How to manage your business more effectively
Time. There’s never enough of it. As a business owner, it’s all too easy for the daily buzz of activity to start to feel overwhelming as your to-do list grows unfeasibly long. Pressures at home and within the workplace soon mount up and you can suddenly find your juggling act is getting out of control. But whilst you’re hopefully managing to keep your head above water, when are you finding the time to develop yourself and your business?
How to reduce daily pressures as a business owner?
The good news is that there is a way to reclaim your time back. Outsourcing is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives. Despite a plethora of apps and services designed to make our lives easier, the overwhelming irony is we now seem to have less time than ever. Whether it’s buying our groceries online or signing up for virtual business concierge services, an increasing number of us are delegating tasks so we can focus on other priorities.
How can outsourcing help your business?
When it comes to your business, outsourcing can do more than save you time. If done effectively, it can also help control costs. Hiring freelance experts, rather than full-time specialists, is a lot cheaper and means you can enlist the help you require for fixed periods, on and off, as needed. Outsourcing also enables businesses to be more agile. By drafting in external expertise, it’s often easier and quicker to respond to new and changing customer demands.
When should your business outsource?
Chances are that you are already outsourcing some aspects of your business. A good rule of thumb when debating whether to outsource is to ask whether you are spending a disproportionate amount of time on a task which isn’t one of your key skills and isn’t helping drive your business forward. If the answer is yes, and it can easily be performed by someone externally, then it’s a good opportunity to outsource.
Quick outsourcing wins to help save your business time and money
As well as key elements of your business, you can now outsource many peripheral aspects of its day-to-day running as well. Take utility bills. According to Ofgem1, a third of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) have never switched energy provider and a lack of time is a key contributor. Many businesses don’t realise that by neglecting their energy contracts, they have defaulted onto inflated rates costing up to 80 percent more2. Trusted Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs), like Make It Cheaper, have stepped in to help businesses save time and money by comparing energy providers and finding them the best business rates for their needs. A simple phone call could save your business hours of work and hundreds of pounds.
Energy contracts are just one example of where a third party’s services can help your business tackle its administration and save money at the same time. The same principles apply to business insurance, business telecoms and, following UK deregulation in April 2017, business water rates. Using a third party to negotiate each of these when the renewal window comes around is an easy and effective way to save precious time and money. Utilities may feature far down on your to-do list but neglect them and you risk paying over the odds.
A rapidly expanding sector which many businesses will not have considered outsourcing is acquiring business funding. With a greater number of alternative financing options available than ever before, it’s often difficult to know where to begin when looking for financial backing for your business. The services of a financial services intermediary, such as Make It Cheaper, can provide expert advice, remove some of the decision-making pressures and enable you to make an informed decision when choosing the right finance solution for your business.
Tips for outsourcing success
Whether you’re looking to outsource a large or small project, here are some helpful ground rules to help ensure success:
- Clearly define the scope and timings of your project
- Ask for recommendations from other clients
- Review the service provider’s portfolio
- Consider quality of work as well as price
- If commissioning a large project, test out a smaller one first
- Ensure a contract is in place for legal and financial protection
Henry Newby, Director of Partnerships Make It Cheaper