Outsourcing has seen a rapid growth over recent decades, and has gone from being a novelty to common practice. Figures from Statistica show that the value of the global market value of outsourced services has risen from $45.6 billion in 2000 to $85.6 billion in 2018. Given the improvements in communications and internet technology, this is not really surprising, though vendors also have to ensure their services provide value in a competitive market. For organisations looking to offload certain tasks and responsibilities, and for startups with a limited skillset, the option of outsourcing comes with a range of benefits.
Many new startups are looking to make financial savings, and this can be achieved by outsourcing. Costs of traditional hiring processes can be avoided, as well as the overheads of permanent staff. Outsourcing partners are also required to provide staff with the tools and support they need so these costs will not need to be met.
In Deloitte’s 2016 global outsourcing survey, 57% list as a motivation to outsource that it enables a focus on core business functions. With fewer responsibilities to worry about in-house and a streamlined business process, the team can concentrate on driving innovation.
With a global workforce available thanks to internet connectivity, enterprises now have access to a wider range of talent. This means that the perfect individuals can be found with greater ease, which will in turn lead to increased productivity.
Outsourced tasks that are completed by a team with dedicated skills will also increase productivity, and prevent the chances of distractions for internal staff who are more likely to cut corners. The permanent employees can then be occupied with developing the unique skillset they provide.
Outsourcing can also provide continuity and reduce risks in periods of high employee turnover or when staff members are taking leave. Flexible remote workers can offer relative stability in uncertain times.
What to outsource?
There are many activities that can be achieved remotely by skilled teams that offer the above plus points. Here are the most important fields.
In an age where technology is vital to the operations of virtually every business, professional IT consultancy is something that startups should not be without. IT services to businesses can range from cloud solutions to business continuity, IT relocation, compliance, and hardware installation. Even for startups with an IT focus, IT consultancy can provide essential services that are difficult for small enterprises to complete in-house.
When it comes to IT consultancy, quality cannot be compromised. Does your IT consultancy satisfy all the points in this checklist? If the answer is no, then you should consider outsourcing your IT activities to a reliable IT company that can deliver on their promises.
Outsourcing customer service has in the past been more common for large, multinational companies. However, in recent years more small businesses have been finding a competitive advantage by improving customer experience, and customer service is an easily outsourced service. Costs can depend on the size of the call centre, and whether a 24-hour service is offered, but with a range of services offered in a competitive market, the right price can usually be found. Outsourced customer service can also be customised to suit specific business requirements.
As a complicated and cumbersome job to complete, as well as one that takes dedicated skills, outsourcing payroll is a sensible choice to make. The tasks of payroll involve tax regulations and laws that need to be followed to avoid the fines which are levied to SMEs every year.
Maintaining an efficient and organised payroll infrastructure will also help to make the business more appealing to potential employees, partners and clients. This can help to improve morale and the overall atmosphere of the company, which in turn may help to attract investors.
Having an online platform is important for all enterprises, and usually this cannot be achieved without the assistance of trained professionals. Even for web-based startups with expertise in the field, support in the area of web development is often an option that needs to be relied on at times. Freelance web developers can be more affordable than agencies, but either way a project manager should be in place to oversee the progress of tasks and communicate with the company.
In the field of web development, specialisation could be in mobile, front or back-end development, and developers could be proficient in the use of different coding languages.
Social Media Management
Social media management (SMM) is an essential part of marketing for all businesses, but especially for startups that are trying to promote their brand and set themselves apart from the rest. Having an online presence across the major social media outlets is something that consumers have come to expect as standard, and managing this can be time-consuming.
A 2017 study from Statistica showed that half of small businesses in the U.S.A. spend more than three hours a week on SMM, while 20% spend over ten hours. Social media is serious business and can be handled altogether by outsourced services.
The list of services to outsource can be extended to include bookkeeping, content marketing, accounting and finance, human resources or logistics, but this also depends on the nature of the business and the capabilities of the existing staff. Many outsourced services are web-based because of the nature of many startups and the recent expansion of web-based services. Outsourcing various sources can help small businesses to take on capabilities that they are unable to perform in-house, and in this way it can give startups an advantage in a competitive market.
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