As a startup entrepreneur, you have a multitude of things on your plate.
You are attempting to design an MVP, looking for investors, trying to locate talent. You are also developing or refining your brand and its message, researching and finalizing the legal aspects of starting a business, working on the tough financial parameters and you are planning a marketing strategy to spread your brand and generate leads/customers.
So, just how much expertise do you have in all of these facets of your startup?
Certainly, you are an expert on your product or service. But all of the other stuff?
Maybe, not so much. For this reason, you will need to outsource other facets of your business processes, so that they are functioning well and you have the time and energy to focus on what you do best.
Here are five facets of your startup you may want to consider for outsourcing:
Legal tasks and responsibilities
You have to incorporate and register your company no matter where you are located on this planet.
And if you have intentions of doing business outside of your country of origin, even more, important that you have the right legal representation.
Don’t try to play an attorney on your own. There are too many laws, regulations, etc. that you will not know or understand.
Bookkeeping and payroll
While much of this is now automated, there are still facets that require human input. When a new employee is brought on board, there is the tax and payroll paperwork to administer.
This is a part of your business that you can easily outsource and not give it another thought.
There are a considerable number of bookkeeping and payroll services out there. Find one with a good reputation, and get that responsibility off of your shoulders.
Accounting and finances
While this is somewhat related to the task above, bookkeepers are not accountants. They do not, as a rule, prepare all of the quarterly tax documents, etc. that must be completed and filed.
They also do not prepare profit and loss statements, as well as the myriad of other tasks required for keeping the financial picture accurate and making recommendations for improvement.
If you are not an accountant, don’t try to be one. Even though this a lot of financial management software out there, it is neutral and impersonal.
You need an accountant who understands your business and can work with you on a personal level.
Certainly, you can hire marketing experts. But this is expensive and a cost you may not want to incur at least early on.
Of course, you want to establish your presence within your niche, promote your brand in all possible ways, and market your product or service in a way that brings in leads and, ultimately customers. But how much do you know about marketing?
There are a number of facets to this critical business function, and, if you make the decision to outsource them, you may need to look to more than one resource.
Marketing specialists can develop an overall strategy for you. They can do the research and collect the data regarding your target audience and how best to reach them. They will make recommendations for the specific strategies you should use to best market your brand and reach your audience.
Website designers/developers: You cannot hope to launch and survive without an amazing website. This, after all, is how you introduce your audience to you and the value of the product/service you offer.
Find a designer who is willing to dig deep into who you are and what you are all about and who will design a site that introduces and promotes your brand in exciting and compelling ways.
Content writers: You have loads of content to craft, and this is an area that can make or break you. Indeed, content marketing is just critical to business growth today.
Think of all of the marketing venues you must address – your website, your blog, emails, your social media platforms, your direct advertising, even the print materials you may provide to leads or at events.
Having professional writers who can provide the engaging and compelling content you need for each of these venues can literally put your business “on the map” and draw the interest and enthusiasm you need. Check out a variety of professional copywriting services, such as Trust My Paper, or freelancers with successful histories, and test them out.
When you first launch, you will be “lean and mean.”
You may have just a few team members. But as you grow, so will your staff needs. And you may even begin to replace some of the outsourced functions with in-house employees.
Outsourcing some of your HR functions may be an efficient option to trying to be an HR manager yourself. You can choose which specific functions for an outsourcer – recruitment, employee manuals, compliance assurance, benefits, etc.
The pros and cons of outsourcing
Nothing you do in business is without pros and cons, and outsourcing is no exception. Certainly, the advantages are obvious:
- Cost savings
- Saves time
- Eliminates turnover
- Brings in the specific expertise you need
These have to be weighed against disadvantages of course:
- Risk of exposing proprietary and/or confidential information/data
- Risk of delays and missed deadlines out of your control
- Lack of focus: When an outsourcer has multiple clients, you may not receive the strong focus you always want.
- Hidden Costs: Unless your contract is truly tight, you may incur some hidden costs that have not been planned for.
Outsourcing is an individual thing
Only you know the needs of your startup. And only you know where the gaps in your expertise lie.
Evaluate all that must be done, take on those responsibilities with which you are comfortable, and outsource the rest. You can always move those function in-house as you grow.
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Image Credit: Smit Patel