Doesn’t it seem like you never have enough people? Whether your business is large or small, the right staffing mix is invariably a challenge for most owners. It’s tough enough to recruit, maintain and retain the team that is essential to the core of your manufacturing, retail, professional or service business. Add everyday operational needs, from solving human resource issues to getting IT support, and most business owners find themselves in a constant state of catch-up.
Outsourcing can be a smart solution for business owners looking into growing a business. Of course it’s tempting to believe that you really can do it all, but you may well be doing yourself, your employees and ultimately your business bottom line a real disservice by trying to do too much.
Take a look at and prioritize the tasks that you’re spending a good chunk of your work week on. We bet that one of the five business needs below pops up on your list. Yes, outsourcing will be a new line item on your budget – but compare these fees with the actual cost to your business if you or other well-compensated employees are spending work hours on tasks that add no value to your core business.
In addition to pure productivity gains and cost savings, one other reason to outsource is a word that is becoming more complex with each day: compliance. Whether it’s complying with social media giveaway rules or workman’s comp requirements, it’s always a good idea to let experts handle needs that could potentially expose you to risk.
1. Information Technology
If you’ve ever stared into the black abyss of a computer screen that won’t come to life (or insert the technology misery of your choice), you already know the immense potential time suck known as “IT issue.” IT is arguably one of the most critical yet dreaded areas of your business. From a frozen screen or incomprehensible error message to a system-wide crash, nothing inspires fear and loathing like malfunctioning hardware and software. The ability to request a remote-in fix from a local IT guru, or at least immediate reassurance that you didn’t just lose all your customer files, is worth a monthly service contract. Add today’s cyber security risks, and having a team of tech experts on call is mission critical for every business.
2. Payroll and Benefits
How will the new overtime regulations going into effect December 1 affect your payroll? Are you complying with Connecticut and federal labor laws? How can you be sure your PTO and other benefits are competitive and accurately documented and managed? Outsourcing payroll and benefits administration won’t just support your business compliance goals,, it will elevate you in the eyes of your employees. Paychecks will be issued on time and in correct amounts, vacation days and sick days will be properly tracked and instead of struggling to interpret insurance or other benefit language, you and your team can get answers from an expert.
3. Human Resources
Employee recruitment and retention are big issues, especially here in Connecticut. To compete in your market area, you must have the right talent, and that means spending more time than ever on building programs that attract top prospects.
While sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and countless others are great DIY recruitment tools, turning to a consultant makes sense, especially if, for example, you’re constantly looking for in-demand specialists, such as healthcare professionals. Almost no one has time to sift through hundreds of resumes, conduct screening calls and do background checks. How helpful would it be if your only time spent was conducting a final in-depth interview with 100% pre-qualified job candidates?
Introducing and managing training programs, from simple monthly team building experiences to formal professional development, can also be a big resource drain – consider outsourcing these tasks. Don’t like performance reviews? Your employees want and need feedback – and hiring an HR consultant to create an evaluation process that really taps into your company culture or even maps out career paths and training requirements can be a big help in retaining talent.
A “build it and they will come” mentality isn’t a great marketing strategy. To make sure you’re differentiating yourself from your competition and to keep growing, an effective, measurable marketing program is key. Whether your monthly marketing budget is $500 or $50,000, partnering with the right outside expert or agency can ultimately keep your consumer and business-to-business messages in front of the right audience. Digital and social marketing especially requires expertise. Unless you have a squad of Google AdWords certified experts in-house, definitely considering outsourcing online media buys, for starters. Not a master of copywriting, the Adobe Creative Suite, search engine optimization, media relations, blog development, content distribution, inbound marketing programs, analytics or other tactics? There are both independent consultants and agencies for every marketing need – don’t leave marketing your business to chance.
Sure, the Internet offers countless options for personally booking all manner of travel, but think about the number of hours you’ve wasted in the past scouring through hotel profiles or developing sales trip itineraries. Why not hire a local travel agent to help? There are numerous benefits to working with a travel professional – not the least of which is a sympathetic voice – and someone to research alternatives – when your plans implode due to weather or other travel disasters.
There are dozens of other everyday tasks that take your focus away from the bottom line. As your business grows, take a hard look at which tasks you should consider handing off to a qualified team of Sherpas.
Written by Melissa R. MacCaull
Director of Marketing, Union Savings Bank