Managing: How Outsourcing Can Help Your Small Business Start and Grow

Are you using outsourcing to start or grow your small business? If not, why not? A recent report from oDesk, an online remote hiring community, has some compelling reasons why outsourcing benefits both entrepreneurs and the people they hire.

First, if you think outsourcing only means working with someone in India or other remote country, think again. Outsourcing, in many cases, simply means remote workers who work offsite. They could be in your town, your state or across the country—they just don’t come in to your office to work.

While you might be nervous about the thought of working with someone you never see, businesses in oDesk’s survey that use remote workers are finding the arrangement works smoothly. In fact, 55 percent of them feel comfortable outsourcing critical/core functions of their businesses. And while you might think communication is an issue, 77 percent of employers regularly keep in touch with their remote employees multiple times a week using tools like email and Skype.

There are some obvious reasons why remote workers are a good fit for small businesses. One in five employers say they like being able to shrink or expand their work force when they need to. And half of the employers report their businesses have grown—either in terms of size, revenues or product offerings—in the past year thanks to outsourcing.

Is your business too small even to afford outsourcing, or are you just getting off the ground? Then you might want to turn the tables and think of your business as a place for other companies to outsource to. oDesk found that 77 percent of those surveyed who are looking for remote work don’t consider themselves “employees,” but entrepreneurs. They’re turning to online employment sites like oDesk to find new business and then find remote workers to help them fulfill it.

When you think of how we communicate with friends, family and businesses today, the idea of working remotely with outsourced workers shouldn’t seem so strange. And for a small business or startup on a shoestring, not having to provide office space, buy equipment or handle payroll can save a lot of time and money.

You can even outsource business advice by contacting the experienced mentors at SCORE. Visit the SCORE website to get free counseling 24/7 remotely. (You can still get offline counseling too, of course!)

Rieva Lesonsky
<p> Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. <br /> <a href="" target="_blank" title="GrowBizMedia"></a> | <a href="" target="_blank" title="Rieva on Twitter">@rieva</a> | <a href="" title="blogs by Rieva">More from Rieva</a></p>


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