Outsourcing services can provide numerous benefits to a business. In a related article, Demystifying BPO: Making Sense of Outsourcing for a Successful SME, we talked about how outsourcing could be the turnkey solution for SMEs. Outsourcing services from third-party providers is not a far-fetched idea exclusive only for large companies. In the US as of 2021, though, according to the reports gathered by Fortunly, only 29% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees outsourced. That’s not even half of the 66% of businesses with 50 or more employees who outsourced business processes.
It could be because of the key issues that come up when one begins to entertain ideas about outsourcing. Ownership versus access, for example: Do you need to own a space or technology, or is access to those more important? Are you interested in a global operation? How about a remote location? Which is more valuable, time or money? How would you balance these? Are you into micro-management or would you rather trust experts? All these have been taken up in the said related article.
Noteworthy, though, is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing shifts in doing business. A Deloitte article, for example, observed how the “pandemic has highlighted the importance of generating tangible business value in innovative ways.”
Outsourcing services or keeping them in-house?
In this article, let’s look at some common segments of a business operation. From there you can decide whether you need to outsource those processes.
1. Manufacturing and Production
Among the most outsourced services are manufacturing and production. Businesses have products that need to be manufactured and produced on a large scale. The challenge, however, cost-wise is having your own infrastructure for processing. Setting up your own facility can cost you tons of budget and resources. However, with outsourcing, you don’t have to put up your facility and instead have your manufacturing and production performed by your provider without breaking the bank. This goes back to the question as to which is more practical, ownership or access.
2. Research and Development
When you don’t have the means and people to provide you with valuable insights for your business, chances are you’ll not improve. Discovering, asking your customers, understanding: these are keys to helping your business become better. These make research a significant factor in a business. But, since this will cost your time, you can let experienced people do the research on your behalf. Not only you’ll get the results you desire, but you’ll also have access to your outsourcing partner’s methods and tools.
3. Marketing and Creative Services
Setting up your marketing plan, campaigns, and other related activities can be hard to achieve if you lack enough resources and skilled employees to perform them. Not only that, consumers’ behaviors have changed and are still evolving. Thus, having the perspective and updated skills of marketing and creative specialists can boost your marketing efforts. You can outsource diverse solutions such as social media marketing, digital marketing, data analysis, and even AI marketing tools.
4. Logistics and Shipping
With the rise of e-commerce, logistics and shipping services have become more in demand. For example, many entrepreneurs nowadays are fortunate to quickly find providers who can efficiently deliver their products to customers. No longer should entrepreneurs have to establish their own logistics and shipping facility. They can rely on outsourcing these services instead and focus more on developing and promoting their products.
5. Customer Support
Customer support is another commonly outsourced business function. This has been seen as very practical since you won’t have to deal with hiring additional manpower, providing office space for them, or starting from scratch training them. You can be assured that your provider’s customer support teams are already well-trained in delivering the expected customer service.
6. Programming and other IT Services
Learning these skills in a very short time in order to integrate them with your business operations is impossible. Well, it could be, but time is also a valuable resource. Also, doing this on your own or delegating these to employees who aren’t specialists in the field can only be costly for your business. That said, outsourcing these highly-specialized functions and having experts on your side will do your business right.
Minor and non-core tasks such as administrative-related functions can hinder your employees, or yourself as a leader, from prioritizing more critical matters. What can help you maximize your time and resources is outsourcing services such as back-office functions to capable providers. Also, you may quickly find virtual assistants online if you’ll only need a few people to manage your admin tasks.
8. Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accounting, bookkeeping, and handling financial transactions can be time-consuming. However, these still are essential business processes. Having to micro-manage these processes, though, could keep you from concentrating on more pressing business priorities. So, leave it to the finance experts and make your life easier.
9. Payroll Processing
When you have many employees, processing their monthly pays can take up much of your time. It’s not just the salary per se we’re talking about. As employees, they have bonuses, taxes, leave credits, loans, and financial benefits that you’ll need to take care of. Outsourcing payroll processing may just help you sort things out for your employees.
10. Human Resources
Aside from payroll, managing your employees also encompasses complex processes. Needless to say, you need to handle your human resources functions effectively. Perhaps you can delegate these processes to an outsourcing company specializing in human resource functions.
11. Tax Preparation
Tax preparation and filing－need I say more? As a business entity, complying with government regulations is a must. However, managing taxes is an additional task you can unburden yourself from. You can easily find tax specialists or consultants to do the job for you. Don’t worry, outsourcing services regarding taxes will not cost you a lot as long as you partner with reliable professionals.
12. Legal Services
Just like other services, outsourcing legal processes has been a practice to reduce costs or billable hours. At most, outsourcing legal services can benefit small businesses because of their affordability. For example, you may only need non-core legal solutions such as document review, paralegal support, legal documentation, or litigation support. When you outsource these, you’ll only need to spend on what you really hired them to do without making them your full-time employees.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. The segments mentioned above are all essential in order to keep your business running. The question, perhaps, is how fast do you want to run it. Are these taking out so much time from your day-to-day business hours? You could think of keeping the business running and keeping away thoughts of seeing it shut down. Or you can think about scaling your business, being present in more locations, becoming a truly global brand.
So, is outsourcing services right for you?
Whether it is or you’re still having second thoughts about it, here are some more related articles that might further help you.
8 Tips in Finding the Right Outsourcing Company
Signs that Your Business Needs to Outsource its Customer Support Processes
The Main Benefits of Outsourcing for Call Center Services
How Can SMEs Get Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
Should you need help in finding the right partner in outsourcing services, we at StratAccess could help you with it.