Running your own business isn’t easy. This is true no matter what industry you work in, who your customers are, or what sort of products and services you offer. As a company owner you might feel that you need to wear a lot of different hats, and handle all the various aspects of your business from finance and marketing to networking and product development. However, there is another way.
Outsourcing enables you to pass on certain tasks to external companies that are experts in those particular fields, whether it’s working with a graphic design business to create a new logo, an IT company to provide your computer services, or a recruitment agency to hire new staff. In this article, we’ll give you a quick overview of some of the pros and cons of outsourcing, to help you decide whether it’s the right option for you and your company.
What are the advantages of outsourcing?
Choosing to outsource certain aspects of your business can bring you a wealth of benefits. Firstly it enables you and your permanent in-house staff to focus on the most important, core areas of your business and the jobs that you do best. As an entrepreneur, that means you can dedicate yourself to the tasks that you enjoy the most and have the most talent for while delegating those that you don’t like or that you struggle with to external experts.
In fact, expert is the key word here. By outsourcing you have the advantage of access to a range of experts in their relevant fields without having to hire them to work at your firm. This is a particular advantage for new startups who might not be able to attract top talent, or don’t have the budget to bring on many full-time employees. It even allows you to work with people on the other side of the world. Not only will you be able to tap into their collective knowledge, you’ll also benefit from the access they have to the latest technology in their area. Whether that’s the newest pension software or cutting-edge computing hardware, you’ll be able to make use of it without having to invest in it yourself.
This isn’t the only way that outsourcing can save you money either. Due to the fact that you only have to pay for outsourcing as and when you need it, it can be cheaper than hiring your own staff and training them. This is especially helpful for cyclical or seasonal tasks, where employing a full-time worker or a whole team simply doesn’t make sense. Outsourcing could also allow you to continue operating from a smaller premises, rather than having to rent a bigger space to fit in employees who are doing telemarketing or data entry for you.
Remember, outsourcing doesn’t have to be permanent either. Thus, it could be a good tactic when trying out something new to grow your business – if it doesn’t work you haven’t lost much, but if it does then you can bring the operations in-house instead. As your business develops you’ll find your outsourcing needs change too, and you’ll have the flexibility to increase or decrease the number and variety of tasks that you’re handing over to external companies as and when appropriate.
Are there any disadvantages to outsourcing?
As with any business decision you make, it’s important to look at the potential negatives of outsourcing before committing to anything. In this respect, one issue to bear in mind is that you will be giving up a modicum of control when you outsource. Although the company you hire is working for you, their employees will be reporting to them initially rather than you. Thus you could find that communication is slower than it would be if you handled the tasks internally. There could also be occasional misunderstandings, because the company you are outsourcing to won’t understand your business in as much depth or detail as you do.
Finally, it’s important to be picky about who you choose to work with when you outsource. Quality can vary, so do some research and get recommendations from other entrepreneurs you know. Meet with a few different companies and see which ones best fit your values and company culture. That way you can rest assured that you are making the right choice for your business.
Ideally you want to find a company that will not only handle the tasks you give them but excel at them, and therefore enable your business to grow and flourish.