A major decision to make as a small business owner concerns which services you should keep in-house and which to outsource. Here’s a look at six services to manage internally and some that work well for outsourcing.
Some responsibilities are best handled internally. These are prime examples:
1. Technical Support
Technical support can encompass a broad range of duties. Tech support members might help people reset their passwords, deal with Wi-Fi woes or adjust their settings.
Keeping technical support in-house is smart because an internal team will have a comprehensive knowledge of your network and any particulars associated with it. An internal team can also promptly investigate on-site issues when needed.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is another service to keep in-house. The benefits are various and include maintaining a consistent brand voice and providing quicker responses to feedback.
In-house management also supports nimbly shifting your strategy without explaining detailed instructions to an outsourced worker or group. Plus, there are plenty of self-service tools that enable scheduling posts or publishing the same content to multiple platforms at once.
3. Core Competencies
Think about the aspects of your product or service that make it stand out from others in the marketplace. For example, if you sell custom-made musical instruments, the sound quality and artistry are probably two things that make customers flock to you.
Don’t make the mistake of letting an outside team influence the foundational characteristics people have come to trust. Doing so could harm your brand and make it hard to convince people to give you another try.
4. Customer Service
Outsourcing customer service is a popular option, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your small business. Keeping people happy is a top priority, and outsourced teams may fall short.
A 2019 study found that 43% percent of people blacklisted brands that gave them bad experiences. Even more worryingly, 34% of those polled said a single negative interaction would stop them from doing business with a company. Customer service is too important to sacrifice. Keeping an internal team makes it easier to conduct quality control.
5. Primary Product Sales
Succeeding in sales is a fine art that requires knowing how to empathize with the customer, speak about your product in the right language and present your offerings as problem-solvers. If sales are a minor part of your business, outsourcing may be a valid option to pursue.
Your sales team deals with the main products that built your business and helped it thrive. They’ll put your product in the spotlight. An outsourced group may have dozens or even hundreds of products they pitch to customers. That means yours may not get the deserved level of attention.
6. Human Resources
The human resources department is vital for managing your company’s talent and helping it grow. You should keep it in-house, especially since any poor performance from an outsourced company could affect your entire business.
Outsourced human resources assistance often leads to a sense of distance that can make employees feel unimportant. An internal HR team can give employees prompt answers and accurate information, plus efficiently handle recruitment, terminations and other actions essential to your company’s growth.
Services to Consider Outsourcing
Deciding what to keep in-house or outsource is not always easy. However, here are three services small business owners often find particularly well-suited to outsourcing.
1. Packaging Design/Shipping
A company specializing in packaging design can help you meet business goals by ensuring your products get to their destinations safely and in good condition. It can also advise you about what kind of packaging is best for breakable or temperature-sensitive items. It may even handle sending them to their destinations, reducing the responsibilities left to you.
When picking a company to manage your packaging needs, look for an active and engaged partner that is open to your suggestions. Since you need complete confidence in the honesty and integrity of the chosen company, ask questions that help you determine the outsourced company is worth trusting and will meet — or even surpass — your expectations.
2. Website Design
Most experts agree that a website is essential for successful small businesses. Creating one requires going through a detailed process that’s more involved than you may think. It’s worth considering outsourcing your website design needs, especially since there are so many reputable providers you could choose.
A website design specialist can also advise you on how to improve your conversion rate. It might suggest simplifying your forms or letting people register with you by using a third-party sign-up service. It’s wise to consider outsourcing website design for an existing online destination associated with your business.
3. Language Translation
Maybe you’re moving into a new international market or want to accommodate the fact that a sizeable segment of your target audience speaks a language other than English. In those cases, it may be tempting to ask an internal team member to give their best effort with the task by using an app such as Google Translate. That decision could have disastrous consequences.
Language translation tools are improving, but many still make glaring — sometimes laughable — errors. You don’t want these blunders to tarnish your company’s reputation and anger potential customers who speak other languages. Be sure to ask if native speakers will handle your translation work, or at least verify they have many years of experience. Check into the approximate turnaround times for your project, too.
4. Content Creation
Analysts often say content is crucial for a small business. The material can help the enterprise remain relevant, convey authority and keep customers interested.
Outsourced content creation brings a wide assortment of benefits, including saved money, increased flexibility and faster turnaround times. The pool of potential content creators is increasingly large. You can boost the chances of hiring the right workers by asking for samples of past efforts and asking how quickly they could fill requests for new assignments or revisions.
Strike the Right Balance for Your Small Business
Most small businesses use a combination of in-house and outsourced employees. This list can be an excellent starting point as you attempt to get the best workforce for your company while remaining mindful of its current and future requirements.