By Kylie Jane Wakefield
Small-business is increasingly turning to outside contractors to get work done. Whether outsourcing is right for your business, however, depends on the situation. There are times when your ebusiness could really benefit from bringing in outside or online help.
The number of independent contractors at small businesses has grown 85 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to Inc. Now, 6.26% of all work is outsourced to freelancers. Should your business be following this trend? Here are a few times when small business owners should consider hiring outside workers.
Creating content is a key marketing strategy for businesses. It can come in the form of videos, blogs, photos, Facebook posts, or tweets, for example. Content Marketing Institute’s Sunil Rajaraman says that content should be outsourced if a writer/creator on the team can’t produce something specific.
Need a whitepaper, but no one has ever written one at your company? Outsource. How about an ebook? Hire an ebook expert. If the content team doesn’t have time to create on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to outsource as well. Since former journalists are now turning to this field to make money, there is an abundance of talent out there. And, you’ll be able to draw from different perspectives and writing styles.
Taking Care of Finances
Entrepreneur.com reports that many small businesses are outsourcing their Chief Financial Officer positions because owners don’t feel comfortable taking care of high-level finances. There are companies like B2B CFO and Beyond the Bottom Line that provide these services. If you don’t have time to or can’t answer banks’ questions, consider outsourcing your CFO position. Paul R. Shackford, founder of B2B CFO, claims that doing so could save an owner 20% to 30% compared to a full-time worker. According to Beyond the Bottom Line’s John Gillespie, a full-time CFO can cost a company $175,000 a year, plus benefits and taxes. At one day per week, an outsourced CFO can cost $6,400 per month. The downside would be that the person won’t be in the office when you need them, and that you have to trust an outside source with your finances.
When You Can’t Afford it In-House
To determine what you’ll save by hiring an independent worker, you can use an outsourcing calculator. Take into account benefits, sick days, paid vacation time, and health insurance. Consider overhead, such as office space. There’s also equipment, electric, heating and water bills that can be cut with a virtual worker in place. If you hire offsite, you won’t have as much control over a project. Always be aware that a project might not turn out exactly how you wanted it to.
When hiring freelancers, get them to sign specific contracts upfront to avoid legal or financial issues. Go to a staffing agency for help, or professional sites like Elance.com, oDesk.com and Guru.com. You should also look for sites specific to certain industries, such as MediaBistro.com for writers and editors. Require references, detailed resumes, and cover letters to ensure that your independent workers have a solid background.
Outsourcing should be taken in consideration, but only after a small business owner looks at the ups and downs. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll be able to determine what the best course of action is for you.
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