Strategic outsourcing is a key way for businesses to cut costs while also ramping up marketing, sales and operations, according to Accuratus Business Advisors founder and CEO, Roslyn Newbound.
Accuratus is a business dedicated to helping small businesses grow throughs advice and practical operational and efficiency tactics such as outsourcing.
While many businesses are cutting costs to keep their doors open, there are other ways to survive and thrive during a recessionary market without putting key activities like marketing on hold, Newbound says.
“A lot of people think that outsourcing means you just send your call centre or IT work offshore like the banks have done, but in fact, it means a lot more and is more relevant to small and medium size businesses than ever before,” she said.
“Today, strategic outsourcing is more about doing things on demand when those things need to be done. If an activity such as marketing only requires three hours of work on a particular day, then this is the only time that is billed to the business for the work.
“If a business is paying a person full time wages to undertake marketing work, then efficiencies can be achieved by outsourcing the work. The same applies for management, HR, financial management and every other non-technical function in the business. It is about prioritising time and money within a business on the things that really need to be done in order to grow the business.”
Newbound has shared five tips to assist SMBs make the outsourcing leap.
- Talk to a business that specialises in outsourcing for SMBs
There are different types of outsourcing services in the market with some outsourcers specialising in helping large businesses and government, while others focus on telephony services, according to Newbound.
“Find a business that is experienced in working with small to medium size businesses. Ask them questions to determine how they can help you and what type of services they provide. Explore whether they have the capacity to support your business as it grows and scales up. Do your homework, check their reviews and get references where you can.”
2. Work out what you can outsource
While outsourcing helps cut costs, it also supports growth by focusing on the key activities that build the business and generate revenue.
“Outsourcing tends to cut through wastage very quickly. It forces you to identify what activities are essential to operations, service delivery and customer retention. Anything else that doesn’t fit under this banner, is parked.
“Usually activities such as social media, website management, SEO, live chat, customer enquiries, online business development, marketing, administration, and accounts are areas that can be outsourced and for less cost than undertaking them inhouse.”
3. Select an outsourcing partner that provides a broad range of services
Once you have decided on which services to outsource, ensure your preferred outsource partner is able to deliver on as many of the services as possible – if not all.
“Working with one provider is easier than working with three or more. A good outsourcing partner will be able to meet all requirements. Outsourcing needs to save the business money, but you are also looking for a solution that will give you extra time.
“Avoid the temptation to outsource overseas. Working with an outsource provider in Australia is easier, cost effective and means you are keeping jobs in Australia.”
4. Fine tune your messaging and product offering
For most businesses, outsourcing results in growth and new customers – but only when the product offerings are simplified and well explained.
“In effect, outsourcing forces you to think about what offerings will achieve the best results and the best way to market and sell them. Once these things are sorted, you are on your way.”
5. Invest in the partnership
Outsourcing is a process and involves handing over your business activities to a service partner. Make sure you invest the time, energy and focus to set things up as well as you can.
“All outsourcing relationships evolve over time as the partnership grows. Working through things such as escalations, approvals, feedback, scripts, content, budget and processes is all part of the process. A good partner understands your business and delivers results. Giving the partnership the time it needs at the outset will help you to achieve great results.”