Outsourcing involves hiring another person or company to perform a step in your process that you don’t want to provide in-house. Depending on the need you have to fill, outsourcing can be as involved as hiring another engineering firm to do QC on your manufactured goods, or hiring out your receptionist duties to reduce exposure of your firm to walk-ins.
Positives of Outsourcing
One of the biggest pros of outsourcing is that it can reduce the space you need to provide for employees. For example, you may consider outsourcing a call center if finding a location for many folks under one roof is too risky or too cost-prohibitive in your region.
You can also bring in professionals on a part-time basis to increase your knowledge base without having to hire them full-time. If you really need a chemical engineer for a particular project but don’t have the work to justify hiring them full-time, outsourcing can keep your costs low and still support your business.
Finally, outsourcing can give you access to tools that ordinarily would be out of your price range. A manufacturing firm that ordinarily works with sheet steel will need different tools and skills for titanium to keep everyone safe. Outsourcing your titanium work until you have the workflow to expand your in-house resources will keep the product moving out the door.
Negatives of Outsourcing
Outsourcing can seriously increase your digital footprint and thus your risk. If you don’t have the resources for an in-house IT support team, outsource that first. Once the relationship is established, hire an IT audit group to make sure things are running smoothly, then involve other third-party outsource teams.
No matter how careful you are about your in-house IT process, you can’t be sure that each employee of the organization you’re planning to outsource to is so careful. It takes one forgotten phone; one laptop left open, or one access in a crowded area with the wrong person looking over a shoulder to compromise your proprietary data.
If you can’t confirm that the company you’re interested in outsourcing to can handle the level of security you need, be ready to walk away. Overcoming a data breach will be much more costly and take more time than dropping a relationship and starting over.
Increase Your Security by Outsourcing
There are a few ways to actually increase your security by outsourcing with an established professional. For example, you could outsource your payroll. Thanks to digital banking tools, the ability to enter time and collect payment online could greatly improve your payroll process and reduce tension.
In a small business, the process of getting paid can be quite contentious. One open file cabinet, one dropped check or one unhappy payroll person can cost you a lot of time and blood pressure points. By outsourcing your payroll, you can also reduce any curiosity about your income. For business owners who live in a small town, the ability to manage their money in complete privacy will be much easier with an outsourced payroll department and an online banking and investment account.
What to Keep In-House
If you’ve invested in an employee, do your best to keep their work and expertise in-house. For manufacturers, this could mean your base inspection team or your tool-proofing professionals.
Even if you get tools and jigs built elsewhere, your team will have to work with the items once they’re in the house. If you have the inspectors and tooling professionals to put the final touches on effectively, do so in-house.
If you have a lot of foot traffic in and out, do try to keep your phone receptionist in-house. For small businesses, having the same voice greet incoming customers and answering the phones will build continuity. If you have a gallery, own a flower shop, or have any sort of physical presence as well as online and over the phone line, stay consistent between
- the voice on hold
- the voice on the phone
- the greeting at the door
For those who prefer to shop small and shop local, your investment in one person to do all these things will be worth it.
Outsourcing is a great way to expand your services and build growth into your business. Do your homework and stay on top of cyber risk. Be aware of what you need to keep in-house.