FAQ: When Should I Outsource Functions of My Small Business?
Outsourcing back office duties is a big step for any small business to take, but most find the benefits outweigh the risks and costs. Most small business owners recognize that hiring and training is costly and time-consuming. When you outsource a function, you will not have to hire and train an employee to perform the function. Instead, these problems and costs are borne by your outsourced company.
Commonly Outsourced Functions
Typical back office duties that are commonly successfully and easily outsourced include:
- data entry, mining, and management
- billing, invoicing, purchase order processing, and accounting data management
- payroll and human resources
- retail and e-commerce transactions
- website maintenance and content creation
- marketing campaign management, social media management, and reputation management
- live chat and call centers
These services are used by a broad range of industries including insurance, health care, finance and banking, travel and hospitality, manufacturing and chemical, media and entertainment, education, government, and more.
Knowing When to Outsource
Your question should not be "Is my company suitable for outsourced back office duties?" Rather, your question should be "How much time, effort, and money does it cost to run my back-office operations and would outsourcing these duties be more efficient?"
Outsourcing may allow you to decrease efforts that cost you time or money.
There are many examples where outsourcing can save your small business money or even save you time in terms of managing the business. Accounting related activities are not only time consuming, but they are also becoming more and more specialized as laws and regulations grow more complex. Accountants provide high-level knowledge that can ultimately save a small business on taxes, penalties, etc. Social media requires constant updates and responses to reviews, but this can be extremely time consuming for your small business. Further, writing and editing content can take significant time better used elsewhere in your small business. By outsourcing these functions, you’ve just bought yourself more time in a day – isn’t that nice?
Outsourcing may allow you to add services that will increase your profit.
For example, live chat helps to decrease "cart abandonment," that quick exit of a site when the customer is presented with the total cost of purchase including shipping and handling. If a live chat is initiated from your business, a customer has someone to talk to, just like in a brick and mortar store. The customer is more comfortable making a purchase. Additional information from the seller and instant answers to questions will help the customer linger. Best of all, live chat can be "open" 24/7. Another feature to consider is that your marketing team can work with the live chat team to upsell items and services.
At Igniting Business, we offer a variety of outsourced functions in the web, IT, and marketing realm for other small businesses. We love assisting small businesses find time to do more of what they love – rather than spending it doing something they don’t enjoy. Contact us to learn more about our web, IT, and marketing services.