The internet and recent breakthroughs in communication have revolutionized the world we live in.  Ten years ago, an iPhone would have seemed like alien technology, but today, many of my clients run their business through their phone and I couldn’t live without mine, either.  One of the offshoots of this technological revolution that offers particular value to small business owners is the ability to cost-effectively outsource work of all kinds.  Whether it is freelancers or specialty firms, outsourcing can dramatically lower costs for your company, and improve the level of the services you offer to your customers.

The first question most business owners ask me in regards to outsourcing is “what type of work should I outsource?”  The answer is simple: any work that can be done more efficiently outside of your organization.  This will likely include much of the work that is outside of the core mission of your business.  If you own a plumbing company, you may not be an efficient marketer or accountant, for instance.  In that case, your time is best spent focusing on the core operations of your business and outsourcing other work.

In addition to providing secondary functions of your business, such as your marketing and accounting, outsourcing can also expand the list of products and services you offer to your customers.  Coming back to the example of a plumbing company, imagine that you have built a reputation over many years as a reliable plumber.  Your customers trust you completely.  In fact, they often ask you about other projects—renovations, repairs, etc.  You have no expertise in those areas, and so you suggest that they look elsewhere.  But if you can establish a partnership with another contractor skilled in that type of work, you can meet the needs of your customers while simultaneously making more money for your business.  The key is to develop relationships with responsible professionals who you can trust, because the work that they do reflects upon your company.  Take a moment and think about requests from clients that you turn down.  Could you develop a system of outsourcing that work?

Outsourcing is a valuable tool that many small business owners fail to take advantage of.  The ease of communication in today’s world makes it possible to collaborate with professionals on the other side of town or the other side of the world in order to get a job done well.  Take a look at the products and services offered by your business.  Is there room to add to the list?  Could you provide greater value to your customers by tapping into the power of outsourcing?  If so, what are you waiting for… get started today!

Do you outsource business functions? How, and which functions? Share your experience in the comments below!