There are many good reasons to consider outsourcing. But when you have been used to doing everything yourself it can be difficult to decide which tasks to relinquish control to a contractor.
The types of tasks that are best outsourced fall into the following general categories:
- Where the requirement is for highly skilled, or executive, expertise
- Where the tasks are highly repetitive
- Where specialised knowledge is required
Which operations can be outsourced?
The answer to this question is pretty much anything these days. However, we’ve prepared a shortlist of the four key operations that any business can outsource and should consider doing so when the time is right.
- IT – this is one of the most common operations to be outsourced. An in-house IT department is a huge overhead to carry and, although IT is now fundamental to running any business, most will only need IT expertise to maintain and repair equipment and systems. It is a specialist and fast-changing area, however, and one where outsourcing can really make a difference, giving you access to up-to-date skills and expertise as and when you need it, without having to fork out for salaries and training.
- Accounting and financial duties – another area where expertise is called for. Outsourcing to an accounting service provider can help with many financial services, including bookkeeping, payroll, accounts payable and receivable, VAT and tax returns, as well as financial reporting, analysis and planning. Many outsourced accountancy firms will package together a number of services and with the advent of online accounting working with your chosen supplier has never been easier.
- Human resources – an outsourced HR consultancy will cover everything from your basic legal requirements as an employer to complex employee issues. In addition to removing the hassle of something like recruitment (advertising, interviewing, checking references etc), an operational HT consultant will handle policies and procedures, sickness and holiday, employee benefits, disciplinary issues and performance management. Many will also offer strategic advice to help you plan for the future.
- Marketing – this is often the operation that business owners are most reluctant to relinquish control over but also struggle to find time to do themselves. But in today’s digital world there is so much that can and should be done to keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. A professional marketing firm or consultant will be up-to-date with all the latest methods of reaching and engaging with your target market and know what’s right for you, covering everything from your website, brand development, to your public relations and online marketing duties, such as social media, blogging and search engine optimisation.
Playing a supporting role
Each of the operations listed above is non-core, that is they exist to either support the business’ main function (i.e. manufacturing goods or supplying services of some kind) or to fulfil an obligation or requirement (i.e. to comply with the law). Outsourcing them does not, however, mean losing control of that area of your business.
Successful outsourcing occurs when the business owner and the service provider work in partnership with one another to achieve the best results. With the right outsourcing partner, you will feel supported and confident to focus on growing your business, knowing that an expert is taking care of these important operations.
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