Outsourcing: What is it, and will it help your business thrive?

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21 Sep 2022

A guide to outsourcing to help boost business

As a business owner, the chances are you’re doing lots of different jobs. That’s great – one of the perks of being your own boss is having full creative control. But it can also mean you're spreading yourself thinly. 57% of companies who outsource say they do it to help them focus on their core business functions. If you don’t get to spend the time you need on parts of your business, outsourcing could be a logical next step

What do we mean by ‘outsourcing’?

It’s using an external service provider, freelancer, or consultant to carry out some of your business’ activities. And with the need for specialist digital skills growing, outsourcing is becoming more common than ever.

Choosing to outsource is a big decision, so do as much research and planning as you can, and don’t be shy when it comes to asking for advice from experts. Like any business owner, we’re sure you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons. So, we’ve listed some for you here.

What can I outsource?

Think of all the jobs that keep your company running and decide which you could delegate, and why. Here are some examples of things you could outsource:

- Internal processes: HR, payroll, accounting, IT.

- Customer attraction and retention: sales, marketing, or advertising.

- Manufacturing and distribution.

- Website design and maintenance

Ask yourself if any of these jobs are taking up too much of your time, or if they could be done better by someone else. If the answer’s ‘yes’, it might be time to think about outsourcing.

Is outsourcing right for my business?

Let’s look at the benefits outsourcing could have for your business.

To start with, new people bring new perspectives and expertise to the table. They might have worked on lots of different projects and overcome challenges like the ones you’re facing. If you choose the right person, you’re essentially delegating tasks to a seasoned professional.

Once you’ve delegated those tasks, it frees up time to focus on your business’ core function – and 65% of companies who outsource staff say this is their main reason for doing so. Plus, more time means you can focus on creativity and providing better customer service.

When it comes to choosing the right service provider, technology’s on your side. The rise of remote work means there are more professionals than ever to choose from. So, you can get expertise from far and wide, without the limitations of location.

Are there any disadvantages?

It’s always worth looking at both sides, so you should think about why outsourcing might not be right for you too. You’re probably used to making all the decisions – it’s the reason many people start their own businesses in the first place. So, handing over some of the reigns might feel a little strange.

There’s also a chance there may be some initial issues when roles and responsibilities swap hands, and the risk of damage to your business’ reputation.

That’s why creating a good working relationship, and a good level of communication with whoever you outsource, is so important. But this can be challenging with barriers like time differences and cultural or language barriers. If you decide to outsource, take the time to connect with them and work together constructively – the results could really pay off.

So, how do I get started?

Outsourcing’s a big decision, so before taking any first steps, make sure you’ve done your research and understand the risks it could have.

If you decide to outsource and have found the right provider, we suggest starting any outsourcing relationship with a service level agreement. This is a document where both parties can agree on what’s expected. Make it clear what their responsibilities are and set measures of performance, so you can be sure your business is benefiting from the partnership.

Outsourcing can be a great way to grow your business without the responsibilities of nurturing permanent employees. Like any working relationship, it needs a good level of communication, and an understanding that the first person you connect with won’t always be the right fit. Just remember to keep checking in and assessing whether the relationship is bringing real value to your business.

Explore how Vodafone's range of digital solutions can help you reimagine your business at the link below.

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