As a small business owner, what do you do every year at tax time? Other than maybe panic, you likely call up your accountant to make sure that your taxes are filed on time. What you very likely don’t do is take the time to do them yourself nor do you have an employee dedicated to this role. After all, you may only need a CPA a few times a year.
Without even thinking about it, your business then outsources all of its accounting work.
If your business doesn’t log all its own expenses either, then it is also outsourcing all of its bookkeeping work.
Outsourcing used to be thought of as a dirty word — something only the big, bad mega corporations did when they sent work outside of North America. But as a small business owner, outsourcing is a strategy that should be embraced because it gives you the ability to expand and contract your workforce to meet the changing needs of your business without the burden of having full-time staff.
This is not to say that your business doesn’t need full-time staff. It simply means that your business may not need full-time staff to meet every need. By outsourcing, you can bring in high-level expertise for a short period of time. Like an accountant to do your taxes. Or a business consultant to write a business plan. Because how often will you need to write a business plan? Certainly not often enough to pay someone for that level of expertise on a weekly basis year after year.
Two ways to outsource
There are two ways to outsource work. The first is on a project-by-project basis. This would be like your accountant who may only complete your taxes annually. You may return to the same accountant every year, but you are only paying him for the task at hand at the time. An IT specialist also brings specialized skills when you need to implement new technology or systems. Or an HR consultant brings expertise beyond your internal skills when it comes to designing compensation packages. In all of these cases, the work can be outsourced to an expert until the specific project is complete.
The second is to outsource on a retained basis. So, if your business doesn’t need a full-time IT staff but you may still have technology hiccups, then having an IT consultant on retainer for a certain number of hours per month solves that problem. Outsourcing your marketing on a retained business is also a cost-effective solution because you can add capabilities — such as regular blog writing and social media posting — without the burden of adding a lot of overhead.
Basically, outsourcing gives you the ability to focus on your business’s core strengths while at the same time reducing your overall operational costs.
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