Thinking about outsourcing parts of your business? Here’s what you need to know.

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There comes a stage for every business where outsourcing some functions makes sense. And that’s not just about being busy. It’s about working smarter. 

It’s impossible to be a specialist in everything, so bringing in skilled support could really help with:

  • Productivity. Tasks you’re not skilled in will take you a lot longer than people who do them every day. By focusing on what you do best, and outsourcing the other functions to skilled people, you’ll be saving yourself time (and stress). 

  • Improved outcomes. If you’re choosing a business to outsource to, they’ll be a specialist in that field. That means they’ll be accountable for the quality of service, you can ask for what you need, and there’s a high chance they’ll deliver it to a higher standard than you could yourself.

  • Innovation. A high quality, professional outsourced partner will likely bring new ideas to the relationship, because they have the up-to-date industry knowledge and consider it their role to challenge and improve the service they offer their clients.

  • Protection. Some areas, such as tax, accounts, HR carry a high risk if you get it wrong. In most cases, ignorance is not an excuse! Risks could include financial penalties, costly and time-consuming legal cases, operational downtime while you resolve problems and damaged reputation. Employing experts will give you peace of mind.

What are the best things to outsource? 

This will be slightly different for every business, depending on where your particular skills lie. But as you grow, you may consider outsourcing some or all of these:

  • Accounts

Some people struggle with spreadsheets and figures. so this is you, you’ll definitely want to think about outsourcing. Qualified accountants will keep you compliant, on top of payments and invoices - and if they are proactive, help you organise your finances to maximise your profits.

  • Marketing – web design, content, marketing strategy

Marketing is essential to every business as it’s how you’ll get found and noticed. Specialists will help you identify and reach your audience through digital and other methods, develop your brand and maximise your marketing budget.

  • HR

Even if you only have one employee, you’ll need to keep compliant with regulations, pension requirements and other obligations. If you have any performance issues, outsourcing these can help maintain impartiality and achieve the best outcome for both parties.

  • Recruitment

Recruitment, especially if you’re in a skills shortage sector, can be time-consuming and expensive – especially if you get it wrong. But having the right talent in place is key to the long term success of most businesses, all of which needs an understanding of candidate attraction and good interview and assessment skills.

  • IT and Security

Most businesses will need good IT and security, even if it’s only for simple functions like email. Having a specialist you can call on can save costly and annoying downtime or risks to the business.

  • Admin/customer service

As businesses get busy, admin and customer service can become a struggle. But not getting back to customers quickly can leave a bad impression. Virtual Assistants offer an excellent, flexible way to maintain high levels of customer service at your busiest times.

We asked Monzo Business customer Matt, from web design and marketing agency Indigo Marmoset, what they outsource and why.

“We outsource a few things currently, our accounts, our customers’ IT should they need further support, content writing and social media management. We found that not only do these things save us immense amounts of time, but they are all very important, so our customers get a far better service as a result. We are then able to concentrate on delivering the highest quality in our specialisms of web design and marketing strategy.”

Decided to outsource? Here’s what happens next

Once you’ve identified the parts of the business where efficiency and quality can be gained from outsourcing, you’ll need to find a provider.

Here are some handy tips to get you started;

  • Scoping. For the areas you're outsourcing, pull together a document explaining what you need. This will help potential suppliers give you an accurate quote and decide whether they are the right partner for you. This should include;

    • Expected volume and regularity of work

    • Type of work

    • Approximate budget

    • Any specific priorities or requirements (e.g. if you want a supplier to be local, or to have experience in your particular sector, or you need a flexible contract)

  • Culture fit. Also think about whether you want to work with a large established operator or another small business, and what kind of relationship you are looking for from this partnership e.g. to work closely as an extension of your own team, or there as and when needed.

  • Use your network. Reach out to your network for recommendations, people are usually very happy to recommend where they have had great service. Once you have some options take a look at their experience, case studies and client reviews.

  • Managing the contract. When you start, make sure you have a clear Service Level Agreement in place with regular reviews and communication.

Happier you, happier clients

By outsourcing, you’ll gain extra time to focus on your vision for your business and your customers. An important part of leadership is delegation and knowing when and how to bring in the skills and talent to improve overall business performance. This could be the first step in that direction.

In summary:

  • Look at all the non-core activities in your business and work out where you spend the most time 

  • Identify where your biggest risks are e.g. technology, people, skills shortages, business pipeline

  • Scope out exactly what you need and then reach out to your network or look online for suppliers

  • Use Monzo Business to easily see your outgoing costs and income to help with outsourcing decisions.