Small businesses, especially those that are just starting out, need to save money wherever possible. This makes outsourcing attractive.
Outsourcing is a way to avoid the burden of recruiting, training and paying the salaries of full-time staff. It’s also ideal for roles that don’t require a full-time staff member.
Why outsourcing works
Almost all companies use outsourcing to some degree. For example, few small to medium businesses need a full-time accountant or tax consultant. Instead, they choose to pay for these services if and when they need them.
This form of outsourcing is very common but it doesn’t have to stop there.
Many roles and services can be outsourced. Design, marketing, PR and even admin can be done by freelancers or other companies, saving you the cost of paying additional salaries every month.
It helps to figure out from the beginning which roles need a full-time employee and which require only a few hours of dedicated time every month. There’s little point, for example, in hiring a full-time graphic designer if your design needs can easily be met by a freelancer.
A well-documented result of new business owners trying to do it all themselves instead of outsourcing much needed skills, is sometimes referred to as opportunity cost. This is what happens when you waste valuable time trying to figure something out, instead of hiring a professional in the first place.
The loss of time, which is essentially money, can never be regained and often results in the business owner doing what they should have done in the first place: outsourcing the role to a skilled professional. But the time, or opportunity, is forever lost.
What to consider
Outsourcing has a number of perks, but there are a few things to consider if you go this route.
What are your objectives
Depending on what your company needs to achieve, you’ll need to determine which roles are the most important and which warrant a full time and highly skilled employee. For example, a web design company would definitely hire full time designer but a law firm would outsource their web design needs.
Where to find talent
Once you’ve established what roles you need to outsource, you’ll need to find freelancers or service providers that you can rely on. One of the best ways to find talent is through recommendations from other people or companies that have used those services.
Check out a company or freelancer’s social media pages to see what other people have to say. You can also Google them to see if any negative feedback pops up.
Retainer or ad hoc
Whether or not you hire someone on an ad hoc basis or sign a monthly contract to retain their services will depend entirely on how much of their time your company will need. A few hours a month hardly warrants a contract but if you need ongoing work throughout the month, a retainer might end up being cheaper.
Local or global
Even though freelancers and third-party services can be found all over the world, you need to decide whether or not you’ll need to see them face to face once in a while, or if you can brief them via email or Skype.
The challenges of managing outsourced staff can often be exacerbated by long distances. If you’d like to have regular meetings, make sure you only hire people within a certain radius of your premises.
How coworking spaces can help
Coworking spaces are gaining popularity with small businesses for much the same reason as outsourcing. Why hire a receptionist, invest in communications infrastructure or buy expensive equipment when you can work from an office or coworking space with all these things already included?
Avoiding the costs of excess staff, setting up phone lines and internet and buying or renting printers and other business equipment can make or break a small business, especially in the first few years.
At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our clients have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. For more information or to book a tour of one of our branches, call us on 087 059 7777 or contact us online.