Many companies, all over the world, have had massive success with outsourcing work. Small companies outsource jobs that they can’t afford the staff to tackle. Large, even global, businesses continue to outsource because it’s often easier and more cost effective than hiring an in-house team to take on some areas of the business. Solopreneurs outsource to other solopreneurs when they come across something that they don’t understand or have the time to commit to. Even bloggers, and people selling their crafts online, sometimes outsource jobs like social media management or hire a virtual assistant to free up their time to be more creative.
It seems like almost everyone that has a business, no matter how big or small, is outsourcing something, and it’s easy to see why. Outsourcing can save you massive amounts of money. It can free up your time for more critical tasks, and it can give your business access to the experts that it needs to grow and develop, while staying within the law and offering your customers and clients consistent products and services. Outsourcing can help your business to become profitable, successful and consistent. It can help you to develop a positive reputation as you grow and it can even help you to become a better employer.
But, it’s not as simple as deciding to outsource some of the jobs that you don’t like. There are four main kinds of outsourcing, each with their own specific benefits and advantages. Some, you may be doing already without even realizing. Let’s take a look at the main ways that you can outsource work, as well as why you should.
Sometimes, a business needs help on a specific challenge or project. Something that they don’t feel able, or have the time to tackle on their own, that they need an expert to help with, but that they don’t need full-time staff for. This is project outsourcing.
Project outsourcing is often done by freelancers and sole traders, instead of professional companies. Freelancers are able to take work as and when they need it, and freelance agencies and websites can typically put you in touch with a person that can help you when you need it.
You might choose to take on a freelancer for projects like web design, SEO or digital marketing campaigns, photography, design work or editing. Jobs that they can handle without having previous knowledge or experience of your business. Hiring a freelancer like this can be handy, and cheaper than hiring another company or permanent member of staff, but you will still get fast results and access to a skilled worker. Over time, you might develop working relationships with a network of freelancers, so that there’s always someone that you can turn to, that you have worked with in the past and has some experience with your business, whenever a project that you need help with crops up.
Professional outsourcing is more on-going than project. Things that don’t just happen occasionally, but that you always need. The things that some companies choose to hire in-house teams or members of staff for. You might even be outsourcing some of these professional services already, without realizing.
Accounting is a common one. Many small businesses worry about their accounts and hire an accounting firm to help them to keep on top of things, or just to help them to file their return at the end of the year. That is a professional outsourcing arrangement. You probably wouldn’t want to hire a freelancer to tackle your accounts, as it’s much easier to use the same people all of the time, they’ve got a knowledge of your company and its finances, and it’s much easier than someone new getting to grips with things everytime that you need help.
When it comes to things like legal services, hiring an outside company can be essential, unless you happen to have a law degree. They’ll make sure your business stays within the law by helping you to draft contracts and legislation. Administration, on the other hand, you could do yourself, but outsourcing to a company means that your customers have round the clock support and that your time can be better spent elsewhere.
Many small sales businesses start out making their own products out of their spare room. As things pick up, this is no longer viable. But, hiring staff, a warehouse, equipment and floor space is costly. For many small businesses, it’s just not worth it. Manufacturing outsourcing comes in two main kinds. Read “nearshore vs offshore” to help you understand the benefits, and drawbacks of these kinds of outsourcing, but no that offshoring manufacturing work could save you a massive amount of money while giving you access to a skilled and efficient team.
IT is one of the things that many businesses struggle with the most, but in the modern world, it is also one of the most important areas of business. Technology changes all of the time, and you may find that to be competitive your company doesn’t just need to be online, it needs to store data online, have its own app and even software. But, IT professionals are expensive, and often the most skilled professionals work for the companies that pay them the most.
Many companies choose to outsource IT work to IT experts in different countries, that may be exceptionally well qualified and available but at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house IT expert at home.
Each kind of outsourcing has its own advantages, but there are also negatives, and it’s important to remember that what is right for one business might not be right for yours. Most find that trying different options, and eventually using a combination of everything that suits them and meets their needs is the ideal solution. You may also find that different kinds of outsourcing overlap. Just because you use an IT firm to handle your IT day to day, doesn’t mean that you can’t hire a freelancer to tackle a pressing problem that needs immediate and extra attention.