It takes a lot to make a business run perfectly – and not all of those things are central to what the business is all about!
Imagine that you need a cake. You search for local bakers on your phone. You find a couple of options. One is closed – a news story online says they ran into tax trouble and went out of business. Another looks okay, but you like the one with a great logo and a user-friendly website. You head over there and speak to a friendly, happy employee. You buy a cake. It’s delicious!
Now imagine you are passionate about baking and want to start your own bakery. Which part of this experience are you prepared to make happen?
It’s the delicious cake, of course – and that’s the thing at the heart of this business. No matter what else went right or wrong, you’d probably make your next cake decision based on that delicious cake.
But there were so many other things that led to this sale for that bakery, and each of them was important, too! And, significantly, all of these other non-cake factors had nothing to do with the central skill and passion of the business owner. One bakery lost your business because it messed up its taxes. Another failed to impress you with a website and logo. And without happy employees, perhaps you walk out of the bakery without a purchase. A baker isn’t an expert in taxes, web design and hosting, logo design, or payroll and benefits! So what happened?
Outsourcing: your straightest path to your true passion
This can feel a little daunting. You love baking (or decorating, or fixing plumbing problems, or whatever it is you love), but you’re not prepared to manage the many tasks that it takes to run a business. Running a business involves doing what you love, of course, but it also involves business-specific tasks like managing payroll and paying for insurance. But you love baking, not business!
That’s why outsourcing makes sense for so many small businesses. To deliver that all-important delicious cake at the end of our example, our hypothetical baker had to be focused on that task – not on payroll or taxes.
The solution, of course, is to outsource. The baker in our example had his or her taxes paid, employees paid (and happy!), stylish website up (and updated), a great logo on display, and much more. It’s likely that he or she paid others to do these things.
It’s easy to see why. A skilled baker is not necessarily a skilled designer, so outsourcing design is a no-brainer – why lose customers because you chose to do something that isn’t your core competency? And tax and payroll issues are both complicated and vitally important, so they’re commonly outsourced for safety and simplicity’s sake. There are companies that will design and maintain your website, run your social media accounts, manage your advertising, and so much more. How much help you need will depend on the size of your business (and whether you personally have a passion for any of these tasks), but if you realize the value of outsourcing, you can give your business a better chance to succeed!
When to outsource
So how do you know when to outsource?
In general, you should outsource anything that is both important and not your core competency.
For a lot of businesses, this means payroll. But don’t forget to consider outsourcing things like web design, logo design, and advertising! This is not a place to skimp on costs. Your customer-facing brand is what gives you the chance to impress people with your business’ service and product. It’s what gets people in the door!
Your decision to outsource will also depend on your company’s size. Can you afford your own payroll department? Your own IT department? Outsourcing will give you the flexibility you need for grown, and you can always add an internal department later on. As your company grows, you won’t stop outsourcing – you’ll just outsource in different ways. Does an expense management system make sense for your company? What about an inventory management system? As you deal with more and more money and larger and larger inventories, turning to another company for help can start to save you big bucks.
Your outsourcing needs will vary based on your situation, but one thing is true for all small businesses: outsourcing is a valuable tool that is always worth considering.