Why do so many startups fail? According to Failory, around 90% of startups fail sooner or later. The causes of failure are numerous ranging from incompetence and lack of focus to personal problems. While we can’t recommend an ultimate bullet-proof strategy which could prevent all startups from failure, we can name an effective tool which all founders can utilize to make their companies more profitable, productive and successful.
Enter outsourcing — a time-tested business tactic which allows businesses to cut costs, get access to the needed expertise and talent, and focus on their key competencies instead of worrying about bookkeeping, corporate website design, payroll, and other areas which are not directly revenue-generating.
Why Outsourcing Is the Answer
Let’s be honest, most of us humans can’t focus on too many things at a time. Multitasking has been shown to be quite ineffective and even detrimental to our work. However, the life of a startup founder seems to require constant multitasking. After all, there are so many things he or she must keep an eye on: marketing, sales, payroll, taxes, customer service and support, and a million other things. It seems that founders can’t help focusing on so many areas of their businesses. And that’s exactly why they fail.
Success requires focus. Laser-beamed focus. It’s your obligation as an entrepreneur to set and maintain that focus in your business. For this reason, founders who want to succeed must identify only a few key areas which they are competent in and focus on them. But how is it possible? Who will take care of other important things? The answer is simple — outsourcing. Focus on your core competencies and outsource the rest.
And if you’re wondering if anyone does it, let us mention just a few famous companies you must have heard of which used outsourcing at some point of their growth: GitHub, AppSumo, Fab.com, Slack, Skype, and many others. If they used outsourcing, why shouldn’t you? So let’s talk about the specific areas of your business you should consider outsourcing in:
- Product Development & Manufacturing
- Web Design & Development
- Public Relations & Reputation Management
- Accounting & Finance
Let us analyze each of these areas in detail.
Product Development & Manufacturing
Production costs are an important factor in overall business profitability and ability to compete. If it is possible to cut these costs by outsourcing, why not? This is especially true if manufacturing and product development takes places in the US or some other developed country where manufacturing costs are extremely high. A good example is Apple which manufactures iPhones in China. Of course, there are its own cons to this strategy. But if done correctly, it can make your startup more profitable and successful.
Web Design & Development
Corporate website design, logos, and so forth — all of these things can and should be outsourced. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Hiring an expensive digital agency from New York to design your website is not the best idea if you can get a great website of the same quality done by an offshore software development company from places like Ukraine or Belarus, for example.
Ah, all those routine tasks which secretaries usually do. Hiring one in the US can be very expensive. Why not hire a virtual assistant instead? The minimal average salary for a secretary/assistant in the US is $34,250 according to Salary.com.To compare, a virtual assistant can be hired for as little as $10 per hour or even less, depending on the country. This can allow you to save a few tens of thousands of dollars a year which is a big deal for a startup.
Public Relations & Reputation Management
Hiring an in-house PR manager can be quite expensive. It’s much smarter to hire a PR firm to have it manage your reputation and public relations. Some startups may find it unnecessary to bother with PR at all. However, this area may be quite important for some startups so it shouldn’t be completely neglected.
Accounting & Finance
Hiring a full-time accountant and CFO may prove unbearably expensive for many startups. But there is no need to do so. Instead, you can outsource this entire area to a specialized accounting firm. They will take care of your payroll, taxes, bookkeeping, and so forth. There is also a new popular option among startups called a “fractional CFO” – a part-time financial officer who comes to your office once a week to review and help with your finances.
Outsourcing may become one of the best business decisions a startup founder can make. If implemented correctly and diligently, it can make any startup more profitable, productive, and successful. What areas should be outsourced depends on the specific circumstances, and core competencies of the founders as well as the nature of their business. However, one thing is clear for sure – when it’s appropriate, outsourcing should be utilized by all means.