Originally written by Nicholas Hastings, CEO and Founder, hammerjack
Welcome to the start of the brand new year! As we enter into 2022, now is the time for business owners around Australia to take stock of what has admittedly been an unpredictable and testing 24-month period. Pandemic induced skills-shortages and quick-changing government regulations have forced management to think outside of the box in order to solve complex problems on the fly. Maintaining operations, quality, supply, and staffing have all been significant challenges.
Sometimes though, challenges present a catalyst – a chance to be agile and make bold, necessary adjustments to the way that you do business. To that end, a number of our more recent hammerjack clients have mentioned that the recent uncertainty was the final straw that spurred them to finally decide to implement a business process outsourcing (BPO) program. Necessity is the mother of invention, and they couldn’t afford to wait any longer if they wanted to survive.
I see our team as the frontline problem solvers for our clients. We provide the highest quality outsourced professionals across a range of services, on both a short-term and long-term basis so that our partner businesses can meet so many of these problems head-on. The cost advantages and flexibility that we’ve been able to provide has been proven time and again, and we’ve seen where it can make the most difference. So let’s walk through a few scenarios. The following are some of the stickier situations you might find yourself in that a properly implemented BPO program would solve.
‘I Need Staff And I Need Them Yesterday’
The skills shortage is having a dramatic effect. There are not nearly enough highly skilled graduates coming through the Australian university pipeline, and to make matters worse skilled migration has been evaporated by pandemic restrictions. Combine that with what they’re calling the ‘Great Resignation’ of employees across all sectors, and there’s a dark storm on the near horizon for a swathe of businesses. To complicate things further, even the highly skilled local employees that actually are still available are demanding wage increases the likes of which haven’t been seen in over a decade. Some owners have actually been putting off the hiring process for new employees, so daunting is the prospect.
However, despite the diminished skills supply, business doesn’t stop. There are some critical operational cogs that need to keep turning, and you need to make absolutely sure they don’t fall idle. By example, even if you have insufficient staff within your Accounts department, the books still need to be kept. There are wages and suppliers to pay, invoices to send, and tax obligations to keep. The benefits of outsourcing bookkeeping services can solve this immediate need. Our highly qualified outsourced accounts and finance staff can be put on the job today – it’s instant access to the resources that you need. Without a commitment to a long, full-time local contract.
Businesses owners can’t be held hostage by the state of the local employment market. Outsourced operations allow our clients the breathing room to not get negotiated into a corner by unrealistic wage demands and temperamental staff conditions. It solves the immediate problem: ensuring that the essential operations of the business continue to be well executed, and the doors stay open.
‘That’s Just The (High) Cost Of Doing Business’
Domestic business costs are at an all-time-high, and margins are slimmer by the day. We’ve already touched on ballooning wage rates for highly skilled positions but that’s not nearly the end of it. Shop front rental costs have skyrocketed in a number of the major Australian cities, utility prices have gone through the roof and suppliers are all attempting to pass these additional costs around amongst each other and to you!
That’s not even the full picture. It’s a nightmare scenario of failing revenues and rising costs at the exact same time. Consumers have pulled right back on their spending, wary of restrictions, lockdowns, and limited movement. So not only are owners having to spend more money to keep the lights on, they’re also dealing with dwindling and flighty customer numbers. In some instances, this combination of factors has threatened the very viability of the business itself. Crucially, despite facing these hardships all businesses must ensure that the quality of their service does not dip below expectations.
Outsourcing can provide the solution, easing the cost pressures facing business to provide the necessary breathing room. Taking advantage of our low-cost, high-quality professionals from the Philippines allows our clients to take advantage of bottom-line savings without compromising on the quality of their product or service. This is especially relevant for those especially high-cost role players in the business, such as bookkeepers. Outsourced account services ease these pressures immediately whilst executing the jobs that need to be done.
‘We All Have Too Much On Our Plate To Think About That’
It’s been so difficult for both upper management and other full-time staff to focus on the big ticket items for the business with so many regulatory hoops to jump through and menial clutter to deal with. The pandemic has only heightened these pressures, with staff needing to cater for shortages, administrative backlogs, and supply chain issues. It’s been so easy for businesses of all shapes and sizes to fall into a rut, treading water without any long-term solutions.
How can a business continue to scale and grow effectively, how can it explore new markets and customer bases, when the ownership and staff have so much day-to-day, operational work to focus on? You outsource the menial, operational work, and declutter yourself and your staff. We have the necessary remote skill providers to do the job, at the cost that makes sense. This allows room for some planning, for a sense of long-term strategy. Employees can take a second to focus, without flapping from one immediate task to another. You can reaffirm the key goals of the business and bring the whole team into line, with a clear vision for the future.
This is most critical for businesses who have aggressive growth or expansion strategies, especially in the face of heightened pandemic-associated risk. Ambitious business owners want to expand internal teams or add assets in order to widen their market reach, however limited levels of capital, staff clutter and fatigue, and a lingering sense of wariness have put a dampener on a number of these plans. Outsourcing presents an expansion opportunity that is both lower cost and lower risk. Clients can engage on a short-term basis initially, and then move through to having more permanent outsourced skill providers as their needs dictate. It is the perfect combination of flexibility and practicality.
‘They’re All Working From Home Anyway’
Lastly, perhaps the most unexpected benefit of the recent, unprecedented climate has been a clearer indication of which personnel a business actually needs present on-site or in the shop, versus those roles that can be fully executed remotely. With so many domestic employees working from home anyway, the distance from the head office has become a redundancy for these role players. Accounts teams, designers, content providers, and other such staff have all been able to maintain levels of productivity despite not having visited the office in a meaningful amount of time.
Businesses who recognise the opportunity contained within these new conditions have moved toward outsource staffing assets at speed. There is a real opportunity to benefit from shifting some of these functions offshore, and you might be able to create some instant cost-efficiencies without compromising on service quality. If it makes no practical, professional difference which city an employee is working from, then why not explore the lower cost options overseas? It is a potential silver lining to cloudy conditions that we did not ask for, but we’ve had to deal with nevertheless.
There are so many businesses of all shapes and sizes, across a broad spectrum of industries who could reap immediate benefit from exploring their outsourcing options. Whilst we’ve explored a few instances above, there are so many more that we could discuss. Outsourcing some of your key operations allows for greater flexibility, cost-efficiency, and agile decision-making. It could be a transformative moment for you and your business.