Outside of hiring talented people, seeking outside help may be one of the best things you can do to accelerate your business’ growth.
Trying to do everything by yourself is not only inefficient, it can also quickly drain your energy and prevent you from focusing on growing your business.
So, what types of tasks/activities should you outsource? The tasks should meet one or more of these three criteria:
- Tasks that are not part of your core competencies
- Low level tasks that someone else could do at a cheaper rate than you can
- Tasks/activities that you don’t enjoy doing
The good news is that technology has made it easier than ever to find skilled professionals around the world. Nowadays, small businesses as well as large corporations are taking advantage of outsourcing.
The top reasons why companies outsource include:
- Reduce or control costs
- Gain access to IT resources unavailable internally
- Free up internal resources
- Improve business or customer focus
Here are the tasks/activities you may want to consider outsourcing:
Accounting and Taxes
It’s essential to keep accurate books, but accounting and taxes can be tedious and time-consuming activities. Both require great attention to detail and staying up-to-date with all federal, state and local tax laws.
A bookkeeper or CPA can often do the job much faster and more accurately than you can. You’ll be able to see exactly how much each job is costing you and exactly where the money goes, which aids in making sound business decisions. In addition, they make sure your books are always up-to-date and compliant.
Administrative and repetitive, low level tasks
Virtual assistants are individuals who perform tasks for you from a remote location. Delegating administrative or repetitive, low-level tasks to a virtual assistant can shave significant time off your busy schedule. You can specify the number of hours you need them to be available each day or each week.
The following are examples of tasks that you can outsource to virtual assistants:
- Sending out newsletters
- Booking travel arrangements
- Mailing out birthday or holiday cards to your customers
- Scheduling appointments
- Doing online research
- Managing voicemail and email
- Creating Excel spreadsheets
Imagine how much more productive (and happy!) you could be if you didn’t have to worry about doing the tasks you dread on a day-to-day basis. Here are a few popular online places where you can find virtual assistants to do administrative and repetitive tasks for you:
- Taskrabbit – TaskRabbit specializes in connecting you with local taskers who have been thoroughly vetted by Taskrabbit. You can outsource things like household errands or skilled tasks to taskers within your own community.
- oDesk.com – oDesk is an online market place that allows you to post job requirements, search and invite freelancers to bid for the jobs, and interview them. Their platform makes it easy to narrow in exactly what you are looking for in terms of skills, budget, location, etc.
- Elance.com – Elance.com works similarly to oDesk.com.
- Zirtual.com – Virtual assistants employed by Zirtual are called Zirtual Assistants. They are college educated and are based in the U.S. All Zirtual Assistants must pass a rigorous vetting process that tests their communication skills, creativity, and tech saviness.
- Virtual Assist USA – Virtual Assist USA provides businesses with U.S. based virtual assistants. Their services run the gamut from admistrative to most marketing and design tasks.
- Hubstaff Talent – Hubstaff Talent is a free resource for companies looking to find remote talent across the globe. Once you discover a contractor that you believe to be a good fit for your team, you can contact them directly — no middleman involved.
Of all the business activities, marketing is one of the most important. Unfortunately, many businesses skimp on marketing, thinking that they can do it themselves. This is a big mistake!
Marketing has the potential to draw significantly more customers to your business and grow your revenue. If you don’t have the skills/experience to do marketing, you should outsource marketing activities to an experienced professional. Though the cost upfront may be more than you’re willing to part with, it is a worthy investment for the growth of your business.
- Marketing communications – To project a professional and trustworthy image for your business, you need a professional-looking logo, website and marketing collaterals. In addition, you need to be able to clearly and succinctly convey your product or service’s value proposition and convince potential customers that you provide the best solutions for their needs.
- Online Marketing – Online marketing consists of SEO (optimizing your website content to drive targeted prospects to your website), getting your site listed on appropriate directories (Yelp, Google Places for Business, Yahoo Local Listing, Manta, Angie’s List, etc.), setting up and managing Google Adwords campaigns, creating YouTube videos, managing social media profiles and campaigns (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), and blogging. An experienced professional will be able to recommend the right mix of online marketing activities to drive awareness for your business, attract prospects, and grow sales.
The cost of hiring experienced and qualified professionals may be high, but it’s worth it. Their expertise will help you create a professional image for your business and implement the necessary actions to accelerate your business growth.
To find reputable marketing help, ask around for recommendations or do a search on Google. Make sure you thoroughly vet them by checking their portfolios and asking for references.
Depending on your budget, you can choose from experienced individual consultants or full-scale marketing agencies to help you formulate a marketing strategy that is customized for your business. In addition, they can support the execution of that marketing strategy with services such as web design, logo design, brochure design, copywriting, and managing digital marketing campaigns.
If you have a tight budget, visit crowdsourcing sites and submit a request for freelancers all over the world to compete for your projects. Here is a list of popular crowdsourcing sites you can check out.
- 99Designs.com – 99designs’ platform enables you to launch design contests to its community of designers worldwide. You can launch contests for design/works for you logo, brochure, signage, website, business card, etc. You get to select the winner from a pool of contestants and only pay for the winning design.
- Design Crowd – Similar to 99Designs.com.
- Fiverr.com – Fiver.com You can get lots of little projects (i.e logo design, brochure design, a short video, etc) done through this site for $5/project.
- ODesk.com – Odesk.com allows you to interview and hire freelancers from all over the world to tackle a wide range of design and marketing projects.
- Elance.com – Similar to oDesk.com
Technology is changing quickly, and the risk of data breach is on the rise. IT specialists not only help keep your computers, software, and network running smoothy, they can also help you implement the necessary security measures to protect your business data and information from hackers and cyber-criminals. A cyber attack could potentially cripple your business!
When researching for potential IT service providers to work with, be sure to ask about their experience and expertise on cyber security. If they don’t have the expertise, you might want to hire cyber security experts to help you implement the necessary measures to prevent a cyber attack on your business.
Cash Payment Collection
For businesses that have cash-preferring customers, it can be a big pain to collect payments from them — I’m sure a lot of property managers can relate to this point.
Not only do you have to be there to collect the cash payments, you also have to manually count, process, and reconcile the payments.
You can free yourself from this hassle by outsourcing your cash payment collections to a company like PayNearMe, which enables you to collect cash payments from consumers at local stores such as 7-Eleven and Family Dollar. Funds are guaranteed as soon as the cashier accepts them and your customers get a receipt as proof of payment. The funds are then automatically deposited into your bank account.
Regardless of your industry, virtually every business can benefit from some level of outsourcing. By strategically outsourcing some of your works, you will have more time and energy to focus on vital parts of your business, such as improving your products or services, and delighting your customers.
Have you used an outsourcing service? Did you like it? Please share with us in the comments below!