Founders of startups have their work cut out for them. They need to wear many hats to run a lean operation until they can afford to scale and bring on more hires. One of the biggest challenges may be the valuable time and energy many ordinary tasks take up. If you’re a founder, your time could be better spent on bigger-picture goals. It’s a delicate balance — spending too much time managing small tasks could take your eye off the big picture, leading to missed opportunities, but many smaller tasks can’t be ignored, either.
Outsourcing may be the answer for startups. If your startup doesn’t have the funds to bring on new hires, engaging freelancers and independent contractors to handle tasks on an hourly or per-project basis could help free up a variety of responsibilities too small to focus energy on but important enough that they shouldn’t be overlooked.
The question is, what services and jobs can be successfully outsourced? It’s hard to prioritize what’s important and needs to be handled by you or a company principal versus what can be delegated. New, established, large, or small companies all turn to outsourcing at some point — exploring your options could be beneficial.
Benefits of Outsourcing
There are a few reasons you should consider outsourcing certain tasks or job roles. Some of the key benefits of outsourcing include:
- Cost: Perhaps the most obvious benefit, paying someone for their services on an hourly basis or as a flat fee for a one-off project is far less of a financial commitment than a full-time hire.
- Access to skilled expertise: Some tasks are too complex to be handled by a founder or other staff. If you’re not ready to hire a skilled worker full-time, or don’t have enough work to justify one, having access to a skilled professional on a per-project basis could be advantageous.
- Efficiency: Delegating certain tasks frees up your time. Outsourcing tasks to individuals experienced in the role will also likely get the job done faster and more efficiently.
- Competitive advantage: Your startup will be able to compete with larger startups that could afford a team of full-time hires.
Types of Outsourcing Startups Should Consider
If you’ve weighed the benefits of outsourcing and feel open to the idea, consider the following categories:
Administrative outsourcing may be the simplest to delegate. Virtual assistants can take some basic responsibilities off your plate, such as:
- Replying to and organizing emails on your behalf.
- Creating and prioritizing call or email lists for you.
- Scheduling appointments and creating checklists, reminders, and day-ahead schedules.
- Performing data entry, such as building a contact database or maintaining company inventory.
- Making travel arrangements for you.
- Doing light research.
- Automating your email inboxes with spam filters.
2. Digital Marketing
Outsourcing your startup’s digital marketing may have several benefits. The most important may be delegating crucial components of your company’s online presence, such as social media advertising, pay per click, web design, traffic analytics, and search engine optimization (SEO) to others who are experts at it.
Digital marketing trends are ever-evolving. Likely, you don’t have the time to learn what you need to about developing a successful digital marketing campaign for your startup on the fly. And even if you’re familiar with many aspects, what worked last year may not today. It may be more cost-effective — and productive — to hire one or more independent contractors experienced in the varying aspects of digital marketing.
Outsourcing roles such as a dedicated social media marketer gives your organization the opportunity to use skilled workers without having to upskill. Social media marketers often hold specialized or advanced degrees like marketing degrees or Masters in Business Administration. If they don’t, they have supplemented their resumes with years of experience in working with continuously innovative technology, experience many startups aren’t going to have.
3. Human Resources
As your company scales up, hiring the right team is critical to your future success. Glassdoor reports that the average cost of a new hire is almost $4,000. This figure doesn’t include the numbers of hours it could take to onboard each new employee by:
- Developing an attractive employee benefits package that would draw the right talent.
- Generating new-hire paperwork including a formal offer and HR documents, such as tax forms and confidentiality agreements.
- Implementing company guidelines and providing new hires with an employee handbook.
- Filing the correct employee tax forms.
Especially with more organizations going remote, outsourcing talent acquisition is making more sense. Recruitment process outsourcing was a bit of a frightening aspect in early 2020 when adaptability was a bit more difficult. Now, many organizations have no choice. Why not start your RPO from the ground up? Glassdoor advises businesses to onboard new hires carefully — do it the right way and you’ll reduce employee turnover, saving you from wasting the time and financial investment you’ve made.
Companies are set to spend a large amount of money on IT outsourcing over the next few years. According to Technavio, IT outsourcing is expected to grow by $98 billion from 2020 to 2024.
The reason is simple enough — unless your business is an IT startup, in-house IT employees are some of the most expensive hires to onboard. Outsourcing systems implementation, maintenance, or repair on an as-needed basis will be far more cost-effective for the bulk of small startups with the occasional computer, network, and cyber-security needs.
Accounting is an important aspect of running your own business. After all, your company’s money is its lifeline. There are a variety of financial tasks encompassed in the accounting category:
- Expense management
- Cash flow projections
- Accounts receivable
- Tax preparation
- Financial report generation and analysis
Depending on your level of financial literacy, your startup may be able to work with accounting software that could execute and automate all the tasks mentioned. However, if you’re not familiar with business accounting, outsourcing your company’s financial tasks to a qualified and experienced individual could be better.
They may be able to provide you with answers to your questions and could walk you through many of the essential financial concepts that could help you determine and forecast the financial state of your business.
Finding the Right Support
Knowing what departments in your startup could benefit most from outsourcing is half the battle. Once you have a clearer picture of the kind of support services that could benefit your company, it’s time to find the right individual(s) to work with. Fortunately, there are plenty of websites that help you find the right match for your company. Check out the best outsourcing websites to find the talent you need.