entrepreneur, it is absolutely critical that your day-to-day financial transactions are diligently tracked and your books are properly managed as mandated by the law. Every business needs to prepare accounting statements for taxation and other compliance requirements.
Since engaging a full-time bookkeeper to work in-house will be expensive, it is best to outsource bookkeeping and accounting tasks to an external firm. You can even try contracting some of the virtual bookkeeping services, which tend to offer very competitive rates for managing your financial data.
3. Payroll Processing
If your business employs several people, you must make sure to properly pay their wages and meet benefit and compliance requirements. Hiring a payroll processing firm can take away the burden of meeting those requirements, generating payslips, and disbursing paychecks on time. You will also come across as a professional firm in the eyes of your employees.
4. Customer Support
Irrespective of whether you just want to offer phone and email support or you aim to support your customers across different digital touchpoints, outsourcing your customer support functions is a no-brainer. Managing an in-house customer support team is costly and time-consuming.
Instead, outsource this work to specialized agencies that have a successful track record of managing customer support for companies in your vertical. However, remember that you have to draw up detailed contracts that clearly specify the agency’s deliverables and also must regularly track their performance.
5. Design and Creative Work
Nearly every business needs to produce a lot of high-quality media content, from designs for your marketing collateral to creatives for ads and online campaigns. It’s also recommended to use a graphic designer for your Instagram profile. You may also consider developing video and interactive content to promote your business. Creative work is better outsourced than done in-house.
Licenses for design software and the rates of creative professionals can be very steep. In contrast, if you outsource your work to a design agency, you can get all your work done, either on a monthly retainer or on a project-by-project basis, without accruing any fixed overhead.
6. Market Research
You may seek relevant market research data whenever you enter a new territory or vertical or if you are looking to drastically grow your business. Market research is best left to experts, and it is ideal to outsource this work to specialized teams who have experience extracting ground-level information and providing actionable insights for your business.
7. Website Development and Management
At the outset, many start-ups try to develop and manage their own websites using popular website builder tools, free templates, or at times running the business without a website. Others invest in in-house development teams to build their websites and apps. This approach can be both costly and ineffective. Even a cursory internet search will lead you to stellar agencies that develop stunning websites at very low prices.
It is almost always better to outsource website and app development to these specialized software development firms that have years of experience in building such products. When outsourcing your website development tasks, ensure that you draw up a contract for regular management of your site, which includes ensuring security, backups, and continuous availability.
For most new businesses, the Wordpress content management system (CMS) will work best. Wordpress is the most popular CMS, powering over 64% of websites.
While there are other good site builders, using Wordpress will make it much easier to find affordable developers and web designers to help you make your site successful.
Using such a popular system will also help ensure you will have ongoing support and updates from a vibrant community.
8. Content Development and Marketing
While your website offers you a web presence, it will only be successful if it has the correct content to engage with your audience. Not only should you post relevant and engaging content, but you must also post regularly.
It’s not unusual to come across business websites where blogs are posted only once every few weeks, and this is just not a good strategy for connecting with and growing an audience for your business.
Depending on your business, your website could include valuable content like white papers, tutorials, case studies, testimonials, and so on. Outsourcing content development and marketing tasks can ensure a steady stream of content across your website and social channels. This can jazz up your company’s web presence and make it appear more respectable and trustworthy in the eyes of your target audience.
9. Online Marketing Tasks
With the internet becoming one of the primary drivers for businesses today, it is absolutely critical to engage in effective online marketing. Now, this can include improving SEO to secure your website’s place in top search results and paid marketing activities such as running ads on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites. It is prudent to outsource these tasks to specialized digital marketing agencies with relevant experience in your business vertical. While a nascent in-house team will inherently have a limited skill set, a digital agency would have years of experience, access to plethora of sophisticated tools and vertical specialists (for example a paid ad specialist focusing only on ecommerce).
10. Recruitment Tasks
Although this article is all about outsourcing, there are some roles that require hiring a person for your team. Hiring the right person for a role in your organization involves a lot of steps. To start with, you have to post the job opening on multiple job portals or professional networking sites, which may become repetitive and tedious. Next, you have to go through each application and build a shortlist, and then engage in the process of scheduling and interviewing candidates.
Not only is this process time-consuming, but with your limited time it can also keep you from performing the core tasks of your business. Instead, outsourcing recruitment services to a professional agency can help you secure a wider set of interested candidates and hire talented employees quickly and efficiently.
11. Project Management Tasks
While project management is considered one of the core tasks for any business, it might make sense to outsource this activity to a specialist firm or individual. Most traditional entrepreneurs would balk at the idea of outsourcing project management tasks, and yet they would readily agree that it consumes a great part of their working day.
To outsource project management tasks, you must select a specialized agency or resource and build an effective working relationship. You must also clearly specify how you wish key business functions to be tracked, work closely with your outsourcing partner to delegate managerial duties over time, and keep diligent oversight. With a little effort and patience, you can outsource one of the most time-consuming aspects of an entrepreneur’s life and focus on what really matters: growing your business.
Apply These Outsourcing Ideas to Propel Your Company
New entrepreneurs and start-ups often have limited resources to delegate work. On the other hand, it requires an immense investment of effort and time to run a business in today’s highly competitive environment. With these 11 outsourcing ideas that are guaranteed to give a competitive edge, entrepreneurs can focus on their core competencies and free up their schedules. As the business grows, it’s not advisable to keep doing everything yourself.
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