As a business owner or manager, there will come a time when you have to decide: Hire someone or outsource? Outsourcing no longer has the same stigma attached to it as it used to. In fact, in an era where technology niches are becoming more demanding in higher in numbers, it’s nearly impossible to hire someone who can truly do it all. Maybe you need a top notch editor to pull together the annual report each year or a search engine optimization (SEO) company so that your in-office IT team can focus on other tasks.
From freelancers to other companies and everything in between, there are varying degrees of outsourcing. Graphic designers, web designers, bookkeepers, accountants, human resources managers; all of these professionals can be outsourced. How do you know if that’s the best move for your company? It all depends on your needs, office environment and budget. It’s sometimes cheaper to outsource since you don’t have to pay insurance or other perks to stay competitive (published at salary.com,) but then again you’re paying a higher premium hourly rate for niche services.
Here are a few resources you can outsource and how to decide if it’s right for you.
1. Technical or niche writers
Need someone to blog for you, create SEO rich content or populate a new website? You need a professional writer, and that’s a skill and talent that you’re not going to find in your pool of employees. You can certainly hire a full-time or part-time permanent writer, but this isn’t financially savvy if your writing needs drastically ebb and flow.
2. Website manager
From design to maintenance and everything in between, having a business website isn’t a one and done process. You need to ensure responsive design is upheld, perhaps grow other websites in collaboration with your own, and make sure the fine tunings like good links are in place, (published by Erin Everhart).
3. Search engine optimization (SEO) pros
SEO and LSEO are constantly evolving and best practices are always changing. In order to improve your online presence rankings so that customers can find you, you need to play the SEO game. It’s not optional. This is easily a full-time job and not necessarily something website managers and IT pros are adept at.
There are high seasons for bookkeepers, like during tax season (published by Jeff Schnepper for MSN Money) and each quarter. During the “off seasons” having a full-time bookkeeper doesn’t make sense for many smaller businesses. It’s often a wise move to outsource this professional so you’re only paying for the times you need them.
5. Social media managers
Not just anyone can manage social media accounts, contrary to popular belief. It takes certain experience and skills, so don’t depend on the company intern to take this on as a “fun task.” It can be a full-time job, but the demand changes as you have special events, high seasons (such as Christmas for retailers) and quieter times. Outsourcing this position can ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
When the Great Recession hit (published by Robert W. Fairlie for Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, vol. 22, no. 2,) a number of freelancers and entrepreneurs decides to offer their unique services as a way to live the American dream. Now you can also benefit from this ambition and raw energy. Why put more hands in the pot than necessary?
By Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship.
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Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur, Social Media Week, CEOWORLD Magazine and the HuffingtonPost among others.