With deadlines to meet, orders to fulfil, and accounts to manage, balancing your time as an SME owner can be a laborious task. It can also be tricky to know which business functions to outsource, and which to manage yourself. In this article, Lisa Appleby explores some of the services that you can outsource as a business owner to save yourself valuable time.
1. Content marketing
Outsourcing your content marketing is a sure-fire way to ensure that you’re producing top quality content. A specialist content writer will create highly-optimized copy to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions.
The flexibility of engaging a content marketing agency will allow you to publish more content on a more frequent basis. Outsourcing your content marketing will also give you access to a wealth of knowledge as well as people – copywriters are often well-connected within the industry and have contacts across a range of media outlets, blogs and websites, opening the door to link building opportunities.
Whether you choose to complete quarterly or monthly - managing your books in-house can quickly become a minefield of balance sheets and cash books. Outsourcing will give you access to all of the bookkeeping specialisms you need in order to ensure your accounts are up-to-date and accurate.
However, businesses don't necessarily need to employ a bookkeeper in the traditional sense. The popularity of cloud-based accounting software and mobile apps continues to grow, with many offering comprehensive instruction as well as handy features such as invoice generation, cloud backups and organisational tools.
With that being said, the bookkeeping landscape is ever changing. As of 2020, all VAT-registered businesses (with a taxable income above the VAT threshold) will be required to keep digital records and use approved software to submit their VAT returns. As such, if you know that you'll struggle to keep up with changing legal requirements, it may be worth considering outsourcing this particular task to an expert.
Payroll providers have access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise, as well as the software needed to ensure your staff are paid correctly and on time. Payroll providers can also calculate your payroll and subsequent tax obligations as well as calculating statutory payments and ensuring that your business is compliant with National Minimum or National Living Wage legislation.
Outsourcing will also eliminate the possibility of incurring penalties from HMRC – HMRC regulations stipulate that employers must now submit Real Time Information (RTI) in the form of Full Payment Submissions (FPS). These must be submitted to HMRC each time you pay your staff – failure to report accurately or late filing may result in a monthly penalty up to £400.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Optimising your website can be a long process which takes even longer to yield results. Engaging a qualified SEO expert will not only save you time, but properly-executed SEO work will also improve your rankings, drive traffic to your website, and increase your conversion rate.
SEO is evolving at a rapid pace, from updates to Google algorithms to SERP overhauls. So keeping up-to-date can be a laborious task. SEO experts dedicate time to ensure they're always up-to-date on all of the factors which contribute to your ranking, including the latest best practice for keywords, design and user experience.
Factors such as money, training and time mean that SMEs are often unable to match the sophisticated IT systems enjoyed by larger companies. Not only will outsourcing give your business access to the latest technologies and industry knowledge, but implementing managed IT services also reduces corporate risk.
IT providers are well versed in risk management. They will manage and actively avoid risks which pose a threat to your company’s safety and security. IT professionals can also assist in the seamless implementation of new systems and technologies, allowing you to increase in-house capabilities and focus on your core business.
Recruitment agencies have access to a number of top quality candidates as well as talent pools. They are grouped based on their skills and abilities, and are pre-assessed, giving you access to keen, ready-to-go hires.
Many recruiters specialize in specific industries and have a comprehensive understanding of the industry, and so are able to offer invaluable insight and useful advice when recruiting within your sector. Engaging the services of a recruitment company will ensure your business is 100% compliant with current labour laws and standards.
Transcription agencies are capable of processing large volumes of work and working on multiple projects simultaneously. Employing a transcription agency will ensure all your transcripts are completed by highly-skilled staff who are accomplished in completing transcripts quickly, securely and accurately.
Any transcription agency worth its salt will be able to guarantee at least 99% accuracy and work to your own specific templates and deadlines. Agencies often employ staff who work specifically within dedicated industries – offering a wealth of industry knowledge and familiarity with terms and jargon. Engaging a transcription agency will also take the stress out of data protection and corporate liability, as they're required to be fully compliant with GDPR.
Although outsourcing your business services for the first time can seem daunting, outsourcing can save you not only time, but also valuable resources and money. As such, it's well worth considering if you could benefit from outsourcing one or more of the above business functions, allowing you to stay focused on management and business growth.
About the Author
Lisa Appleby is a content writer working on behalf of McGowan Transcriptions - the UK based leader in digital transcriptions since 1993. McGowan offer specialist transcription services to medical and legal professionals, as well as researchers, recruiters and many others.