There comes a time for every startup when things suddenly happen. The weeks and months of struggling for that first customer or client are long forgotten. You’ve been working steadily to build your portfolio. You’ve developed your marketing strategies, and nurture your first few clients. But now it’s all paying off. You’ve planned and planned to make this happen. But did you plan on coping when all this happened?
As a one-man-band or an entrepreneur, your gifts are clear. You come up with great ideas that others believe in too. And you know how to package that idea up into a profitable product. Your marketing skills are excellent, and your visions for growth have come true. But you’re not a receptionist. You’re not an administrator. You’re not a media buyer or a customer service representative. If you don’t hire someone soon, though, you’ll have to don all these hats and more.
Fast Rising Star
The trouble with growing from nothing to something quickly is that you have no track history to rely on. You can’t yet risk the expense of a sales team, or a customer service team because you have no reliable forecast for the future success of your company. There is no history there to determine that you can cover their wages in a year or three years. Then there is the pension, the insurances, the taxes, and the benefits. Is now really the time to commit to all that?
Is There Another Way?
We’ve all heard of outsourcing, but not many startups actually use the full range of services that might be available to them. Outsourcing helps your company to run smoothly. This applies if you’re just starting or you’re a well-established and profitable business. Using outsourced services means you can have specialists working for you. It’s usually set up as a ‘pay-as-you-go’ provision so you can hit the stop button when you need to.
What You Can Outsource
What you need will depend entirely on your business model. If you are a retailer, you might choose to outsource your customer service department. Chances are you need to strategically coordinate several marketing campaigns and promotions. That is a lot even for a whole team of marketers to take on. As well as a customer call center and marketing agency, you’re likely to need a logistics team to manage each order. Packaging and coordinating pickups and deliveries isn’t something you can realistically manage on your own.
If you’re a B2B company, then you might need a dedicated sales team. Sales personnel are often commission-based. Some are happy to work like this, managing their own workload. They are effectively freelance or self-employed. The sales process for B2B is much more lengthy in time and steps. This means you will need a freelance copywriter managing each of your newsletter and email campaigns. Chances are you need your website to be rich with SEO content too.
Regardless of your business type, you still need to run the company. This includes handling inquiries by telephone, email, and contact form. It might also include social media engagement. You’ll need to handle accounts, invoices, and taxes. And sometimes you’ll need to take meetings with regulating bodies, local authorities and big clients. Your home-run business is starting to be stretched beyond the walls of your spare room!
You can outsource every service you wish to provide your customers. And yes, this does include your very own company office! There are many benefits of using a virtual office. Perhaps the most important one is that you can pass over those tasks and concentrate on being an entrepreneur. Someone else can pick up the phone and field calls. Someone else can manage the office cleaning. Someone else can pick up the bills from owning premises like that too. You use it as much as you need for a fee. Like all other outsourced services, it’s designed to be hassle-free for you.
Expanding and Growing or Getting Bigger Than You Can Handle?
Ultimately, there is a crucial point for any business – that moment where you can no longer personally fulfil your customer’s requirements because you’re too busy handling all the others! If you don’t get some help to manage each of the tasks we’ve discussed, you could start to let customers and suppliers down. Before you know it, your company reputation is in tatters, and you’re about to lose your business.
Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to grow and continue to expand without any big initial outlay. Services tend to be pay-as-you-go, so that means that you cover those costs as you’re getting paid. This can continue for as long as you need it to. Of course, eventually, there might come the point where it is cheaper to handle that volume of sales in-house. When you reach that scale, then you can simply turn off the services you don’t want outsourced anymore.
When Should You Hire?
Hiring is a huge undertaking. You don’t just need a reliable and consistent revenue stream. You also need to dedicate the time and resources to creating roles, advertising the jobs and interviewing. Of course, you could always outsource this process too! Recruitment agencies can send you temporary workers to fill a role for a week, a month, or ongoing. You might then choose to make it a temp-to-perm role. That means the candidate they send for the role could be interviewed to determine if they are right to become your permanent employee. You will have to pay the agency a ‘finders fee’ of about ten to twenty percent of the agreed salary.
Taking a candidate on that has already been doing the job for a while is hugely beneficial for you. They’re already trained and competent so you won’t have to do that task twice. Best of all, you’ve already spent time with them and know they’re a good fit for the company culture you’re developing. You know you can get on with that person.
If you’re too small to hire just yet, but struggling to run your business alone, there are plenty of outsourcing solutions. Which do you need?