Outsourcing is a real buzz word in the small business world these days. People are outsourcing a whole range of functions to companies both onshore and offshore. Unfortunately, some small businesses get caught up in the hype of the whole outsourcing idea and outsource some tasks that probably should be kept in-house.
As a general rule with outsourcing I would suggest that you only outsource non-core tasks to other companies. When you sit down and think about it, you set up your small business because you are either really good at what you do or you are really good at business. Why would an outsourcing company be better than you at building the strategy for your business. Also, why would an external company be better than you at budgeting or selling your products to your potential customers.
Tasks that are great to outsource to external companies are bookkeeping, virtual assistant duties (like the service provided by Virtual Reception), telephone answering services, cleaning, delivery, SEO services, design work etc.
I would advise keeping in-house any tasks where there is direct contact with your customers. These customers are the lifeblood of your company and you want to be sure of the relationship that you have with them.
I would also suggest keeping any tasks that involve strategy or forecasting in-house. How could any other company or contractor have a better idea of where you are going?
In our view, setting up a structure to outsource various aspects of your business is all about getting the right balance. If you get the wrong balance then you could either give away control of your business or not get enough benefit from the outsourcing.