Outsourcing, the process of sub-contracting services or jobs to external providers, has been around in some form or another since the late 18th century. Large businesses have been outsourcing tasks and entire departments for decades, but that’s expanded to small and medium-sized businesses with the growth of the gig economy, which is characterized by independent contractors and freelancers.
With outsourcing, small businesses receive the same production they would from an internal employee but with added benefits. Benefits include saving money on expensive salaries and solving capacity issues. On the other hand, small business owners need to weigh the cons of outsourcing, notably the loss of in-house control of a business feature, such as marketing, payroll or accounting.
Whether to outsource or not comes down to the preference of the entrepreneurs and small business owners. Some prefer having every business aspect performed by their staff, and others realize it’s possible to grow their company swiftly by outsourcing.
What Can Be Outsourced?
Keeping a certified accountant on staff to take care of a company’s bookkeeping is very costly, and as the business grows, so would the accounting needs. Outsourcing helps provide expert advice for a fraction of the fee, and the provided services can scale to meet the changing needs of the business without having to hire additional staff.
According to results from a 2018 survey of business professionals, businesses that outsourced accounting work reported higher profits and revenues, were better prepared to make business decisions and enjoyed an easier accounting experience. Eighty percent of respondents who outsourced accounting services said it gave them more time to focus on their business, and 68 percent said that it made accounting easier and more efficient.
Contracts signed involving outsourcing information technology totaled $262 billion across the world in 2017, making it one of the more popular outsourced tasks globally. Syncing devices to networks, setting up cloud services and installing computer security can be quite complicated, but they’re all necessary steps for a small business. Outsourcing IT installation can save an entrepreneur from making costly errors.
A 2018 study from Deloitte found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of business owners are expected to save money by outsourcing cloud computing systems, the method of using a network of remote servers to house, manage and store data. In addition, most respondents to the survey stated they were adopting cloud solutions to catalyze IT innovation, improve time to market and improve performance.
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One of the biggest challenges for small business owners can be marketing their company. Successful marketing campaigns take not only time but also capital, two elements of which most small business entrepreneurs don’t have enough. An area in particular that small business owners may not have time for or expertise in is developing content to market. Content marketing, the strategy of creating and sharing online material intended to interest an audience in a brand, costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing yet generates three times as many leads, or new potential customers.
A recent study of more than 1,000 small businesses found that just 14 percent of small businesses outsource their marketing, public relations and advertising departments. However, a separate, unrelated study found that the most satisfied urban small business owners used an outside agency for their marketing strategy. By outsourcing a company’s marketing strategy, it gives small business owners the knowledge that talented professionals are taking care of an area of need.
Conducting payroll can be a time-consuming activity, and it’s crucial for employees to receive payments on time in a standardized manner. Any interruptions in payment can lead to lower morale, a loss of employees and a bad reputation for the business. Partnering with an experienced payroll processing firm or software as a service (SaaS), computer software that provides a specific function, frees up time and relieves mental stress for small business owners.
When a small business outsources its payroll, it helps companies in multiple ways, including keeping businesses up to date on changing payroll or employment laws and controlling the integrity of confidential data from employees. In spite of the potential outsourcing benefits, more than half of all small businesses surveyed (56 percent) “still conduct their own payroll and administrative functions.” That same study found that by outsourcing these functions, it brought peace of mind to the small business owners.
A consistent online presence is one of the most important aspects of successful small businesses. A study found that a majority of consumers search for a local businesses online, and 54 percent of consumers searched a local business at least once a month in 2017. In a study by Econsultancy 95 percent of users stated that a positive user experience is the most important factor for them when visiting a website. Another study from Forrester found that a website’s conversion rate could increase by more than 200 percent with a well-designed template.
It can be incredibly complicated for entrepreneurs who aren’t well versed in computer programming languages to set up sleek and engaging websites on their own. In contemporary times, there are so many ways to outsource web development, from using companies that provide beautifully designed website templates to services that serve as a webmaster and keep a website looking great daily.
Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?
Running a small business is a pressure-packed job with many tasks to accomplish every day. As of 2018, just 51 percent of businesses survived to their fifth year or longer, and though that’s a rising percentage, it still goes to show how difficult it is to be a small business entrepreneur. Outsourcing key tasks can help extend the life of a business by freeing up time and money that can be focused on core business values. Learn the ins and outs of what it takes to run a business with Notre Dame of Maryland University’s online business degree.
Our bachelor’s degree program provides you with the principles you need to run a business, such as management, accounting, negotiation and professional communication. Thanks to our flexible, online format, you can complete your degree while balancing your busy life. With this degree, you’ll be prepared to start your own business and succeed as an entrepreneur.