Not so long ago, if firms wanted to expand into new areas or offer extra services, they had to take on full-time, in-house staff to cover the work. However, with the incessant march of technology and, in particular, the growth of the internet, it’s now possible for companies to bring in freelancers rather than increasing their overheads.
Today’s faster connection speeds and enhanced tech make it possible for companies to outsource all kinds of work – everything from accounting duties to cloud computing, HR and marketing. In truth, any area of work that you don’t need on a 24/7 basis should be outsourced, saving you money and reducing the responsibilities that are inherent in employing staff full-time.
If you’re looking for ways to expand your firm’s resources while still keeping a handle on expenses, read on for some of the most common areas businesses are putting to freelancers.
Accounting has been turned on its head in recent years with the arrival of a huge number of automated services – many of which can be run on smart devices – and which allow companies to take greater control of their finances.
In conjunction with this, there has been a massive growth in freelance accounting services. With companies now able to look after their day-to-day accounts using apps, there’s now really no need to hire a full-time accountant.
Human Resources (HR)
The role of today’s Human Resources (HR) practitioner has expanded greatly and these days HR specialists are responsible for a wide range of duties – everything from payroll to social media updates and basic marketing.
In addition, the core skills of liaising between staff and management can be a huge benefit to companies of all sizes and a specialist HR company will take care of all aspects of looking after your staff – everything from hiring to onboarding and ongoing management.
Better yet, with the advances in tech, apps and communications there are now no geographical limitations on where your HR team might be based. For example, modern HR software means you could have a dedicated HR Dept in Swindon even if your firm’s base is on the other side of the world.
Logistics and shipping
Depending on your industry sector, modern tech has made it possible for companies to outsource their entire logistics and shipping operations to dedicated companies. Using a third-party dropshipping service will free up your internal resources while ensuring order fulfillment and keeping your customers happy with punctual deliveries.
These new delivery models have proven particularly successful with e-commerce retailers, allowing them to dedicate more resources to their online services and marketing while slashing the overhead of traditional in-house order management.
New software applications are turning customer care on its head and these days it’s possible to automate many of the previously laborious and time-consuming client management tasks. In particular, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps can monitor and manage every stage of the client journey – from initial contact through to after-sales contact and support.
However, despite the advances being made in automated tech, for the best level of customer care you’ll need to integrate the human touch eventually. By combining client management software with a dedicated customer care team, you’ll give your consumers all-encompassing support in the form of call centers or online chat resources.
Over the last few years, there has been an exponential rise in the number of Virtual Assistant (VA) companies operating around the world – particularly for solo workers and entrepreneurs. A VA will look after everything from replying to emails quickly to scheduling and posting social media updates and can be an invaluable aid for freeing up time and resources.
As a guide, VAs charge anywhere between $10-$70 per hour, depending on experience, which can be a huge cost and time saving for busy sole traders.
IT and cloud computing services
These days it’s almost impossible to think of any company that doesn’t use IT in its day-to-day operations to at least some degree. From the one-man-band checking emails right up to global e-com giants, pretty much all companies rely on tech to operate.
Outsourcing your IT and digital services to a specialist cloud computing provider should be a no-brainer for most companies. Not only will you save considerable time and money, you’ll also get access to round-the-clock support and service. There are numerous advantages to migrating to the cloud, including (but not limited to):
Advanced tech: Cloud firms give access to cutting-edge tech that would otherwise be outside the budget of most smaller companies.
Reduced overhead: Setting up and running an internal IT department isn’t cheap. From the cost of hardware and software to the ongoing maintenance and running of networks, IT can put a huge drain on both time and money. Outsourcing means you’ll offload these responsibilities to your provider.
A truly mobile workforce: Having a central file and software repository in the cloud means your staff can go fully mobile, with access anywhere they can find an internet connection. Given the vast majority of people have cell phones these days, that means pretty much anywhere.