Originally published in Inside Small Business, July 13, 2021
While the entire process of outsourcing might seem simple, setting up an effective and successful outsourced model is quite complex. Now, many companies follow a simple path toward outsourcing, which might not necessarily translate into a successful strategy. This is important to keep in mind, as outsourcing will only start showing results at least a year down the line in most cases.
Top Seven Outsourced Business Functions
It is important to understand which parts of your business processes can be outsourced to improve efficiency. Some of those include:
Most medium-to-large scale business operations fail to realize that their employees might be spending a lot of their work time on routine administrative tasks, such as data entry, travel arrangements, scheduling, etc. Since most of these tasks do not require hands-on experience with your products and services, they can be easily outsourced.
These non-core business tasks can be moved to an outsourcing vendor who can create processes to support your requirements without interfering with your day-to-day tasks. Most admin-related tasks are outsourced to companies with strong virtual assistant services and data entry services, so this is where you should ideally start looking.
Customer Service and Lead Gen
If you have more than 500 customers and plan to grow further, undoubtedly, there is one area that you should outsource: customer service and lead generation. Sales calls, simply put, are functions of numbers. If you make more calls, you directly increase your chances of securing more sales or leads.
By providing a script to an outsourcing team with call center resources that is proficient in the same, you can generate more leads. You can play it so that once the initial outreach has been completed and an interested customer has been generated in the system, you can use your team to handle the closing, ensuring better control is maintained. Overall, it can make a lot of sense to outsource these areas, especially if you deal in products or services and are aiming to grow faster.
However you might want to twist the facts, accounting and bookkeeping still remain the backbone of your company. But, is it really your key business forte? The answer is probably “no,” but is it important to whatever else you do? Then, yes, it is. Neglecting accounting and bookkeeping for a long period of time can cause serious issues leading to actual monetary losses. According to Clutch, more than 37% of North American small businesses outsource accounting-related tasks to simplify their processes while benefiting greatly from the increased focus. It can also be much cheaper to outsource these operations than hiring a full-blown accounts team to take care of the books. (Related: Are you getting the most out of your financial back office?)
The holy grail of outsourcing, software development has remained a hot requirement for companies around the world as they go on to create the next big product. While having a core team of software developers is ideal, many businesses do not have access to the latest infrastructure or the necessary experience in a technology stack. In the coming years, as enterprises invest in cloud computing and SaaS-based products and processes, the outsourcing market for the same will touch $116 billion, according to Gartner, ensuring software development remains a core requirement for many companies out there.
By outsourcing software development, you can receive access to talented pools of developers and coders from various countries like India. Not only could this help you get to market faster with your product, but it can also ensure reliability once you partner with the right outsourcing provider.
How difficult can it be to get your employees paid on time, right? Given that regulations vary from country to country and different pay scales have to be managed by central teams, it can induce quite a headache if you have a large-scale business operation spanning multiple cities or countries. Imagine being able to let go of tracking employee leaves, exit formalities, loans, advances, bonuses, tax deductions, etc.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is the next frontier for businesses looking to remain relevant in a world where today’s breaking news becomes tomorrow’s browser history. Social media is no longer personal, and platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, LinkedIn and many others are now some of the best ways to connect and grow your user base.
While extremely important, social media marketing can be easily outsourced to competent social media marketing agencies. Armed with a set of well-skilled professionals who know the game, your outsourced social media partners should run extensive campaigns for you with minimal input.
Great designers are hard to find, train and, more importantly, do not come cheap. Creative designing is also time-consuming and requires an entire team to pull off exceptional assets, such as website imagery, banners, logos, business cards, ATL and BTL collaterals, letterheads, advertising banners and more.
Outsourcing your creative requirements to a service provider with a laundry list of services and great references will almost always work, as long as the ideas given by you are clear and can be replicated well in the design.
Driving Growth with Outsourcing
At the end of the day, your decision to outsource or not should come down to a simple, single variable: whether you will make more money with outsourcing or not. It is an exciting process, and there is a lot to gain, but unless it makes financial sense and drives further sales and revenue, you should probably stay away.
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