‘Wearing all the hats’ is a commonly held role among small business owners, and most of the time it’s either a thriving or treading water kind of feeling. No matter if you have aspirations to become a multi-location business, or to stay small and stable. There will come a time when you may need to consider outsourcing one, or multiple jobs within your business. And it’s not as scary as you may think! Outsourcing can actually benefit your business, help you streamline operations and even grow in ways that weren’t possible without the help of external expertise.
We’ve enlisted Square Seller Patrice Flynn from Monday’s Bookkeeping — an expert on the topic to lend a hand. Patrice helps business owners stay on top of their payroll, bills, invoicing, tax, and accounting. And to feel confident about their day-to-day business financials. Monday’s Bookkeeping is outsourced by many business owners across Australia, so, who better to chat about the benefits of outsourcing and how you can effectively outsource for your business. Over to you, Patrice!
The benefits of outsourcing
Freelancing and contract work have modernised workplaces. Some initial benefits of outsourcing I see are.
- It can save you time
- Helps to increase income as multiple people can be working at once
- Adds a layer of expertise to your business
- Creates a team and level of support without employing full-time staff
- Helps you work efficiently
I work with a lot of business owners who suffer from burnout. And when people get to that stage their quick fix is to take a month or so off and then return to the same day-to-day that caused them to burn out. There needs to be a balance of working, outsourcing skills you value paying for, and allowing yourself to have time off. Although it sounds like an easy solution, the reality is not always so straightforward.
A huge benefit I see to outsourcing — depending on your business — is the fact that you make more money when you have staff. If you can afford to have two people working at once pushing out work, that’s invaluable to your business as you’re getting through the work quicker and it increases your capacity.
What roles do businesses outsource?
This can depend on the business type, however, being a bookkeeper, I have a lucky insight into exactly what business owners value. More times than not it’s Marketing and Accounting/Bookkeeping. Both services are essential in running a business. Marketing and social media help to create a brand, and in turn, sales. Once consistent sales are established, financial day-to-day management is usually the next step of outsourcing, hence when a bookkeeper is hired.
When starting a business it can be daunting to know who you need in your corner. Every business will likely need the following expertise from a professional at some stage.
- Marketing, to help create a brand and sell your products.
- An Accountant to lodge your tax return and BAS statements to the ATO.
- A bookkeeper if you need day-to-day financial organisation and assistance.
- A lawyer, perhaps for employment contracts and to resolve conflict.
- A mentor, to discuss everything with, and to talk to someone who isn’t already a part of your business.
What challenges do business owners face when outsourcing?
Putting their business and trust in the hands of someone else and also realising that no one will care for your business as much as you do. It doesn’t mean contractors won’t work hard for you, but they don’t have the emotional connection that the business owner does. It’s a delicate balance.
My top tips if you are considering outsourcing are.
- Go slow, don’t outsource everything all at once.
- Ask yourself if you can actually afford to outsource?
- Is outsourcing going to make you more money or will you be paying a third party to do something you’re faster and better at yourself?
- If you outsource something that is not your skill or when you need more people power you’re on the right path.
What should business owners look for when outsourcing?
In my opinion, experience and previous jobs/ portfolio of businesses the person you are considering has worked with is important as well as competency. Not everyone will be the right fit for your business and that’s okay. My two biggest tips when looking to outsource are.
- Identify your biggest need and outsource it to someone who is skilfull in that area
- Make your business a place where people want to work. That may be as simple as flexibility with working conditions.
Tips for onboarding someone into an outsourced role?
It helps if you have mutual friends, or can make a connection to them somehow, as the relationship already has a common denominator. Also, have a trial period so neither of you is locked in if it’s not the right fit.
Are there any downsides to outsourcing?
Yes! The hardest part is letting go and trusting someone else to work in your business. If you aren’t satisfied with how the tasks are being completed it’s your name on the line, not theirs.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.