If you’ve founded a start-up, or you’re working in a small company with a couple of dozen employees, here are three business tasks that you may well be able to handle in-house.
All of these are tasks that many businesses do outsource – and, of course, you can go down that route if you want to. If margins are tight, though, or if you want to keep a close eye on all aspects of your business, to manage all the processes it makes sense to keep things in-house.
While you’ll ideally want to have a professional accountant involved, the reality for some small firms is that it’s easier to handle things without a dedicated professional, particularly when it comes to relatively straightforward tasks like bookkeeping.
This has the huge advantages of ensuring that you’re on top of what’s coming in and (just as importantly) what’s going out. Instead of waiting for your accountant to update you on the realities of your cash flow, you’ll be keeping a close eye on it yourself.
Even if you hire a dedicated accountant in future, doing all or most the accounting yourself – particularly when your business is small and things are relatively simple – means you’ll be getting everything set up the way you want it.
Tip: Use this cheat sheet to help you get to grips with everything you need to know about accounting.
#2: Design Work
It’s almost always worth investing in good design – but beyond crucial elements like your logo and your website, you don’t need to pay a designer’s hefty fees for every single image you want to use.
If you have a blog and social media accounts for your business (and you definitely should do), you’ll likely be getting through a lot of images. There’s no need to hire someone to create these for you: instead, make sure you know the details about how to source excellent copyright-free images online and come up with a simple template or set of instructions for creating branded images for your company.
Tip: Canva is a great online tool (with a good free version) that you can use to create anything from business cards to Facebook headers to leaflets.
#3: Customer Support
It might be a nice fantasy to outsource all your customer support and have someone else handling the oh-so-frequently asked questions, the emails, and the phone calls. As your business grows, you may well find it makes sense to do just that.
To begin with, though, or until your business is profitable enough, it makes a lot of sense to handle customer support in house. That way, you’ll be able to quickly pinpoint problems that may be recurring (e.g. an issue with a shipment) and you’ll be able to create excellent procedures and checklists for use by the customer support team.
Tip: If you get a large volume of customer inquiries, don’t try to track everything through email. Use a ticketing system like Zendesk to deal with customer inquiries.
At some point, you’ll likely find you want to outsource some or all of these to free up your time. If money is tight, though, or if your business is just getting off the ground, handling these three tasks yourself makes a lot of sense.