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The First Things a Small Business Should Outsource

If you run a small business, you might have a Type A personality. But that doesn’t mean the "A” stands for “Anything and everything all the time.”

You don’t have to do it all. We love small businesses, and want you to do the things you’re good at, that give you energy, and that make you money. Everything else can be left to someone else.

Outsourcing has come a long way since the days of “find the cheapest offshore call center and hope for the best”. We’ll walk you through some of the first things that can be delegated, and the companies we recommend to take the work off your hands.

The benefits of outsourcing

When you outsource things you don’t like, aren’t good at, and that steal your time, there are a few benefits:

  • The outsourced tasks usually get done better, and faster than before
  • You enjoy running your business more. Don’t discount how valuable this is.
  • More money—you have more time to spend on revenue-generating activities.
  • You’re able to scale your business.
  • You save money—working longer hours (opportunity cost, sanity) and hiring an employee (salary, benefits) are usually more expensive than outsourcing.

Now that you’re convinced, let’s talk about the first things you can outsource.

Payroll

1099s. Compliance. Onboarding. Other vaguely intimidating words.

Gusto is our recommended payroll and HR platform because it’s dead-simple to use, and makes those intimidating HR tasks feel relatively straightforward.

It’s not technically outsourcing, but it’s as close as you’ll get. You can manage all your payroll and HR benefits from one platform, and if you ever have questions, you can ask one of their payroll specialists.

Reporting sales tax

Keeping up with sales tax filing can feel a bit like being on a hamster wheel. That’s why big-time companies and small businesses both enlist the services of TaxJar, a solution for managing and filing sales tax properly within each state.

TaxJar is ideally suited for ecommerce businesses using platforms like Amazon, BigCommerce, or Stripe. Like Gusto, TaxJar also offers timely customer support that helps you problem solve when you’ve run into an issue.

Bookkeeping

Your business can’t grow when you’re stuck in the weeds with administration. Every minute spent on things like bookkeeping is time that could be spent on revenue-generating activity.

Bookkeeping is one of those activities that you have to do and takes a lot of time, but doesn’t generate revenue for your business. That’s why we recommend outsourcing your bookkeeping.

Bench (that’s us) does your bookkeeping for you. We provide you with a team of bookkeepers that are standing by, ready to handle the difficult work of bookkeeping for your business. With in-app messages, monthly financial statements, and software to track your finances, you can trade midnight QuickBooks shouting matches for a good night’s rest.

Filing taxes

We’re recommending ourselves again here. Once we’ve done your books, Bench will get your taxes filed too. From start to finish, we’ll take care of the tax filing process for you.

That’s one more thing off your plate so you can get back to focusing on your business.

Data entry

From updating your CRM, to maintaining an accurate product database and beyond, data entry tasks are easy to offload (and free up a ton of your time.)

You can use sites like Freelancer.com to find the right person for your data entry work, or you check out sites like Nintex that let you automate certain parts of data entry.

Legal stuff

When it comes to contracts, chasing down long overdue payments, or filing to become a new legal business entity, it’s good to have a lawyer you trust.

Sites like RocketLawyer let you connect with a legitimate lawyer online—and give you access to a database of customizable legal documents you can use right away. From contracts to bills of sale and more, you can get the materials you need without having to pay big bucks for a traditional law firm.

Marketing

Not sure where to find marketing help? Platforms like CloudPeeps and Skyword can help you connect with freelance marketing experts that specialize in graphic design, copywriting, content creation, and more. You might also consider reaching out to specific marketing professionals in your area—put some feelers out and ask for referrals from people you trust. There’s lots of freelance marketing consultants out there.

The extras

If you’ve ever spent a day doing something like physically counting inventory or making an office supplies run, you know that it’d be nice to have someone you could delegate those random tasks to.

One option is ThumbTack. They mostly cater to outsourcing needs on a personal level (like help with weddings and home life.) But ThumbTack’s categories also include business needs, ranging from Contract Attorneys to Graphic Design to Web Hosting support.

If it’s more of a virtual assistant you need, a site like Zirtual can help you connect with a smart, capable assistant that can tackle whatever you throw their way (from booking meetings to organizing your digital files).

(If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation of how to make outsourcing work for your business, and common pitfalls to avoid, check out this outsourcing article by HubStaff).

When should you start outsourcing?

Short answer: as soon as you have the cash flow to afford it.

Longer answer: when one of the following scenarios describes you:

  • When your expertise falls short. You can save money by cleaning your office yourself, but what happens when you need a lawyer to read over your contracts, or a bookkeeper to calculate yearly totals? Think of outsourcing as a way to extend your business expertise.

  • When you need time. Sometimes you’ll outsource things your business is capable of handling itself. But we’re all limited by the 23 hours and 56 minutes it takes for the Earth to complete a full spin. There’s nothing wrong with leveraging financial resources to utilize the advantages of outsourcing.

  • When you need to grow. Maybe you already have time and expertise on your side, but you’ve set your ambitions higher. Outsourcing makes it possible to expand your business and fill in the gaps as you grow.

Looking for more ideas on how to automate your small business? Check out How to Automate Your Small Business.

What's Bench?

We're an online bookkeeping service powered by real humans. Bench gives you a dedicated bookkeeper supported by a team of knowledgeable small business experts. We’re here to take the guesswork out of running your own business—for good. Your bookkeeping team imports bank statements, categorizes transactions, and prepares financial statements every month. Get started with a free month of bookkeeping.


This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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