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When to Outsource, When to Do it In House?

Running a business is a little bit like managing an ecosystem. Like an ecosystem, after awhile it becomes difficult to tell when yours starts and the next one begins. That’s because your business is interrelated with so many outside factors: your customers, your supply chain, your industry at large. When does something within your purview stop and somebody else’s problem begin?

This can be particularly confusing when it comes to outsourcing. Many companies pride themselves on being in-house, or DIY. That’s a nice-sounding ethos, but does it always pay off? The short answer: sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Here are some specific examples where it might (or might not) pay to extend your company’s reach by letting someone outside the company take control.

  • IT. Unless you have a dedicated IT staff, or at least very knowledgeable employees, with specialization related to your company’s unique technology needs, it’s likely that you would benefit from being help from outside. Rather than having to keep a stable of techies on staff, a Hosted Sage service can always be on call to help you with some of the heavy tech lifting whenever you need them. This helps in many ways: reducing up front investment, hardware purchases, and reduced staffing needs. It’ll also tie in automatic upgrades, backup features, and security. It helps when your IT needs are met by a company that’s in business for itself. They have to stay up to date on their industry, something you shouldn’t have to bother with in house.
  • Customer Service. Customer service may be something that a business operator enjoys dealing with, but these folks are in the minority. Most business owners are not equipped to handle customer service on their own, due to volume, time, and constant other attention commitments. Similarly, it may not be efficient to dedicate staff members, or staff members’ time, to this effort. Modern customer service centers do a lot more than answer phone calls. The best ones are extensions of your company’s brand, answering questions and solving problems as you would do yourself if you had the time. In other cases, companies can benefit from the transparency and customer-knowledge that comes from handling customer service in house.
  • Content Creation. Lots of businesses have blogs and written content, but many are paying outside writers to do this task for them. This is fine in many cases, but there are ways it can work out. Unless a writer is very informed about your company’s nature and values, they won’t be able to provide the value in content that you might be able to if someone in your company wrote the pieces themselves. It’s easy for a readership to lose interest in general material that doesn’t present them with new information. Still, outside writers can be brought into the fold, provide valuable information, and increase brand recognition through methods like SEO.

As you can see, sometimes it pays to do things in house, and sometimes it pays to outsource. Most companies do a little of both. If you’re out of time and energy, maybe it’s time to hire some outside professionals.

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