In the last fifteen years, what it means to be an online business has changed a great deal. Where once all you needed was a fairly nice website, basic SEO, and a few banner ads, now the requirements have drastically shifted and expanded. Banner ads are out but inbound marketing through online blogs is in. Most companies have stopped cold-emailing people and instead have built up an active and growing social media community. Not only do you need a strong online presence, but any company in the public eye is also immediately expected to have an online app and, these days, it should probably connect to a smart home. No one web developer or community manager can handle all of that. The amount of application development and support alone is staggering, much less the design, testing, maintenance, and security.
The fact of the matter is that almost no companies except for the truly big brands can afford to have all of their production, support, and IT departments in-house and even the big names have been known to outsource. There has been a lot of debate about outsourcing and whether it is the right choice for any particular business or all businesses as a whole, but let’s be practical. Everyone outsources these days. Why? Because the expectations for online presence and application production are usually beyond the original structure of most companies.
A Practical Choice for Most Companies
Let’s say you run a local hardware store and you decide to open an online hardware store as well and ship tools across the country to DIY enthusiasts at home. Great plan. But do you or any of your employees know how to build a website or integrate an eCommerce platform into your existing website? What about building a mobile app so your customers can order tools on the go? On the other hand, you also don’t need web and app developers most days in your hardware store. Therefore the most practical solution is simply to outsource production, particularly if it comes from a team who offers support and maintenance as well. In many cases, the only companies that don’t outsource web and app production are people who already develop professionally or big corporations with a department for everything.
A Practical Choice for Specialists
When asking yourself if outsourcing a particular task or job is the right choice, don’t forget to think about the situation from the specialist’s point of view. Take an IT setup, maintenance, and recovery team. These are technicians and admins that work well together and they’re good at a specific set of things. Let’s face it, unless you had two thousand computers in a complex of buildings, your company network probably doesn’t need that much maintenance. By working for several dozen companies and providing solutions and support whenever needed, the specialists can make the best use of their time while you make the best use of your budget.
Saving for Real Growth
The final argument for outsourcing is strategic growth. Especially for small businesses, every expansion matters a great deal and they need to occur in the right order. If you need technical services or IT support but don’t need your next expansion to be salary and office space for full-time technicians, outsourcing allows you to make strategic decisions. Your company may well be big enough for its own complete IT department one day, but specialist agencies, firms, and services make it possible to cover all your bases by working with other small businesses doing what they do best. When you’re ready to build a new department, it can be the right one for your business plan, not your online marketing needs.