Outsource Marketing to Scale your Small Business - 2017
Owning a business today needs a lot more effort than you would 10 years ago. Today, there is still traditional marketing used by brick and mortar stores but with other channels available, business owners need to divest their marketing to reach the right audience. This requires spending more or wasting their marketing budget with no traceable results on the marketing campaigns.
Now, It is time to scale your business and you want to make sure you do it right. There are so many factors involved in scaling a business today.
The question is, What should you outsource in order to be efficient?
What should you delegate to professionals that you find difficult to handle in-house?
Where should you start searching for outsourcing options in your industry?
This are all valid questions.
While there is no perfect guide for scaling a small business, there are a few universal principles to follow if you want to be effective at scaling your business. Outsourcing will give a major role in your marketing and strategy efforts.
Lets take a look at some options!
Executive and High Level Tasks
Executive tasks are duties that would normally require a person with a C title to perform. They require certain management experience, but you might not be able to afford that person right now, so outsourcing might be an option. For example, you might not require a CTO, but you could probably hire a good one to run your technical and software development goals on a part time bases or as needed.
Specific Knowledge and Skills
There will be specific tasks that can only be accomplished with special skills. Any task where special or specific knowledge is required can probably be outsourced when you need to scale your business.
For example, your digital marketing needs will change, but you might not need a dedicated IT team, so outsourcing the task will be best.
Automation Outsourcing Strategies?
Automation outsourcing applies to in-house tasks or services you need, or may already have in store. Anything automated can include; marketing, employee training procedures, payroll, bill payments, data storage. This process can save you time and thousands of dollars when you're scaling your business. Start automating tasks early, while you are still flexible as a small business.
Tasks That are Repetitive
Remember that AR department I mentioned above? You might be able to outsource it, too. Other similar outsourcing possibilities are things like product shipping, administrative assistance and data entry. Anything that is highly repetitive always has the potential to be outsourced when you scale.
Thinking through the process of what to automate and which tasks to outsource when it is time to scale your business will prove invaluable in the long run.
Start thinking through the issues now.
Take a long look at your goals and how your projections are tracking before you make a decision. Look at where you are and where you want to be. This will help you make decisions as to what you should scale first. Knowing what needs to be outsourced, and when to do it, is the biggest part of the decision making process. It's important to go through your company and look at everything so you can make the best move when the time comes.
This removes a significant amount of stress. Just give your findings permission to speak honestly to you. This will keep you from installing fully functional departments in your company, when the numbers say you are right on the edge, and there could be better options. It will give you the peace of mind you need to maintain focus and direction for future growth. In time, the numbers will tell a different story.
Then it will be time to start the process all over again.
Are you spending too much time managing operational logistics instead of being front and center in growing your business? You’re not alone. Less than 20% of business owners and managers feel like they’re spending their time on the right activities. While every business is different, here are six services that make sense to outsource.
1. Information Technology (IT)
A 2016 Deloitte survey found that 63% of companies outsource at least some of their IT functions; another 36% plan to do so in the near future. In addition to cost savings (which can be as high as 45%, using outside vendors or cloud solutions to manage your IT functions makes you more agile as a company and provides flexibility as your business grows.
Payroll is the most commonly outsourced service today, yet 68% of small businesses still handle this function in-house. Handing this task off to the experts has been shown to decrease costs and increase compliance. Companies that outsource payroll save 18% over businesses that tackle it themselves.
68% of small businesses still handle payroll in-house because they want more hands on approach to finances.
Furthermore, the IRS estimates that 40% of small businesses pay roughly $845 per year in penalties for late or incorrect filings and payments. Sales tax can be equally burdensome. Aberdeen Research Group estimates that small companies spend 24 days per year manually managing sales tax compliance at a cost of around $22,000. Face an audit and this cost increases four-fold. Online services and automated software can reduce this risk and save you a bundle in the long run.
Four in five U.S. small businesses say hiring freelancers gives them a competitive edge. One-third of Americans are now opting to freelance, contract or consult, which means there is no shortage of skilled labor for hire. Utilizing freelance and contract workers gets companies talent they likely couldn’t afford otherwise. Virtual assistants are also a hot commodity, with affordable admin experts a mere click away.
Outsourcing allows your business to scale staffing needs according to seasonality or project. Just be sure to follow protocol for properly classifying workers to avoid IRS scrutiny and possible penalties. Three in four U.S. small businesses say hiring freelancers gives them a competitive edge.
Ecommerce and social selling has made online marketing, web stores and social media more vital than ever for small businesses. But, for most, it isn’t financially feasible to have full-time PR, social media and web design functions in house, nor is it the best use of resources. A survey showed that small business owners spend roughly 33 hours a week on marketing activities. A high number (76%) of this group reports having insufficient time in the day to get everything done.
5. Logistics in business
As a retailer, outsourcing logistics frees up time to focus on selling and merchandising. Having fulfillment, warehousing and delivery activities handled by third-party providers not only lowers overall spend, it helps improve customer service. These providers are experts in what they do. So they can respond quickly and scale to meet demand easier than you can. Which fulfillment, warehousing and delivery activity providers you use depends heavily on your business size and what type of products you sell. Let us know in the comments which apps or integrations you are using and why they work, or don’t, for you.
6. Customer support
For smaller organizations, having trained or dedicated customer service staff isn’t always a viable option. This often means office staff or salespeople have to handle this function, dividing their time between getting new customers and keeping the old ones happy. Outsourcing to a contact center can give you that extra manpower to handle those customer calls. However, business owners should carefully weigh their options as costs and services vary widely. Cloud-based services or shared-agent solutions may be more affordable options. Outsourcing can save you between 30% and 50% over employing full time staff.
Outsourcing can be a smart strategy for extending your capabilities as an organization while keeping a focus on your core competencies. One of the best examples of cost savings is utilizing freelance or contract workers — saving you between 35% - 50% over employing full time staff. Also, don’t discount other advantages such as lower risk, better compliance and greater control over resources. Most importantly, outsourcing allows you to refocus your priorities as a business owner or manager and avoid wasting time, money and talent (including your own) on activities that could be better handled by an expert outside your organization.
Divine Tumenta is an entrepreneur and professional digital marketing expert based in Los Angeles. He has worked in digital marketing for more than 8 years. He is currently founder and CEO of backlinkfy.com and a go to consultant for startups and small businesses in the USA.