One of the hardest tasks for small businesses is making sure it has the skills and equipment on board to allow it to compete with other larger companies in the same field. Securing the funds to fill skills and equipment gaps can be especially difficult in the current market, with financial institutions still reluctant to lend. Over in the UK, many small businesses are undoubtedly thinking hard about the viability of employing extra staff before legislation that forces employment contributions to pensions comes into force.
One way of adding skills, resource and knowledge to a business of any size is through outsourcing. Outsourcing continues to be a business strategy employed by companies large and small and with careful research and the aid of competent partners it can add a lot of value to a business. Here we discuss three of the main sectors where outsourcing is sought by SME’s.
When a small business first starts out, it’s often easy enough to handle the basics of hiring, firing, paying and training staff yourself, but as it expands legislation generally necessitates that you need a HR-savvy person to manage these activities for a growing team. Outsourcing some or all of your HR requirements not only removes the commitment and cost of employing a full-time person or team for the role, it also covers the cost of software and training. Firms like ADP in the US and Moorepay in the UK provide HR software and training and take over responsibility relating to updates and adherence to changing legislation. In the UK this is particularly relevant at the moment as HR departments manage the implementation of RTI PAYE.
IT is an area that has long been outsourced within firms of all sizes, though recent reports suggest that it outsourcing in this area is not as prevalent as it once was. This is in part due to the constantly-changing nature of the IT landscape and the expense of training and employing staff compared to the ability to tap into skills via outsourcing. Whether you choose to select IT partners to service your IT needs and software or to provide equipment too, outsourcing IT can allow you to stay up-to-date with software and services for less. Be sure to check your IT outsource partner has the relevant insurances in place in order to protect you should they accidentally damage your IT systems and remember to review your requirements regularly to make sure outsourcing still represents the best deal for you and your company’s growth.
From telesales to social media, once you move beyond the world of marketing your small business with leaflet drops and promotional pens it can be necessary to bring the experts on board. This may mean paying a specialist agency or individual a retainer for handling the full spectrum of marketing for your business, or bringing them in at key growth times to help expand the business and source clients. Telesales departments in particular are regularly outsourced and providing partners have sufficient knowledge of your business and you get access to people with the correct skills, outsourcing in this area can be a valuable investment.
Lucy Watson is an experienced marketer who has worked in specialist and integrated digital marketing agencies. She loves nothing more than talking about online strategy over a cup of tea and slice of cake.