According to a recent report from analyst firm Nelson Hall, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) market is poised to hit $450 billion by 2012 as companies continue to turn to outsourcing as a strategic move to maintain profits and thrive amid economic recovery. Outsourcing has been established as a typical practice for large companies, but there are also tremendous benefits for startup organizations as well. In fact, startups that outsource are able to focus more on their core activities and offer a level of stability to an environment that is constantly changing.
In this article, we will examine three specific business areas small businesses can outsource that will not only save money, but will also improve business functions and customer service.
Business Process Outsourcing: The Top 3 for Startups
1 – Outsourced Email: Headache-Free Business Communications
Email is undoubtedly one of the most crucial tools for businesses of all sizes and has a significant impact on everyday business operations and productivity when not available. Fortunately, entrepreneurs can look to hosted email solutions and reap numerous benefits, including:
- Ease of management –
Outsourced email solutions don’t require dedicated IT staff specialized in managing on-premise email systems, making the managing of hosted email platforms easy.
- Cost-Effectiveness –
Gartner analysts argue that by 2012 email that lives in the cloud will cost 50% less than in-house, server-based email platforms, which strengthens the case for startups operating on tight budgets.
- Flexibility –
Since outsourced email is accessible from any location that has an Internet connection, entrepreneurs that work remotely using hosted email platforms can communicate just as effectively and efficiently as they would at the office.
- Data Protection –
Since outsourced email solutions live outside of the data center and server, users can rest assured that their data included in their email messages and folders are protected in the event of a disaster, such as an office flood or electricity outage. In addition to the above benefits, seamless business communications arm entrepreneurs with enhanced levels of productivity and performance.
2 – Outsourced Accounts Receivable (A/R)
It typically takes small businesses and most startups an average of 56 days to get paid by their customers, vendors and suppliers. This causes an imbalance in cash flow that makes it nearly impossible for companies to maximize growth. By working with a vendor that handles A/R outsourcing and credit management, businesses can benefit by:
- Increased Access to Capital –
Through third party A/R management, banks and financial institutions can lend against a company’s A/R, providing much-needed capital in a matter of days, not weeks
- Reduction in Liabilities –
Outsourcing A/R puts the invoicing burden on the credit provider; so businesses are free from dealing with both slow paying customers and bankruptcies
- Opportunities for Growth –
By eliminating cash flow problems, companies can proceed with expansion strategies, marketing initiatives and its business development plans critical to its stability and success
3 – Outsourced Payroll: Put the Burden on the Experts
Since startups typically have a smaller number of staff, processing payroll internally seems to make sense initially, but in the long run it isn’t the wisest decision. Without deep expertise in payroll standards, startups that process payroll independently quickly realize they’re wasting resources on a time-consuming activity that adds little value to profit. Numerous advantages of outsourced payroll include:
- Averted Penalties –
Unless you’re strongly familiar with payroll regulations, entrepreneurs that handle payroll on their own are likely to encounter costly fees due to errors in getting payments to employees and tax collection agencies as well.
- Reduced Costs –
Costs associated with time-intensive payroll processes can be significantly cut with the help of payroll providers.
- Time Savings –
Payroll processes require time that could otherwise be spent on revenue-generating activities, such as sales or promotion. The advantages of payroll provide startups with a simple solution to paying the employees driving your business, filing company taxes and freeing up resources to center on profit-growing areas of the organization.
In the end, startup success boils down to making your business flourish by meeting maximum revenue potential. This objective is much easier to achieve with third-party management of essential business processes. Efficient, secure and flexible email and access to capital and payroll systems keep startups steps ahead of their competition.