I saw an interesting infographic this morning, and it had a really interesting statistic. In the UK, there are 3.3 million business that employ 0 people. That’s right – there’s the business owner, and that’s it. I can only imagine that the numbers would be quite high in other parts of the world too.
It’s a beautiful thing to me that there are so many people out there who are hanging out their shingle and starting their own micro-businesses. Unfortunately, many business ventures fail within the first few years. I imagine that for one-man or one-woman operations, failure likely results from the business owner lacking either the time, or the skills to do everything that needs to be done to keep things running smoothly. That’s not to say business owners aren’t talented, intelligent people. The fact is that there are only so many hours in a day, and entrepreneurs can’t be good at everything. Things fall through the cracks, and things get done poorly. Over time, this will catch up to most businesses and have adverse, if not devastating, effects.
So, what’s a small business owner to do? The first thing that comes to mind is to hire help. But what if you can’t afford to hire help? What if you only need the help temporarily?
The answer? Outsourcing.
Simply put, outsourcing is hiring outside help to get things done. Unlike hiring help on a permanent basis, outsourcing is more like sub-contracting. Outsourcing is the perfect solution for the small business owner who finds themselves strapped for time, money, or skills. With the right tools, it’s affordable, quick, and easy.
Big corporations outsource all the time. Recently, though, a number of online tools have appeared that make it easy to find, hire, and manage the right people for the job.
What Kinds of Things Can Be Outsourced?
Pretty much anything can be outsourced that doesn’t require somebody’s physical presence. That’s a lot of stuff! The most popular categories that people tend to hire through outsourcing sites include the following:
- Computer Programming
- Consultants (business, finance, product design, HR, etc.)
Let’s say, for example, you’re a café owner. You’ve got a head for business, but computers scare the heck out of you and your dog could probably design a better logo than you. Beyond that, you’re constantly stretched for time. How could outsourcing help you?
- You could hire a designer to create a logo for your shop. You could have that same designer create a layout for your menu.
- Next you could find a translator to help you create a bilingual version of your menu.