Grow Your Business Through Outsourcing
A common problem with small businesses as they grow is that the business owner gets too busy to cope and ends up running round in circles juggling endless tasks and never really achieving very much. It can be soul destroying to get home exhausted at the end of the day with the feeling that you've not really been very productive or been able push your business forward -- you've just been running round dealing with ‘stuff to do’.
Sometimes it's just a matter of better time management, but most successful businesses will reach a point where there is too much happening and too much business coming in for the solo entrepreneur to cope alone. However, hiring staff is not something that should be undertaken lightly. Having employees is a serious responsibility and often comes with a lot of hassle -- you are also making a commitment to pay somebody by the hour for months or years on end whether or not they are actually needed at certain times.
All businesses go through peaks and troughs and if you are paying somebody a salary when there is no business around and no money coming in, you are risking your business. You also have the added complications of paying hired staff for times when they are not even there -- sick time, holidays, compassionate leave, maternity leave, study leave and so on. When you hire someone, you take on all the obligations of an employment contract and will have to deal with their tax affairs, legal issues and so on. Employing people can sometimes make you even busier than if you just got on with the job yourself!
But there is a solution -- you can get all the help you need without the problems of hiring permanent staff by outsourcing to freelancers and virtual assistants. There are lots of advantages of getting help this way, including getting a specialist for each specific job you want done and only having to pay them on a job by job or project by project basis -- no more paying people by the hour when you don't need them. So what sort of help can you get by outsourcing work in this way?
Decide what you need
The first thing you need to do is to make a list of all those jobs around your business that you would like to delegate to others. You need someone to answer the phone and deal with e-mail enquiries or someone to write your web copy and marketing brochures? Perhaps you could do with someone to design a logo for you or manage a new project you have just developed? Whatever you need to free up your time, you can be sure it will be available from freelancers and virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants can help you with a lot of the day-to-day jobs in your business such as administration, bookkeeping, answering the phone, dealing with e-mails and so on. This sort of help can free up your valuable time so you can develop your business. A virtual assistant can work the hours you need and on a freelance basis -- they can also customize the service they offer you, so that you can get all those jobs that you hate done by somebody else. You may even be able to get virtual assistants that will manage your various projects for you.
Marketing and selling
You can contract out your marketing and selling to marketing companies or individuals and by getting professionals on the job, it can make all the difference to your sales figures. A professional marketer should be an expert in the field and will know the best way to promote your particular business.
Try to find a company that you can pay for a commission on sales as then you will be paying on a performance related basis rather than paying per hour. This creates motivation and drive to work hard for you and your business.
Freelance writing and design
Many businesses use freelance writers and graphic designers to produce their web content, logos, marketing materials, brochures, press releases and sales copy. You could have your whole website, corporate image and marketing materials created by freelancers if you chose to.
The advantages of using freelancers are that they can free up a lot of your time for creative thinking and developing your business, rather than dealing with the basic jobs that needs to be done. You can shop around and find the best people for the work, which lets you produce a very professional image for your business -- something that is becoming increasingly important.