Entrepreneurs and business owners often start their enterprises handling every small detail, but at some point, they discover this isn't a feasible approach to running a business. Time becomes a much more precious commodity than the false sense of achievement that comes from trying to do everything yourself.
Here's a look at key services business owners should consider outsourcing in 2018 and beyond:
The process of paying your employees (on time and without errors) is simply too time-consuming for most business owners to handle on their own. Plus, increasingly complex regulations and related federal, state, and local tax laws represent a "minefield" where it can be very easy to make the types of errors that may lead to costly tax audits.
Business owners must contend with thousands of "federal, state and local taxing jurisdictions across the United States," notes Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends. Most small businesses aren't concerned with all of those jurisdictions, but "still it points to the complexity of the laws" and the fact that "every year hundreds of new laws and regulations are enacted."
A reputable payroll outsourcing company can take care of the appropriate deductions for Social Security, unemployment, and withholdings — and stay on top of changing legislation.
Administrative tasks and support
Think of the time you'd save by not having to attend to some or all of the following administrative tasks:
- Setting appointments
- Answering and returning phone calls (especially those that don't require your high-level attention)
- Email reminders and responses
- Scheduling and to-do lists
- Booking travel arrangements
Many low-level (but essential) administrative tasks can easily take up much of your time--when it's far more crucial to leverage that time to focus on strategy, finding new customers, and enhancing the core processes of your business. Outsourcing these support activities not only grants you additional time, but the equally valuable peace of mind that comes from knowing they're being handled in a competent and efficient manner.
Bookkeeping and accounting
Even if you're one of those rare business owners who love working with numbers, it's yet another vital process that eats up too much time for most business owners to handle. A skilled outsourcing firm can balance your books much quicker and keep you up to date on financial data that helps you plan for the short- and long-term growth of the business.
Outsourcing gives you a great way to have full-time knowledge on your team without having to pay for it around the clock. By putting your books into the hands of a highly expert staff who understand accounting best practices, your job becomes easier. Generally speaking, a reputable firm can also offer greater business data security (and better-restricted access) than most small companies can attend to on their own.
Outsourcing many HR functions is another way to stay on top of employee management--a significant issue during periods of rapid growth. A skilled outsourcing company helps mitigate the risk of noncompliance with current reporting and filing requirements, as well as processing payroll, assisting with the development of worksite safety programs, and insurance benefits.
More small businesses are also investigating the merits of entering into an arrangement with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), which enables business owners to outsource management of employee benefits and rein in insurance costs, as well as:
- Create an employee handbook
- Build job descriptions
- Assist with regulatory and legal compliance issues
- Maintain Affordable Care Act documentation
- Providing comprehensive online HR resources
- Offer onsite employee training
- Help with risk assessment
Outsourcing other key processes - such as marketing, website maintenance, social media activity, etc. - are worth looking into as well. The more you can outsource to a reliable service or company, the more time you have to concentrate on what will contribute to the growth of your business in 2018.