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  • 20 August 2015
  • Eric Michaels

Outsourcing: The quick and easy guide for small business owners

If you find yourself juggling too many tasks when growing your small business, then you have reached a crossroad that every successful company must face. In many ways, your next move defines how your company will develop and how quickly you will get there. For greater production without a big investment in new staffing, outsourcing is the easiest answer for a small business owner. Here is a quick guide to getting it done right.

Recognize your weaknesses

As the pace of production and sales increases at your company, you will notice weak links around the business. For more creative types it may be areas such as bookkeeping and money management; for finance experts, the soft spot may be in recruiting or marketing; and for self-starters it may be all the above and more. No matter the case, it does not make sense to learn a new skill while your business is taking off in uncharted directions.

The trick to outsourcing is getting help on your own terms and keeping the commitment light.

If you have employees, knowing their strengths and weaknesses comes in handy here. Someone who majored in business may have minored in accounting, or younger employees may have experience with social media promotions. Otherwise, you will want to identify the most pressing need for your company and find outside help to efficiently plug that hole. It begins with knowing yourself and your team.

Find versatile solutions

The trick to outsourcing is getting help on your own terms and keeping the commitment light. If you need to purchase bulk services for several months at a time, you might find yourself spending the equivalent of a new hire, which means you have not come across a solid option. (On that note, hiring to correct weak links in a company can be a good strategy.) Look for a solution that offers more versatility than the average service provider would be willing to offer.

Instead of getting a marketing service on retainer, the ideal outsourced solution would deliver a website and basic Internet marketing for a flat fee. Bookkeeping services would be able to handle your taxes and financial reporting without forcing you to know any of the jargon. Services such as FreshBooks, now available with a free trial and discount from The UPS Store, are known for their low-impact bookkeeping services.

Anything from a one-off business plan, to consulting work, to receptionist services and recruiting can be done on a small business owner's budget. Make sure you get what you want without exerting any major effort or being tied to a company for the long term. Outsourced solutions should be as versatile and nimble as your growing business.

Outsourcing for the long term

When you consider ways to manage your company for the long term, you might see negative sides to sending the work out of your shop. Eventually, your business might benefit from an employee who knows your staff's needs and can help you consider ways to grow your company. In that respect, hiring out marketing work might not make sense for an extended period. Investing in a productive employee who can handle multiple administrative tasks will be a better strategic move.

There are other risks of having freelancers and independent contractors help you for extended periods. If you insist someone in an outsourced job work on your timetable and follow all your company rules, the Department of Labor may consider that an employer-employee relationship, opening the door to unemployment disputes. To avoid issues on this front—those you hoped to avoid when looking for help outside the business in the first place—deliver a statement-of-work order that clearly defines the roles.

Outsourcing allows your growing company to continue moving toward its goals without a big financial commitment. For no-risk help with everything from social media marketing to payroll services and contact management, visit The UPS Store and take advantage of deals from the top companies in their fields.

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