The Need To Outsource
Most small business owners start out doing everything themselves. If you continue doing everything, your business can’t grow. That leaves two options: outsource or hire local employees.
The do-gooder government has made hiring local employees a real hassle. pay requirements, Equal Opportunity, payroll taxes, and the possibility of getting sued if you try and fire someone, just to name a few.
Your other option is outsourcing. It’s just like hiring the services of an independent contractor and in the new digital age that contractor can be local, national or international. Contractors can by hired for a specific project or for continuing operations.
Here are the advantages of outsourcing:
Scale. If you do everything yourself you can’t grow – you only have so many hours in a day to work and your object should be to run your business, not work your business.
Expertise. While you have to know the basics of everything in your business (see below) you can’t know everything about everything.
Ease of Use. By that I mean it’s easy to hire and fire a contractor. It avoids government employment regulations. You can normally read reviews by others who have used the service.
Now, most small businesses start by outsourcing their accounting. It’s a good place to start as most of us are not CPA’s or tax attorneys. Another popular option is outsourcing graphics and web design.
But here’s the problem. You have to know enough of the basics to know what you want the outsourcer to do. You can’t just say “I need a web site”. Is it 1, 2, or 3 column? Fixed width or fluid width? Where does the nav bar go? Is it search engine optimized? The color scheme depends on your specific target market.
You can depend on their expertise, but you have to know enough to know whether they really are experts or are faking it.
Here’s a tip: When looking for a web designer, look for one who creates successful commercial web sites, not one that wins design awards.
You also need to establish metrics. What exactly constitutes the work being done properly? Is payment for the project or on an hourly basis? If it’s a web site who provides the content? Who edits it? Who maintains it? Is web hosting included? Who provides support?
You also have to decide what makes economic sense. If you are only going to have one or two sites it makes sense to outsource it. If you are going to have 20 or 30 mini-sites it may make sense to buy web design software and learn to do it yourself.
You can use the Internet to outsource everything from a company logo to an administrative assistant to a CFO. It depends on what’s best for your small business.