Article to be bylined to Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at outsourced contact centre specialist Echo Managed Services
Business growth and expansion are always front of mind for start-up founders and owners of emerging businesses. However, SME leaders without the support of a large team often struggle to devote the required resources to each area of the business, potentially becoming overwhelmed by the volume of work required to grow a company.This can particularly be the case where a business finds itself on a rapid growth trajectory.
This is why outsourcing can be a fantastic option for those looking to grow their business or already in a period of growth. It allows them to focus on core tasks such as building and marketing their product or service, whilst still ensuring that vital support activities like customer service are being professionally handled.
Outsourcing is proving to be a hit amongst the majority of business owners, with research from Deloitte showing that two in three organisations now outsource certain activities to other companies.
However, we know that start-ups and SMEs can often overlook outsourcing as a way to grow the business, due to a perception that it is solely the preserve of larger, multi-national enterprises – one which could not be further from the truth. In fact, outsourcing certain processes of your business to freelancers, consultants, or even third-party companies can be of huge benefit to a business which is looking to grow, no matter what their size or relative budget.
Here, we’ll take a look at the different areas in which outsourcing can transform the growth prospects for startups and growing businesses.
Saving on overheads
A major consideration for small business owners looking to grow their enterprise is managing their cost base, and ensuring that the business is as streamlined as possible.
This is where outsourcing can be a major help. We’re lucky enough to live in an age whereby cloud computing and increasingly advanced mobile technology make it possible for external consultants and third parties to contribute to the business from anywhere.
An outsourced workforce is a remote workforce, meaning smaller businesses can keep their in-house team small, saving on overheads such as technology, infrastructure, and other administrative costs.
Customer service is a particularly great area to outsource, being a vital support service for any business regardless of size or sector. In fact, recent research fromKPMGfound that enhancing their customer service offering is actually the number one reason companies are likely to outsource.
Outsourcing importantly frees up the core team to focus on other areas such as developing their products and services and pursuing new business leads, thus driving further growth and success.
When starting a business, many entrepreneurs may fall into the trap of trying to do too much; attempting to tackle every problem single-handedly, no matter what it is. Admirable as this may be, any successful small business founder will tell you that there are only so many hours in the day, and the task of trying to grow a company entirely off your own back can quickly become overwhelming. Delegation is therefore key.
Being pulled between different tasks can be detrimental to both productivity and mental health. While multitasking may feel more productive, constantly changing tasks can be mentally exhausting, potentially leading to poorer standards of work. Being unable to give individual tasks the attention they require can also lead to important projects taking longer to complete, raising stress levels throughout the company.
This is why outsourcing is such a great option for growing businesses which are looking to make the most efficient use of their time – namely in developing and selling their product or service, thus bringing in all-important revenue and developing the business.
Trusting various business processes to external specialists enables businesses to keep core team members focused on their designated roles, as well as on steering business growth.
Which area would be most beneficial to outsource?
Of course, it’s also incredibly important to carefully decide which areas of the business will provide the most benefit from being outsourced, in order to ensure that limited funds are being used efficiently.
A great place to start for business owners is to take a step back and assess exactly which tasks – although necessary –take up too much precious time or are difficult for the business to perform to a consistently high standard.
An often-overlooked, but particularly vital, support task which can be outsourced is customer service. Trusting this crucial process to an untrained, potentially overstretched in-house team can have catastrophic consequences for customer loyalty, with more than three in four (76%) of customers evaluating customer service as a key parameter of how a brand values them.
It’s imperative to consider the time savings which can be made by outsourcing customer service. Businesses without a dedicated customer service department can find their working day being constantly disrupted by a deluge of customer enquiries, which can be overwhelming for the company, and lead to a poor experience for the customer.
In addition, customer service call volumes can vary greatly, meaning that an in-house team may be team idle during quieter periods. If you instead outsource to an external team, you can choose to only pay for the services you receive, leading to cost savings which can be vital for startups.
At the other end of the spectrum, peak periods such as the holiday season can prove too much for in-house teams. Outsourced customer contact centres are far more agile and scalable, able to quickly add extra manpower and resources when required to ensure that they can easily and effectively handle every eventuality.
Stimulating business growth through outsourcing
Overall, outsourcing can be a fantastic way to facilitate growth forgrowing businesses and startups who may be struggling to focus their efforts on the core growth areas for their company.
Of course, handing over control to an outsourced party can come with risks, which include decreased quality or damage to a brand’s reputation. This is why taking the time to pick the right outsourcing provider is of critical importance.
This means looking for a partner who can add genuine value to the company, scaling their offering to appropriately manage the needs of a growing business, while also becoming close enough to the organisation to act as a true brand ambassador for the company.
While outsourcing auxiliary services and picking the correct provider does require an initial outlay in terms of time and resource, this investment should be more than repaid through the increased productivity, reduced stress and boosted profits outsourcing can bring, all of which add up to create rapid, sustained business growth.