I’m very fond of hats!
You’ll have noticed on my website, many pictures of me sporting my favourite fedora.
People know me for my hats.
When you work for yourself, wearing many hats becomes part of your reality, especially in the early days when you are trying to get it off the ground. You must find capacity within yourself to suddenly do a whole host of roles you were never prepared for.
You become your own marketing team, sales team, office manager, administrator, receptionist, HR person, productions manager, accountant…
It can become overwhelming very quickly, especially when all you really want to do is get on with the thing you love doing (in my case – creative writing!).
Just because you work for yourself, doesn’t mean you have to do all of it yourself!
There comes a point where you have to admit to yourself you can’t do it all, and actually, it’s better value for you to pay someone else to do it, instead of struggling with it yourself when you could be out there making money!
“Do what you do best, outsource the rest”
That’s why I’m pleased to share this piece of contributed content about the dilemma small businesses face:
To outsource, or not to outsource… that is the question….
Outsourcing for Small Businesses – is it possible?
When starting up a small business there are so many things to think about that it can almost become overwhelming. As a business owner you need to be the marketing expert, accountant, client manager and production director.
But as your business starts to grow it can become incredibly stressful, nearly impossible to keep on top of every aspect of your business which is where outsourcing comes into its own. There comes a time when the only way forward is to get outside help.
As a small business owner it can feel counter intuitive to start spending money on outside help for services which you have been organising yourself, after all, you are trying to make money and build up profits – but outsourcing can help your business to grow.
There are some particular services which are often the first to be outsourced because they can become more difficult to keep on top of as businesses grow bigger, for example accounting and marketing.
However, there are a variety of aspects to consider before heading down the outsourcing road, aside from the extra costs, so here is a quick outline of the pros and cons of outsourcing for small businesses.
The positive aspects of outsourcing for small businesses
The first positive aspect of outsourcing is you can often pay less for the services than it would cost you to do it yourself. If you outsource to another person you can save on labour costs or your own time, and help to boost your own profits.
Once such scenario that comes to mind is accounting services. If you are a freelancer you know how tedious and confusing keeping on top of your accounting books can be. Which is why companies like Crunch who specialize in accounting for freelancers can be a good place to outsource.
While you will have to pay to outsource, your time will be freer to work on more lucrative projects, bringing in more money and boosting profits. Time previously spent on accounting or marketing can be used instead to seek new clients and new business.
You will have more time to focus on growing your business safe in the knowledge that the tasks which were taking up your time or which you don’t enjoy doing can be handled by an expert outside of your company.
You can also save on employee costs because if you outsource to a freelance or a contractor you don’t need to employ staff, which will save on costs as well as all of the HR obligations which come along with employing people.
The final advantage is that as your contractor is focused only on the job at hand so they are likely to get it done much more quickly than you could yourself due to all of the other responsibilities you are trying to deal with. Outsourcing can relieve your stress and take the pressure off, allowing you to move your business forward successfully.
The negatives of outsourcing for small businesses
While there are many positives to outsourcing as we have seen there are also some disadvantages which might put some business owners off the whole thing. One of the key issues is actually finding a reliable contractor to outsource to.
Unfortunately if you find a contractor that proves to be unreliable, it might turn out to be a nightmare and end up costing you money, and causing you a business mess which you then need to clean up yourself.
Another downside is that you are handing over control of a part of your business to someone else and this can potentially cause problems – you won’t be there to oversee how things are being done or pick up on any errors which might be being made.
There can also be problems with communication – particularly if you are outsourcing to companies in different time zones, or where they work remotely and might not have a strong or reliable internet connection.
Quality control can be an issue and if you have been waiting months for work to be delivered, only to receive work that is sub-par and has to be started again from scratch, this is when outsourcing can become a real problem.
There are many factors to think about when considering whether or not outsourcing is the right route to take for your small business. There is no doubt that there are many positive aspects including saving you money, reducing stress and saving time, all of which can help give you the space you need to grow your business successfully.
On the other hand, you need to make sure you find a suitable and reliable contractor, which can be harder than it might first appear. And if you get that wrong, outsourcing can result in delays, poor quality work and lack of control over parts of your business.
Overall if you think outsourcing is right for you then it’s important to take your time, do your research and not commit to working with anyone until you have carried out a thorough check on them first.
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