When you first start your business, there's the temptation to do everything in-house. You want to keep a tight control on everything, ensure it is done just right and to the high standards, you have set. There's a reluctance to let go a bit and outsource some tasks. So how do you know when it is the right time to do this?
Take a step back
The first thing to do is take a step back and look at the company's operations. Let's say you are producing a range of blended fruit juice products that are sold via supermarkets and other stores around your region. You sell your products in small bottles, by the case.
In this situation, you may choose not to bottle your own products. Instead, you could produce the product but outsource the bottling process.
The benefit of this is you keep your product quality controlled and don't need to give it to anyone else to produce. But the huge bottling operation can be outsourced to companies around the world. This means you would not need to handle the expense of high tech bottling equipment or the logistics of the bottling and storing process.
What could you outsource?
So in this example business, their process could involve mixing the blended fruit juice products yourselves, so you do not give away your recipes. Then the products could be outsourced to an expert in small-scale bottling who would handle the actual bottling process. Once bottled and packaged, the products could then be taken to the stores who sell them.
In this example, the business would retain control over the making of the product to ensure it is to the standard they want. They would agree with the bottling company about the type of bottling and the labelling that would be added and then the process would take over.
Outsourcing other tasks
For a business to grow, there are going to be tasks you have to outsource. For example, if you want business cards and flyers, you aren't going to invest in printing equipment when you make blended fruit juices. It just isn't a logical investment. So you outsource this to a printing company who design and create the cards and flyers then deliver them to you for use.
When you are thinking about bringing someone into the business to do a job, always consider the cost/time analysis to see if outsourcing might be a better option. For example, you need staff to work the blending equipment on a daily basis. But do you need an in-house accountant who does the books once a week and the main accounts each quarter? This is a job often best outsourced and could save wages and resources for staff that are needed for daily operations.
When you look at outsourcing, don't just go for the cheap option. Consider what you are looking for - someone who is an expert or has a high level of experience in the process involved. So you want a qualified accountant or a company with a proven small scale bottling process. This might cost a bit more, but the reliability and standard offered will make it worthwhile.
There may come a time when it is better to handle these things internally. But until then, outsourcing is definitely worth considering for the financial and efficiency benefits that it brings to your business. Get the right partners and you can both blossom.