According to a survey from the Freelancer’s Union,
For instance, in the restaurant industry, you can hire employees to run the kitchen and service in the front of the house. Turn to freelancers to handle the online presence and marketing efforts. Research shows 60% of restaurants will fail within the first year, and as many as 80% will fail within the first five years. Clearly, part of your business success will be based on how well you can spread the word about your restaurant, and how many seats you can have filled.
You can have the best food in the world, but if no one knows about it, your restaurant will inevitably fail. You’ll need help with that aspect of your business, but won’t necessarily have it in your budget to officially hire a marketing employee. Freelancers can make all the difference.
Freelancers and temporary employees can also help your business scale quickly during times of increased demand. If you run a seasonal business, there is no sense and hiring employees year-round and keeping everyone’s hours minimal until your busy season hits. You’re better served by having a few core employees who have the hours they need, and outsourcing with freelancers or temporary employees during your peak season. You can adjust your payroll as your business grows. Then, after extended periods of growth, you can decide whether or not to bring on additional employees.
All businesses will have some form of overhead expense, and though you may not be able to outsource all of them – you’ll have rent to pay, even if you’re working from home there’s still your mortgage – freelancers can help reduce costs and workload.
Freelance staff can help with a number of tasks, such as payroll, accounting, and administration. you need to incorporate workflow tools and SaaS, so you can stop spreading yourself so thin trying to handle everything just to save money. You could be wasting time (money) figuring things out on your own, when you could spend a bit less in outsourcing, while you focus on what you’re good at.
Using automation with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms can help enhance marketing and provide useful data about your business to your management team, with little manpower.
Freelance web designers can build a professional looking website at a fraction of the cost of working with a firm, and you won’t have to spend your time navigating your way through a variety of DIY platforms to create something that isn’t all that useful to your business.
Outsource what you don’t know, so you can focus on what you do know.
Save on Infrastructure
Turning to the cloud to run your business can help you save on infrastructure. Your business won’t need to invest in the necessary equipment for local IT set up and you won’t need to hire the additional staff required to maintain it. Cloud-based services provide a low barrier to entry and are easy to scale based on your current business needs.
Continuing with our restaurant example above, your restaurant will collect all kinds of data about a variety of things, how much each menu item costs to make, which items on the menu are doing well and which ones are not, and the like. You’ll need systems in place to track inventory, order product, manage employee time, accept payments, and more.
You could spend thousands of dollars on a restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system, or you could simply leave it all to the cloud. A cloud based system will provide everything you need from a standard system, and may also include additional features such as online ordering, customer feedback surveys, and even customer loyalty programs.
With a traditional POS, you’re investing a lot of money for a one-time purchase. It’s natural to spend a lot of time researching, because they’re not exactly easy or cheap to replace. You’ll be required to maintain the servers, it’s not easy to scale if you decide to open another location, and there’s always a data loss risk. Plus, owners still need to be physically present to keep an eye on the business data.
With a cloud-based POS, the information is stored on a remote server and is available anywhere there is an Internet connection. The solution is easily scalable and doesn’t require server maintenance, or the capital investment in servers. Everything is backed up off-site, so your data loss risk is minimized.
Even if the terminal at the example restaurant is damaged, data remains safe and can be backed up at any point in time. Even if the Internet goes out, data is still collected and can be synced when the connection is restored. Because the data can be accessed from anywhere there is an Internet connection, the restaurant owner can check on things without physically being present. It is easy to integrate additional modules, such as online ordering, customer loyalty programs, reservations, and more. Third-party software can be incorporated and customized to the needs of the restaurant.
Ultimately, outsourcing everything you’re not an expert in helps improve your business efficiency. You’re doing more, with less.
Let’s say your time is worth $150 an hour. If you’re spending three hours figuring out something, whether it’s accounting, payroll, web design, social media, etc. you’re essentially costing yourself $450, and may or may not have gotten your end goal accomplished. Chances are, you could find an expert freelancer for much less, and accomplish your goal in a fraction of the time.
Three killer and nontraditional (Like UpWork or Guru) tools and resources to help would be Due’s Freelancer guide for finding the ultimate freelancer, PrestoExpert for expert consulting, advice and mentoring and finally a marketplace like Codeable for finding top notch Wordpress pros. Keep in mind that Codeable is just an example for a great marketplace for one vertical, whereas dozens of other “specialized” marketplaces exists for other niches.
Then, you go spend your three hours working on your strength, whether its sales, production, marketing or other work and you’ll have made more money for your business.
The traditional workforce is no doubt changing. While we’ll always have some degree of full-time employees, the important thing to remember is your business will not always require them. New ways of doing things are starting to dominate in both small businesses as well as large enterprises.
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