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To outsource your or not to outsource?

We can help with marketing ideas to grow small businesses

Outsourcing your marketing? It’s the burning question for all business owners experiencing growth or wanting to scale their business up or wanting someone to take away the tasks they cannot or do not want to do themselves within their business. Outsourcing (defined as the practice of sending non-core business activities out to external contractors) seems to be a little like marmite: business owners either love or hate the idea.

However, if you are a busy small business, it makes sense for you to focus on what you are  good at, and what brings in the money, and ensuring you deliver to your customer.

This blog will look at the benefits of outsourcing  and trying to remove the fear or dislike of the idea.

Outsourcing: what to consider

Before we get to the benefits, it is always important to make an informed decision, especially when it involves a change for the business. So here are some things to think about if you are considering outsourcing:

  1. What skills or resources do you have in house? You will benefit most from outsourcing something you’re not already equipped to do (or at which you are not an expert)
  2. What budget is available to you? (also consider what time you will free up, and the value of this time to you)
  3. When do you need the help to start (and is it continual or seasonal)?
  4. How often will the activity be needed? (is it a daily, weekly, monthly task)?
  5. Will you need to draw up contracts for the work?
  6. Do you know anyone you could outsource to or will you need to source referrals and recommendations?
  7. What are your desired outcomes? (by setting goals, everyone is accountable and you will therefore hopefully achieve what you set out to)

One of the reasons business owners tend to dislike outsourcing is because it means letting go. They see this as having less control but it is actually the opposite. When you outsource, you take control of what really matters in your business and, usually, that’s maximising your customers’ experience. By outsourcing your non-core tasks, you get to spend more time delivering your service and doing what you want to do.  

Outsourcing: the benefits

Here’s some more information on the benefits of outsourcing:

  1. If you use a consultant or freelancer, you only pay them for the time they spend working on your business. There’s no holiday or sickness pay or employment costs to worry about.
  2. You have an extra pair of hands that you know you can trust. It might be that a regular contractor can step up when you are short-staffed or to cover staff leave.
  3. You can use their resource as and when your business needs it. In a similar way to the above point, you can flex how much time you need from the contractor based on what the business needs. You have no obligation to find work and keep the contractor busy.
  4. You can really home in on the skills you need to get a particular job done, rather than having to use, or train, a generalist. By paying a freelancer, you’re bringing in an expert in their field which will be more efficient too.
  5. As a follow on to the above point, a skilled freelancer will likely get the job done more efficiently, therefore maximising the return on your investment. You don’t need to worry about whether the work will make the deadline because you can stipulate timescales as part of the contract.
  6. You can free up your time to do the things that will really make a difference in your business. So, what would you do for you/the business if you had more free time? ….

So, when you break it down, outsourcing feels like something to get excited about rather than be nervous of. If you are dipping your toe in the water for the first time, do your homework: interview the freelancer you’d like to use and use questions that will put your mind at risk about barriers such as confidentiality or cost. I am sure they will have heard all the concerns before and will have developed policies and procedures to put your mind at rest. Also seek references or testimonials for them.

Good luck!