At this time of January, most businesses are trying to get back to normal after the disruption of the holidays and figure out how to make it a more profitable year than the last one. For small businesses, these discussions can often turn toward what can be cut back. But there are some investments, particularly in outside services, that can end up paying off. Here are three important tasks you should consider outsourcing for your business in 2015:
- Payroll and Accounting
This one should be obvious, and yet far too many small businesses are still attempting to handle their own payroll and bookkeeping. If accounting really consisted of just adding various columns and making sure everything totaled up correctly, then of course most competent owners or managers could effectively do it themselves. But payroll and bookkeeping have to do with labor laws, tax laws, loan contracts and many more complex issues. And given the time it would take you to learn to navigate these waters correctly — or the potential for financial penalties should a mistake be made — it’s a better investment to hire an outside professional.
- Social Media Engagement
For all the hype about social media and marketing, it’s very difficult to measure the actual impact social media has for the average business. Moreover, the data that are available show that social media is outperformed by many, many other types of marketing (both print and digital). That’s not to say you should abandon it altogether. Rather, you should consider that it’s better to pay someone to make sure it’s done right. Social media often seems simple enough that we fool ourselves into thinking that everyone can do it (unlike other tasks such as web development, which clearly necessitate outside help). But in order for social media to pay off, it can’t be part of some vague “online presence” efforts; it needs to be targeted, guided by data-backed strategies.
- Most Printing Jobs
Obviously, there are some projects you’ll have no choice but to outsource to a professional print company. A good example is large format printing; large format printing covers projects such as aisle signs, banners, large posters and barricade wraps that would be simply impossible to produce on an office-sized printer. But you should investigating commercial printing companies for a broader range of services, too. Even if you’re looking at a project that your office printer can physically handle, such as direct mailers, commercial digital printers can produce these pieces at a much higher quality and often a better price per unit. And by working with professionals, you can benefit from their extensive experience in print marketing materials, which — despite the prevalence of digital advertising — still form the backbone of most branding efforts in the U.S.
Do you currently outsource any of your print work (such as large format printing), or do you handle everything in house? What other tasks do you recommend outsourcing? Discuss in the comments.