If you’re running a small business, you probably have limited resources. That means you need to use them as effectively as possible. Generally, the most effective way to do this is to keep your in-house talent for where it really adds value. Then outsource everything else. Here are seven services and processes every small business should definitely outsource.
Managing taxes and benefits is an employer’s responsibility. This can be complicated enough if you have permanent, salaried employees located in your state working fixed hours. In the real world, even small businesses could have out-of-state employees and temporary staff. You might also have staff on hourly rates and, hence, variable pay and possibly overtime.
If you hire contractors, taxes and benefits are their responsibility. You do, however, still need to check that their invoices are accurate and ensure that they are paid promptly. All this administration can be a major burden for smaller businesses.
As an employer, you have legal and regulatory obligations you need to meet. You’ll probably also have industry best practices it’s highly advisable to follow. If you’re not an HR professional or a lawyer, it can be hard to impossible to make sense of all the (legal) jargon involved in this. At the same time, you’re unlikely to have the need or the budget for an in-house HR team. Outsourcing can be the perfect solution.
Anything to do with IT services is a prime candidate for outsourcing. Firstly, IT is almost always something you need rather than something you do. Secondly, IT staff are always massively in demand. This means that recruitment and retention can be a major headache, especially for small and medium sized businesses.
For many SMBs, the most practical and convenient solution by far is to outsource all core IT services. Then, if you do need, or just want, in-house staff, you can keep them for value-adding services such as developing customized applications.
Search engine optimization and social media strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media strategy are marketing functions rather than IT functions. They are also, fundamentally, two sides of the same coin. Both relate to getting your brand and its products/services found by the right people at the right time. They even use much the same methodology. SEO keywords are effectively identical to social media hashtags.
While SEO and social media strategy both follow the same principles, there can be significant differences in their implementation. In fact, each social media platform has its own rules about what can be posted there along with its own guidelines and best practices. Making sense of all of this can be a major challenge for smaller businesses.
Marketing content creation
You can outsource marketing completely, but this is not necessarily a good move. Effective marketing generally requires knowing a company as well as its (target) customers. For many SMBs, therefore, the best option is to keep at least some of the strategic planning in-house. You may, however, want to bring in consultants for extra guidance.
It is, however, often best to use outsourcing for the bulk of your content creation. Professional content creators have talent, tools, and experience. This combination allows them to deliver high-quality results consistently, even when they’re working to tight deadlines.
Most companies need to offer a central number for people to call when they don’t know which specific extension they should use. Having in-house staff answer these calls is often a very inefficient use of resources.
At the same time, relying on answering machines and IVR services does not necessarily deliver a great experience to the caller. Outsourced call-answering services, by contrast, are cost-efficient, effective, and retain the human touch.
It can be worth keeping some in-house administration staff, but it’s very much advisable to back them up with outsourced services. They can pick up overflow at busy times of the year and cover for holidays and other absences.
How we can help
If you’re interested in finding out more about outsourcing, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.