A Helpful Guide to Outsourcing for Small Business Owners

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As a new start-up business, from day one, you had to roll your sleeves up and do all the work yourself. Getting stuck in brings you exceedingly close to your business.

Nurturing your baby enterprise from scratch makes it difficult to let go. However, as time goes by you’ll start to find that you can’t do everything yourself. It’s not possible to be multi skilled at absolutely every aspect of your business. If you’re struggling to understand or manage certain elements, it’s time to consider outsourcing.

Outsourcing is the smart way to develop and grow. So make your business the best it can be with a little help from new friends!

Skills Analysis

Conduct a skills analysis. A SWOT Analysis is a useful assessment of your business’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s also helpful to conduct a candid appraisal of your skills too. Focus on the positives first and write down all the things you are good at. Next, it’s time to consider those areas you are less capable of doing well. This isn’t an exercise to make you feel inadequate! The purpose of analyzing your skills is to determine what areas you aren’t skilled in. Or skilled in enough to do justice to your business. It’s important to be completely honest with yourself. If you are pretending to be good at something when you aren’t, you will simply end up damaging your business in the long run.

Skills Gaps

Assess your list of strengths and weakness to discern where the skills gaps lie. You may be particularly strong in one area, and weak in another. Decide whether the weaker areas are things you can improve upon yourself. Will a short tutorial bridge the gap? Will a few months’ experience in a particular field address the issue? Some things can be learned by practice while other things are learned through dogged trial and error. However, sometimes you just have to concede that you need the help of a practiced professional to help you.

Turn to the Professionals

Who do you need help from? A solicitor will advise on all legal aspects of your business. Or an accountant is a valuable partner for taking care of all your financial affairs. Peninsula small business HR services can take care of all your personnel matters. Or a professional branding and marketing agency can swiftly propel your profile with expert content. Once you know which areas you need help in, and from whom, you can target the professionals with precision.

Write the Job Description

To ensure you procure the perfect company or individual, you need to be 100% clear what you want from them. Draft a job description; making amendments as more ideas come to mind. What skills do you require? What practical, technical or industry experience do you want them to have? What qualifications, endorsements or industry recognition is important to you? Avoid writing a vague, wooly job description. This will only attract those who aren’t suitable for the position. The more precise you can be, the more likely you are to attract the perfect partner.

As well as outlining what you are looking for, you need to attract top talent with what they can expect from you. State the salary or hourly rate. If the fee is negotiable, make this known. Highlight the positives for the applicant of working for a young, passionate startup business. Be clear what the nature of the contract is – permanent, six months, temporary, ongoing, etc. Set a deadline for applicants and don’t accept any after this time.

Post the Job

Choose the best place(s) for reaching your intended receivership. A national or regional newspaper. Online via your website, blog or social media. However you decide to advertise the role ensure you post it in the right place. Don’t base your advertising decision on cost. Place the job where it is most likely to be found by your perfect candidate.

Prepare a Shortlist

Once the deadline has lapsed, it’s time to review the candidates. Refer to your original job description. All those applicants who meet the stated criteria should be put on the shortlist. Those that don’t decide if they have other strengths that still put them in the running.

Interview the Candidates

Invite all shortlisted applicants for an interview. Arrange a suitable time and place for doing so. If you work from your bedroom, book a suitable meeting room. Create the right impression of your business as a professional outfit. An interview via telephone or video link may be an option worthwhile exploring. Decide how formal the interview is going to be and use this to determine the most appropriate format. Prepare a list of questions and ensure you allow adequate time for each candidate. If you require your candidates to demonstrate their ability, a presentation is helpful. Or asking to see a portfolio of their past work is a good way to assess the suitability of a creative partner. Devise a test if you think this would help with the assessment too.

Provide Training & Guidance

Once you’ve appointed your candidate decide how much training will be required. Depending on the nature of the relationship, this could entail a course of training or none at all. If you are employing the services of a web developer, for example, you will need to write a clear brief or set of instructions for them to follow. If you are employing an accountant, they will require financial information from you to provide their service.  Assess the needs of your outsourced partner. What do they need from you to make the relationship a success?

Stay in Control

Outsourcing to an external partner doesn’t mean you lose control. Irrespective of how much of your business you decide to outsource, it is still your business. You call the shots. All freelancers and outsourced partners are answerable to you. After all, it’s you who are paying their salary.

Your business needs attention 24/7 if it is to survive and grow. Outsourcing parts of your business allows you time to work on the elements you excel at. Let experienced hands help with the more challenging roles. This ensures that your business gets all the attention it deserves from day one.

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