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Choosing to outsource various tasks can actually help small businesses scale. — Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

In our Startup2021 series, we're helping aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the business climate of the COVID-19 era. Each week, we'll share an in-depth look at one step you can take toward launching your business in 2021.

Some businesses don’t have the bandwidth or capability to complete every task in-house. Oftentimes, it’s better to outsource certain efforts to professionals who are trained in that area of expertise to potentially save money or avoid the hassle of doing it yourself. Here are seven sectors of a business you may be able to seamlessly outsource to high-quality vendors or partners.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing is when a company subcontracts a job or function to a third party. This could be for the company to save money, time or to fill a gap in personnel. Services can be outsourced on a regular basis, such as accounting services, or as a one-time service, such as web design.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

When a company outsources work to contractors, freelancers and third-party agencies, they gain flexibility. By outsourcing various duties, business leaders have more time to focus on the bigger picture and their specific industry. Outsourcing also ensures that the business gets an expert to complete specific tasks as opposed to someone from the business taking on responsibilities that are outside of their knowledge base.

By outsourcing various duties, business leaders have more time to focus on the bigger picture and their specific industry.

What tasks can small businesses outsource?

Small businesses can outsource many parts of their daily functions; in fact, it may help to scale the business by doing so. Below are seven parts of a business that can be easily outsourced.

Accounting

When it comes to accounting services, it's best for any small business to outsource it to a professional if there is not a dedicated accountant on staff. Bookkeeping and tax preparation can take quite a bit of time and need to be done correctly based on local, state and federal regulations. If not completed accurately, mistakes could have huge financial implications for your business. Accounting services include bookkeeping, tax accounting and payroll processing, among others.

IT

Most small businesses don't have the resources to support an in-house IT employee or team. However, you'll need an expert to help set up your devices, systems and all the applications that your business may use. Once they’ve set up all your tech needs, your business can then call upon an external IT team to troubleshoot technical issues and fix any problems with hardware and software as needed.

Customer service

If your business has a lot of customer interactions but doesn't have the staff to keep up with the demand, you can outsource your customer service responsibilities to an outside call center or online chat service. Initially, you'll have to train, provide resources and create processes and workflows for the vendor or third party handling with your customers. Once those resources are in place, your partners can support your customers as seamlessly as you’d be able to.

Research, shipping and logistics planning

Research can help a company learn more about their customers and industry trends. It’s an incredibly valuable process that can help improve different aspects of a company such as shipping and logistics planning. However, it can take a lot of time and resources to accumulate that data. By hiring an external research and development team, you'll be working with experts who know how to efficiently collect data and bring in valuable insights to help scale your business.

Administration

Small business executives can be so involved in the growth of their company that small administrative tasks may fall to the wayside. These include responsibilities to keep a business organized such as making appointments, handling office logistics, answering the phone and creating travel itineraries. Executives can either hire a virtual assistant or outsource their needs to a firm to handle all of their day-to-day administrative tasks.

HR

In small businesses and startups, it is usually the executive’s responsibility to handle all human resources needs. To streamline workflows and efficiencies, however, companies can outsource HR needs including managing insurance and benefits, recruiting, enforcing compliance and employee training to firms that specialize in these responsibilities.

Marketing

Marketing plays a key role in growing your business. As you scale, you’ll want to get the word out to attract more customers and clients. Because there are so many components to successful marketing campaigns, it's more advantageous to outsource your efforts to an entire firm rather than have one dedicated employee who may not be able to produce the output an agency can. Marketing agencies focus on your ad design, content creation, social media posting, branding and campaign executions to keep your team focused on performing essential business functions.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published July 27, 2021