There are many times, as a small business owner, you benefit from outsourcing a project to an external specialist, rather than assigning it to your full-time staff. For example, if you are planning an aggressive social media campaign for your financial advisory firm, you need a skilled professional who has the time and talent to focus on this objective and complete it by the deadline. For jobs like this, a freelance viral marketing expert is the practical choice.
However, there are situations in which the opposite is true, and in these cases you should look to your own employees. These situations often involve the need to:
Maximize Financial Savings – It is true that outsourcing a project can be a great way for a small business owner to save money. However, there are times when keeping a project in-house is less expensive than outsourcing. In an article for Business2community.com, business advisor Jessica Bowers points out that by outsourcing, you are in fact hiring an additional employee. This means that you should analyze your current budget to ensure that you have the funds to support this decision. Along with actual numbers, scrutinize the amount of time you and your staff are truly focused on ongoing tasks; you may find that you and your-full time assistants have more free time than you think and can tackle an additional project without spending the extra money.
Maximize Company Brand –It can be a good idea to keep all projects that are within your company’s primary focus in-house. Doing this strengthens your small company’s brand as your team develops skills via new projects. Practical Ecommerce Contributing Editor Dale Traxler explains that most companies want to develop and maintain core operations that will differentiate them from their competition. For example, if your small accounting firm specializes in consulting for other small, local businesses, then you want have your internal staff handle such projects, while outsourcing occasional audits of private individuals.
Since an internal employee is familiar with your growing company’s proven methods, he or she will more easily complete the project within your organization’s culture. As with a baseball team whose players stay together year after year, your internal staff can scale its approach to projects and often complete them more efficiently than if you hire an outside contractor.
Maximize Control and Personal Oversight– When a manager needs to maintain confidentiality of a project, such as when your coffee shop is planning to announce a special seasonal flavor, you will want as much personal oversight as possible. An external contractor may compromise this.
In addition to confidentiality, quality can suffer at the hands of external consultants as well. An article in the online IT-related medium TechRepublic shares an incident in which a contracted company tried to use lower quality equipment in order to save money. Only the client’s meticulous supervision prevented the contractor from proceeding and possibly jeopardizing the company’s good name.
Maximize Your Company’s Long-Term Strategy: When it comes to growing your small company’s strengths and defining your long-term goals, your committed team of professionals are probably your best source of insight, especially if you foster an environment that encourages suggestions and even constructive criticism. To succeed, you will need to hire the best employees for each job. Rick Meekins, CEO and Managing Partner of Aepiphanni believes the key to building such a team is to balance flexibility with scrutiny when recruiting long-term employees.
Relying on internal employees is a good way to ensure confidentiality of a project as well as to strengthen your company’s core competencies. However, failing to know when to involve an external consultant may backfire if your staff spends too much time on an odd assignment or on one for which it lacks adequate expertise. To ensure you make the right decision, call the consultants at Aepiphanni today for a free assessment of your options and how to make the best decision.
Aepiphanni’s Ian Erickson has been advising managers and clients in a wide spectrum of industries on the most effective strategy for several years.