As we’ve mentioned a couple of times before, outsourcing is a great strategy that helps small businesses and startups grow to their potential (and within their normally reduced budgets). For those of you that haven’t read our previous articles on the topic, let’s start with a quick recap to let you know what business process outsourcing (BPO) is and how it works.
What is outsourcing?
Sticking to non-technical terms, outsourcing means hiring a third party (it can be a company or an individual) to take care of tasks you don’t want to handle internally, whether because they’re repetitive and prone to error or because they’re outside your main scope (aka not part of your core business).
When talking about startups and small business, they almost always come with restrictions. Whether it’s a small team or a small budget (or both), they just can’t handle every single business aspect on their own. That’s where outsourcing comes in.
By outsourcing all those processes that don’t need to be dealt with internally, these companies have more available time to focus on their core business (the aspects that make their customers value them) and, consequently, improve their chances of success.
How does outsourcing work?
Even though it may seem obvious, there are a few details your company should bear in mind before opting to outsource processes. For starters, do you know what onshore, nearshore, and offshore mean? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
These three terms are directly related to where you choose to outsource to. Onshore is when you hire a professional or a company located in the same country your company is based in. It has the advantage of geographical proximity (which facilitates communication) but it’s usually a lot more expensive than the other two alternatives.
Offshore is when you outsource to a company located all the way across the globe. Ok, that’s not necessarily true in all cases but, since more than half of the top 10 outsourcing locations are in Asia, chances are you won’t be in the same time zone. This is normally the cheapest alternative but it comes with the inconvenience of making it a lot harder for remote teams to interact due to time-zone differences and language/cultural barriers.
In between those two, there’s nearshore. As the name states, it means outsourcing to another country that’s located near the country where your main operation is based at. This alternative makes it easier for teams to interact and is normally cheaper than onshore (but more expensive than offshore).
At the end of the day, it’s up to your company to decide which of the criteria is most important and base your choice of BPO company on that. If you want to learn more about these three options, check out this article.
Which tech tasks can my startup outsource?
Time to face the truth: nowadays, rare are the companies that don’t have any type of internal tech demands. Whether is cloud hosting, technical infrastructure, or website management, 9 out of 10 companies have some of these demands that can be outsourced to optimize the available resources.
For this article’s purpose, we’re considering just the companies where these tech tasks are not the company’s core business.
Cloud computing is no longer a thing of the future: it’s here and it’s part of almost everyone’s life. The reason why it’s so great (and important) is that it allows people (and businesses) to access the information they need from anywhere on the planet, as long as they have a compatible device connected to the internet.
Hosting an in-house cloud service can cost a lot of money (as well as pose quite a few security threats if it’s not updated constantly). In order to allow companies to focus on using the cloud instead of maintaining it, outsourcing cloud technology is a must-have.
Infrastructure (hardware, servers, etc.)
How do companies outsource their technical infrastructure? By outsourcing their bulkier equipment needs, such as hardware and servers, to an infrastructure provider. Building your own infrastructure costs a lot (and I stress, A LOT) of money and it takes a lot of time.
Even if your company has the necessary budget for purchasing and housing all necessary equipment (which is quite uncommon in startups), they’ll also need to invest in the maintenance and skilled IT staff.
Outsourcing infrastructure services allow startups and small businesses (with small budgets) to cut these expenses, considering the service provider owns the equipment and, therefore, is responsible for running and maintaining it.
Web Design / Site updates
Unless your startup’s core business is building and managing websites, you’re probably already aware of how much effort it takes to build a well-crafted site, to begin with. Unfortunately, building it isn’t half the work.
Managing, maintaining, and updating websites takes a lot of time and effort. Ensuring your site stays up to date with the latest tech trends demands a lot of monitoring (and a lot of work). Outsourcing these tasks to companies specialized in doing it makes it easier for your company to maintain a strong web-presence without spending a lot of time on it.
We chose to mention these 3 tech tasks because they’re common to most small businesses/startups but there’s a lot more that can be outsourced when it comes to technology such as app development, cybersecurity, e-commerce management, QA testing, and so on.