Finding professionals to help with specific operational tasks costs money, but can save you time and may increase your chances of commercial success.
Identifying your needs:
Getting your business up and running can seem overwhelming, with many aspects to coordinate, such as dealing with customers, handling your accounts, and other legal requirements, plus providing your goods or services. However, this can be made simpler by looking at each function and deciding whether making use of external help is a good option. Utilizing friends and family with specific skills is one possibility, while another is to seek out small business services that may be available from government or civic organizations.
You could also consider paying a professional for their services. This could be a one-off commission, such as a web designer creating a website, or it may be an ongoing arrangement, such as using a logistics company to store and ship your products. These decisions will depend on the type of business you are setting up: a home-based, graphic design studio might need outside help only for end-of-year accounting, whereas a restaurateur may need a wider range of services.
Using third parties Although keeping outgoings to a minimum is crucial for any new business, paying for outsourced services from a specialist can save money in the long run. There are a wide variety of services you may need. An independent professional can provide a fresh perspective, pointing out problems or suggesting solutions.
However, before enlisting external services, it is important to be clear about the specific needs of your business and have an idea of budget. Ask for quotes before making a decision and research the outsourcers thoroughly. If there are no reviews online, ask for examples of their work and references from previous clients, and never pay for anything upfront.
💡 NEED TO KNOW:
▶ SLA (service level agreement) is a contract that lists the type and value of outsourced services, along with any conditions, such as annual maintenance.
▶ Warehousing is the storage and management of goods waiting to be sent out to distributors and consumers.
▶ Inventory describes the goods produced, or in production, that will be sold by a business.
▶ Logistics manages how things are moved between the point of production to the consumer, including packaging, distribution, and transportation.
If your business needs specialist marketing expertise, a particular form of marketing, such as social media, or you want to launch a bigger campaign than you can handle in-house, you will need to go to professional marketers.
▶ Managing social media
▶ Running email marketing
For occasional or longer term IT needs, freelance or agency experts can improve computer networks and operating systems, as well as maximize the performance of your website.
▶ Implementing new technology
A customer relationship specialist can respond, on your behalf, to your customer calls or emails in a timely manner, as well as provide aftersales follow-up, if required, and data management.
▶ Handling sales
▶ Dealing with complaints
▶ Customer service training
Outsourcing logistics means that when orders come in, someone else handles their fulfillment and distribution, along with warehousing, product inventory, and insurance.
▶ Managing inventory
▶ Packing and shipping
Unless your product is unique, few small businesses will invest in building a manufacturing plant; the most viable alternative is to use an existing manufacturer. They can also produce prototypes or samples of your product.
▶ Designing products for manufacture
▶ Producing components
▶ Assembling products
Finding just the right person for a position can be a struggle. A recruitment agency may help, producing a short list of candidates and charging a one-off fee or a percentage of the new recruit’s salary.
▶ Headhunting for senior roles
▶ Providing contract staff
▶ Workforce planning
A payroll provider charges a monthly fee in return for handling the payment of staff wages, automatically deducting amounts owing for tax and insurance. Using a bookkeeper is another, cheaper way to run payroll and monthly sales data.
▶ Managing payroll
▶ Data entry and processing
▶ Distributing paychecks
Legal and HR:
A solicitor can help you draft business contracts and legal agreements, as well as guide you on the latest regulations. An HR advisor can assist you with staffing issues and contracts.
▶ Drafting licensing contracts
▶ Drawing up business partner and rental agreements
▶ Preparing employee contracts
Accountants can help with the initial business setup, submit annual tax returns, or provide monthly or quarterly services. Fees are taxdeductible, and it is one of the most commonly outsourced services.
▶ Preparing tax returns
▶ Running monthly sales data
▶ Ensuring payment of sales tax