Could outsourcing help your business?

Managing people

1 August 2016

The Business Services Association has said that even a 1% increase in outsourcing could add as much as £2 billion of productivity gains to the UK economy: and with 69% more outsourcing contracts signed in Q3 2015 than the previous year, it seems business owners agree.

Outsourcing can help you find more efficient ways to complete essential tasks, giving you more time to focus on steering your business to success. As demand for outsourcing has increased, so have the number of options for contracting out your projects. This makes the decision a more exciting and complex one than ever before.

Identify the need

Whether you have a clear idea of what to outsource or you generally want to improve your business, it pays to break down the decision and assess it objectively. The first question to ask is: what are you trying to achieve? For example:

  1. Savings. Finding a cheaper way of completing an essential task.
  2. Time. Seeking an alternative to you, or another key staff member, working on a crucial job.
  3. Growth. Looking for an expert to help with a project you currently don't have the skills to do.

Consider the pros and cons

Next, it's time to ask: is outsourcing the right solution?

The biggest advantage of outsourcing is that it can help meet your business needs. It's also a way of reducing risk by passing particular tasks to the experts who are less likely to make mistakes. Even if the specialists do slip up, they will be legally liable and they should have indemnity insurance against any legal action. In areas like accounting, this can save a lot of worry.

The biggest con is handing over control. This requires trust, particularly if you're giving access to sensitive data, and means you might not be able to fine tune the details – something worth considering when outsourcing marketing or sales. It can also take time and effort to find the best outsourcing solution for your business.

Find solutions

What are my options? Take a look at these potential approaches, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.


An agency or company could be a safe option. As a large business, it will have the in-house expertise to help you rival your competitors, and it will have the structures and insurance to be accountable for the advice and services it provides. However, you may need to sign up to long-term contracts and prices can be steep for in-demand agencies.

Freelancers and contractors

Hiring an independent worker as and when you need them is an affordable and flexible way to outsource your business projects. Although economical for small or simple tasks like admin, the downside is that freelancers will usually lack the clout an agency or company can bring to bigger projects.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

If the lack of control is holding you back from outsourcing, you could turn to a support platform. For example, Wave is a free accounting tool that can help you sort your finances out without an accountant.

With outsourcing, finding the right option is as important as knowing which tasks to contract out. Spend time searching for as many opportunities as possible, meet with agencies and freelancers and do the sums. Only then will you know for sure that outsourcing can help your small business.