How outsourcing to freelancers can work wonders for small businesses
THE sharing economy is upon us. Beyond the usual B2C arrangements like Uber and Airbnb, businesses and professionals are now also into ad hoc sharing of skills and resources. Previously, Tech Wire Asia discussed how freelancing has made a way for better flexibility in the workplace.
Freelancing is on the uptrend in Asia too. For instance, freelancing platform Truelancer counts India as its biggest market for freelance workers. More and more young professionals in Singapore are also choosing to freelance as their first employment option – temporary work becoming permanent!
Outsourcing one’s projects and tasks is not always an easy job, especially when managing workflow in a team outside your core organization. Fortunately, you can leverage the many cloud-based collaboration platforms that enable employees to maximize productivity even if everyone is working remotely.
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For a small business, outsourcing has its advantages, especially if there are activities beyond your capabilities. At the very least, you can get some help when swamped with so much administrative overhead that you no longer have time to focus on your core business undertakings.
Focus on core activities
When you outsource to freelancers, you can focus on the core business, which means being more productive at what you do best. This can be particularly useful when building or developing products that require outside expertise.
For instance, you can hire freelance engineers or software developers who have more experience with the project at hand. If your expertise is in app development, you can farm out design and content strategy to other professionals.
This also goes for the services industry. Restaurants must hire full-time kitchen staff, but marketing efforts can be outsourced to a freelance PR professional to manage social media outreach and customer engagement.
Scale businesses quickly
Freelancers can also help businesses scale quickly in times of peak demand, which is favorable if you run a seasonal business. It wouldn’t make sense to hire full-time employees if the business is not at full capacity all year round. One industry this has an impact on is tourism, which has peaks and troughs throughout the year.
Businesses will inevitably have overhead expenses, which can increase along with the organization’s size. This includes office space, utility costs, office equipment and such. When outsourcing to remote workers, you will be able to reduce such expenses.
This also includes other overhead activities, such as accounting, payroll, and HR administration. While these may look simple at first, it will soon be daunting enough to take time away from your core activities. Outsource things that you cannot take care of, so that you can focus on what you do best.
Save money in the long run
Outsourcing can be considered more of an operational expenditure (Opex) rather than a capital-intensive one. As mentioned above, running a big organization requires big expenses in physical plant and other infrastructure. To start with, you have to buy computers for your employees, pay for software and subscriptions and the like. As you grow, you may need to employ full-time IT staff to manage the digital assets and resources.
The trend is ‘anything-as-a-service’ – meaning that if there’s a need, there will be someone offering a service for it. For example, instead of buying a server and renting rack space at a data center, you can simply subscribe to a data cloud, where you can run and deploy business applications. Even business analytics can be outsourced to BI-as-a-service solutions.
Opex is also tax-deductible in most cases, which means saving on some tax liabilities if you choose to outsource infrastructure instead of buying.
Let us face the fact: we are not experts at everything. By outsourcing to people, businesses or even platforms that are the experts, you can improve how your business is run. You can be more productive with your time and human resources when someone else takes charge of things that will otherwise take you far more time and effort to accomplish.
The traditional workforce is changing for the better. With modern workflow and collaboration tools, the capabilities of full-time employees can easily be augmented by freelancers, and the synergy here will result in better productivity for everyone.