Outsourced solutions have benefited businesses, small or big, over the years in terms of providing reliable talent and reducing expenses. Today, outsourcing has become so popular that organizations rely on outsourcing to gain a competitive edge as well as expand the business. New and innovative outsourced business services are introduced and businesses, from startups to huge Fortune 500 companies, make use of these solutions. Even though outsourcing has many advantages like cost-effectiveness, better access to experts, improved efficiency etc, there still exist misconceptions about outsourcing. Many business owners are reluctant to outsource due to the fear of losing control over their business.
Studies say that sales representatives spend less that 40 percent of their time on actual sales-related activities and the average entrepreneur spends only 32 percent of their time working on crucial business functions. This shows that entrepreneurs spend most of their time in unproductive and non-revenue generating activities. This may be due to poor time management and in most of the cases the problems are centered around small- or medium- sized business owners who want to keep a tight grip on all the activities of their business. In such an instance, you can evaluate all business processes and decide which can be outsourced. The activities that can materially influence the fortune or nature of business have high ROI, and these are best kept in-house. The rest of the activities with low ROI can be outsourced. A forbes.com article published in December 2018 discusses these activities.
Activities with High ROI
Strategic planning and customer interaction are two non-revenue generating activities but provide high Return on Investment (ROI). Strategic planning is important for large, small, and mid-size businesses. It involves deciding on the business’ target audience, how to address it and how the business model should be developed to satisfy the needs of the audience. Management decisions have to be made that drive operations and shape the objectives of the company through long-term commitments. Non-revenue generating activities like relationship-building and troubleshooting are activities that allow small and midsize firms to stand out from the crowd. Therefore, these activities are better kept in-house. Customer interaction is an activity that is non-revenue generating but customers feel a genuine connection with the business when sales reps and managers directly answer their questions and consult about service. So, it is best that relationship-building activities are entrusted to your in-house team because your internal workers are better positioned to answer questions regarding pricing, product features and other details.
Activities with Low ROI
An organization has many non-revenue generating activities that require a lower investment and can be outsourced easily. If an organization doesn’t have internal workers with skills in marketing, accounting, legal services, human resources and so on, then these activities can be outsourced. Sometimes small or midsized businesses, with the aim of minimizing costs, deploy employees with mismatched skills in these roles. This is one of the most critical mistakes an organization can make. It yields no profits and sometimes can lead to loss too. Outsourcing HR is an ideal option because popular vendors usually have access to discounted group medical benefits and retirement plans, as well as life and disability insurance for a firm’s employees and liability insurance for the firm against claims by staffers, vendors or customers, in addition to payroll processing. All these activities may prove challenging for small and mid-size organizations and are therefore best outsourced.
Choosing the Right Vendor
Finding the right outsourced solutions is indeed a daunting task for entrepreneurs. Business leaders should be very careful while handing over the tasks to third party vendors. Entrepreneurs often have membership in associations that specialize in their fields like the National Association of Realtors. These groups educate business leaders about the best vendors and the worst ones. Professional vendors offer services such as:
- Information technology enabled services
- Knowledge process outsourcing
- Research process outsourcing
- Legal process outsourcing
- Customer interaction services
- Finance and accounting services
- Human resources outsourcing
There is no doubt that outsourcing comes with a number of benefits. Ensure that you are aware of all the risks involved and make a prudent choice when selecting a service provider.