5 Types of Tasks Small Businesses Can Easily Outsource
I’ll be the first to admit that the lure of outsourcing tasks to increase productivity (or provide you more time) is strong. I’ll also be the first to admit that outsourcing, especially globally, can be difficult. I’ve tried it many times with little or no success.
But recently (over the last 12 months), I’ve had some great success outsourcing a variety of tasks on the global and local markets … finally. A big part of succeeding with outsourcing is outsourcing the right tasks to the right people/organizations. You can’t expect to hand over the entire operating of your business to someone in Asia and that they’ll run it smoothly in a week. It doesn’t work that way.
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- 5 Tasks Ideal for Outsourcing -
1. Start with outsourcing one task.
The best type of task to outsource on an ongoing basis for a starting task has the following elements:
- It’s simple,
- It’s simple to teach,
- It’s a recurring task in your business,
- It’s time-consuming.
Examples of these types of tasks could be the following:
- Document formatting,
- Data entry, and
- Blog post writing (this requires extensive oversight and will cost more – see #2 below for more on this).
2. Expand outsourcing to content creation
Once you’ve succeeded outsourcing simple tasks, you can expand to outsourcing more complex marketing tasks such as article writing, guest blog post article writing, press release writing, video creation/editing … or whatever your primary online marketing efforts are.
However, you do not want to go with the lowest-priced options for any of your content creation tasks. It pays to pay. I’ve paid up to $50 for articles by hiring people who have expertise in the field.
One option is to go recruit local college and university students (either undergrad or graduate) students for any content writing you need done. I’ve been doing this for about a year and it works amazingly well.
The best part is the schools love employers and will get your recruiting ad to students for free (usually) and it’s done fast.
Moreover, if you’re offering reasonable remuneration, you can receive a ton of highly qualified applicants.
Finally, students have access to some of the best resources, namely their college/university library and online library. This usually includes access to the best peer reviewed journals where the best research is reported.
There are also quality writing services available online. I’ve used these services as well, but tend to find I get better quality for lower cost with college, university and graduate students.
3. Outsourcing customer service
This is a tricky part of your business to outsource because it’s not a simple, automated, recurring type of activity. If customer service is done badly, you can hurt your business.
One way to start with outsourcing customer service is starting with outsourcing your telephone reception. This is what I did. I used a top notch USA-based receptionist service that works with professionals and small business throughout the world.
You can also outsource e-mail inquiries if you believe you can teach how e-mail customer service should be handled. In all likelihood your business receives many of the same inquiries. If so, you can easily outsource it with instructions that if a unique inquiry comes in that it go to you.
4. Product fulfillment
Many small businesses that ship products start with inventory in their home and/or office. This is fine and often necessary to get the ball rolling, but it can cost a lot in time. After all, the home-packaging set up is not usually set up for efficient fulfillment.
Once you’re receiving consistent daily sales, there are services that will store, pack and ship products for much less than you can do it. You can set it up so that online orders go directly to your fulfillment service.
There are many fulfillment services. Some require minimum number of monthly orders while others don’t. It may take a little effort to find the right one for you.
Keep in mind that Amazon does fulfillment as well. If you have your products listed on Amazon (which is almost always a good idea), you can use Amazon’s fulfillment services where they’ll store and ship your product.
5. One-Off Business Services
If you have a specific task that needs to be done, you can likely find a B2B provider to do it for you and chances are it can be an online provider.
One example is web-based incorporation service providers. These services take care of your incorporation needs. I use one and like the service a lot. I say “use”, as in present tense because incorporating a business requires ongoing filings. This is where the service is extremely convenient – by sending out reminders and taking care of the ongoing filing requirements.
You certainly don’t have to start your outsourcing in the order set out above. You may very well start with product fulfillment given that’s a simple, recurring and time-intensive task in any product-based business. The point here is that with some planning, choosing the right tasks and finding the right outsource providers can result in a successful outsourcing of much of your business tasks.
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- 5 Types of Tasks Small Businesses Can Easily Outsource - August 3, 2012