When considering the benefits of outsourcing, the first one most people think of is operating cost savings. There’s no question that scaling up as needed and then downstaffing is generally going to cost less than retaining staff on payroll year-round. Additionally, because outsourced resources are essentially a contract vendor, there’s no payroll taxes for the client either. That said, it doesn’t mean the cost is not paid; the outsourcing provider addresses that cost and passes it on. So, the real savings come in only using what is exactly needed in staffing and no more. However, there are other benefits available now with today’s outsourcing that are very different from decades earlier.
Short Training Turnarounds and Immediate Productivity
Depending on what is chosen for a provider and what kind of skillset is brought to the table, it is quite possible for a business to obtain outsourcing that is skill-ready and can start work right away on a project. The same can’t usually be said with new payroll employees. Regular staff typically have to be trained up over time, which can be expensive, both in time lost in their lack of productivity as well time spent by the staff that train them. For a small business watching every penny, that difference can be significant.
Continued Access to Specific Expertise
While a specific skillset might not be needed all the time, an outsourced expert makes a lot of sense when the need does come up. Probably one of the most common is a move for a small business to a digital platform. It’s a lot more than just setting up a simple HTML website. Everything from the DNS ownership and hosting to the site and interaction with audiences via user interfaces matter. That can easily include three if not five different scripting languages. Add in a cloud account, and things get even more interesting. A full stack expert can produce and build all of these layers for a client correctly, avoiding the need to learn by trial and error with an internal person who’s not trained in professional web design.
A Professional First Foot Forward
For small businesses who don’t have the means or planning yet to hire on customer support staff, outsourced resources that can easily be taken care of include primary contact support, chat systems, incoming phone systems and similar for ordering, information and customer service. This makes a big difference for contacts considering working with a small business but not yet sure the company is ready for primetime. A professional layer creates a great first impression even if the company itself is not fully matured yet.
Outsourcing Doesn’t Work for Everything
Third-party support isn’t necessarily the best choice for everything. Successful small businesses that utilize it well have found the right balance between the internal team and external support. This balance can also be adjusted over time as the business grows and takes on more permanent resources too. The trick is to regularly monitor the need and adjust resources as necessary for the optimum productivity level matched to goals. It’s also critical to not outsource those activities or functions that are essential for the business, or the company can end up being dependent on the provider and at high risk for serious control problems in operations.
The above said, outsourced resources today are very effective as both partnerships for ongoing processes and ideal for short-term scale-ups for temporary demands. In both regards, outsourced resources can save money, time, training commitments and avoid frustrations. This is why the resource continues to be used by companies small and large, even some 30 years after the practice started becoming available across all industries.