Good help is hard to find these days, especially good help that won’t decimate your bottom line. That’s why too many small business owners try to do everything themselves. But juggling and multitasking are exhausting.
In most cases, they also aren’t cost-effective. You may think you’re saving money on overhead by handling it all in-house. The fact is technology is making it easier and more economical to outsource a lot of tasks, even for small businesses.
If you’re still attempting to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, explore your options. Here’s how you can outsource business functions to save your small business time, money, and a lot of headaches.
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Payroll is one of those business functions that doesn’t get less complicated, especially since some employers still use outdated technology. It may feel a little like deja vu: the process always starts with new hires signing all the appropriate paperwork such as W-4 or I-9 forms. Then, of course, that information needs to be filed correctly and reported to the appropriate state agencies.
There’s a lot of information to track. Federal, state, and local tax withholdings must be calculated correctly and benefits administered as promised. It can make a world of difference as few things will send good employees heading for the exits faster than a late or inaccurate paycheck. The same is true of an incorrect W-2 spotted by the IRS or if vacation pay is missing from a check.
If payroll is one less thing you want to think about, you don’t need to hire another employee. It’s much easier to research payroll company reviews and outsource processes to a responsive and affordable software provider. Just do your research to find the best fit.
Payroll software should be able to integrate with your current QuickBooks or other small business accounting system. You’ll be surprised how little it costs to outsource payroll functions, from onboarding to direct deposits to issuing W-2s and 1099s. It’s an investment that saves time for your entire staff.
Compliance with human resources legal requirements has become a fairly specific field of expertise. That means it’s not conducive to the jack-of-all-trades treatment. But instead of trying to recruit an employee HR professional, consider outsourcing the role.
Small businesses don’t get a pass on complying with most regulations. Violations of those involving hiring and workplace discrimination and sexual harassment can result in litigation that can shutter small businesses. Then, there’s HIPAA, COBRA, and other laws that are easy for employers to get crosswise with.
There are many ways you can outsource the HR function. You can hire an agency, purchase software, or share the expense and the know-how with other small businesses. You can outsource a single HR function or the whole kit and kaboodle.
You probably struggle now with trying to make sure you comply with recruitment and hiring regulations with every employee opening. There’s also the struggle to even find qualified candidates, especially in the current job market. Outsourcing these tasks to those who do nothing but HR makes financial sense.
Ignorance of HR regulations is no defense. Unless you want to go through hours of training yourself or add another body to the payroll, take it outside. Spending those dollars will make a lot of sense.
Newspaper coupons, billboard ads, and word-of-mouth advertising used to be enough to keep a small business afloat. If that’s where you still are in the digital age, your business is probably taking on water. Marketing successfully in the 21st century requires a whole new set of skills.
Content is the most effective marketing tool a business of any size can use today. Websites, social media, and backlinks in relevant digital publications are where it’s at, even if you aren’t there yet.
To you, terms like search engine optimization, crawlers, H1 tags, and long-tail keywords sound like a foreign language. To a marketing pro, those terms are their native tongue. Outsourcing your marketing may translate to more customers, increased sales, and bigger profit margins.
You get to set your goals for such things as sales, conversions, customer retention, and cost per acquisition. The agency or marketing contractor then devises and executes a plan to help you achieve them. Moreover, your goals drive content on your website and across social media platforms, which keeps you in control.
You don’t have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to hire savvy marketers. Many agencies are small businesses, just like yours, and understand how to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck. Take stock of your current marketing efforts, then invest in some external expertise to increase the return on that investment.
More and more customers are shopping online, which means more and more small businesses are now shipping products. If you’re trying to do it on your own, you’re competing with those behemoths who have set the standard. They’re the ones delivering packages before you can even print the shipping label.
Which shippers are the most timely and reliable? How should you package products to avoid damage and be environmentally conscious? Do you ship daily or weekly or just when you get around to it?
Customer expectations are extremely high for speed, accuracy, satisfaction, and returns. Customers are also accustomed to knowing when their shipment will arrive within hours if not minutes of placing their order. Many will give small businesses a little leeway on that level of transparency, but not much.
The fact that online ordering levels the playing field for small businesses competing with big ones is both good and bad. Your business may be virtually as findable, but you also must compete once the order is placed. It might be a smart move to ship out shipping and logistics to a company that does nothing else.
Outsourcing shipping and logistics can relieve a lot of anxiety, often for a modest investment above and beyond shipping costs. Because your shipping contractor works with other businesses, you may even garner some discounts on postage. That can leave your small business in shipshape condition.
Outsourcing is easier and more affordable than ever. If you own a small business and haven’t explored your options for farming out these functions, do so soon. You might find you have the time and energy to master everything else.