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Posts Tagged ‘Outsourcing’

The Economy and Small Business

Posted by collinsadmin on July 8, 2008

Due to the status of the US economy right now, many small businesses are having a hard time with sustainability.  Even though the price of gas, food, and other necessities are rising, small businesses are reluctant to raise their prices.  They don’t want to put any more of a hardship on their clients but yet they also need to be able to run a business that is profitable. 

 Raising prices for products/services should be a last resort.  A few things can be done to cut corners without compromising the service to clients. 

  1. Do you really need the newest gadget? In a world of cell phones, laptops, computers, blackberries, Iphones etc who wouldn’t want the newest greatest gadget to go with the technological world that we live in?  This is when you have to really sit back and think, do you really need it?  Are you losing time and productivity because of the technology that you have now? If the answer is yes then by all means if you can afford it, go out and buy it, but if you just want the latest, greatest, coolest gadget out there for the prestige, walk away. If you do feel that you need new equipment, check out sites like www.ebay.com, www.amazon.com, and www.woot.com for low-cost alternatives.  If you use Ebay, just be leary of what you are purchasing and make sure they have good feedback from previous customers. On Amazon, you can read reviews, and often choose between new and used. Always test a trial version of new software before you buy.
     
  2. Do you really show your clients that you care? There is more to customer satisfaction than just getting their work to them by the deadline. Your clients need to know that you care.  This doesn’t need to cost anything.  It can be something as simple as talking to them and finding out about their problems and then finding a solution for them. I don’t mean selling them more services/products, I mean actually listening and offering a solution. Doing small and thoughtful good deeds can mean the difference between retaining a client or losing one.
     
  3. Are you flexible in how to get more clients? With the economic woes, people are going to need different types of things than they once did.  People need to be more cautious about how they spend their hard-earned money.  Do you have a plan on how to capitalize on this?  At times, this may mean offering different types of services/products at different prices.  I don’t mean a lower quality but I do mean a lower price product. For example, if somebody only needs a letter tweaked, instead of charging hourly, just charge a flat rate or don’t charge at all unless it is intensive tweaking.  Are you willing to barter, will you help someone with a custom solution, and can you revise your product or service to meet a new need? You will gain more clients by showing that you care about them and their needs.
     
  4. Can you outsource any of your business tasks? Outsourcing does require you to spend money but it can also help you to receive money. Some people may think they are saving money by handling everything themselves from administrative work to website design and everything in between. If you are one of those people, next time you start working on your website or you administrative work, make a mental note as to how much time you are spending on these things and what you could be doing in that time to help increase your profits. If you are spending 5 hours doing a task that a pro could do in 1, you are losing money at it – if you charge $45 per hour for your time, and a pro charges less, you are losing money even if you can do it in the same time. If a pro can help you avoid costly mistakes due to inexperience, it also makes more sense to hire it out. 

Being a small business in hard economic times is doable it just depends on what you do to create the sustainability factor. It may require thinking outside of the box a little bit but it can be done in a wildly successful way.

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Top Five Questions To Ask Yourself When Considering Outsourcing

Posted by collinsadmin on July 10, 2007

Many people have thought about outsourcing some aspect of their business but that’s as far as it goes. Most people are not even sure if outsourcing is right for them. In this article, I hope to shed some light on the difficult question, to outsource or not to outsource.

  1. Do I enjoy doing this task? This is a very important question to ask yourself.  Why? Because if you aren’t passionate or enjoy what you are doing, you will fly ight through it and not give it the attention it needs.
  2. Does this task keep me up at night? If something you are working on is keeping you up at night trying to figure it out or trying to get it done, then you are not getting the sleep you need and feeling refreshed.  This will lead to the feeling of being burned out very quickly.
  3. Is this a revenue generating task? If the answer is no then it’s time to delegate it.  After all, aren’t you in business to make money.
  4. Can I afford an in-house assistant? This is something you need to ask yourself.  When considering an in-house assistant, don’t forget to add in taxes, worker’s compensation, additional equipment, additional space and down time (ie bathroom breaks, surfing the net, personal calls, etc)
  5. Do I need to micromanage anybody who does work for me? If the answer is yes, then outsourcing is not the best solution for you and your business.  Most service providers that you can outsource to are small business owners themselves.  They got out of the corporate world to get away from micromanagers so chances are if you are a micromanager, outsourcing is not for you.

If you have read through and answered these questions and you realize that outsourcing is for you, please don’t hesitate to call Collins’ Administrative Services at 814-757-4345 or email us

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Posted by collinsadmin on April 30, 2007

Top 5 reasons why you are unable to delegate your work

I remember five years ago, I had my first child.  My mother came and helped me out with him because; well, I didn’t know what I was doing.  I had never had a child before and obviously she had some experience.

The first day I brought him home it was wonderful yet scary just the same. The first night I had him, he was up all night.  My mom, god bless her, told me to go and get some sleep that she would take care of him. Well, I wasn’t willing to give up so easily so at 3am we were arguing back and forth. Finally, I guess my son got sick of us fighting and he finally fell asleep in my arms and that is where he slept for the night.

During this whole ordeal, I was thinking to myself, I’m the one who decided to have a baby and I can do it by myself, I didn’t need any help.  It wasn’t my mothers’ responsibility to take care of my child it was mine and I didn’t want to put the burden on her and besides she couldn’t do it like I could.  This was my son, and I was the one that was going to raise him and I thought even though she raised two children, she didn’t know how to do it.

What I didn’t realize was that I was not helping my newborn son by being stubborn.  If anything, I was harming him because I was stressed, tired, and just plain worn out.  Needless to say, the next night, my mom took over the baby duties so I could get that sleep and be refreshed to give my newborn son the attention he needed and not be exhausted.

In thinking about this day, 5 years ago, I realized how my experience could pertain to business as well.  I am hoping that this list that I have created will give all the people who think they can do it all a little perspective as to why it is wise to delegate what you can. Here are the top five reasons that I have heard (or thought) as to why people won’t delegate their work.

1.  I can do it myself. If I had a penny for every time that I heard this, I would be rich.  Okay, so you can do it by yourself but at what price are you paying? Not financially, but mentally and physically.  You are probably getting burned out and you just haven’t noticed it yet.  You are also probably neglecting your loved ones even though you don’t realize it.  Just because you think you can do it by yourself doesn’t mean you have to.

2.  I don’t want to burden anybody else. If you find the right person, you are not putting a burden on them.  Chances are if you asked them and they agreed to it, they really enjoy doing whatever it is you need help with.

3.   Nobody can do it as well as you can.  Maybe they can’t do it as well as you can, maybe they can do it better.  Maybe they can give you some pointers on organization or more efficient ways of doing business. How do you know unless you try?

4.  You don’t know what you should delegate. This might be an issue but an easy way to overcome it, is by taking one week and when you start to do a task you don’t like, write it down. By the end of the week you will have a list of stuff you don’t like to do and then you will get a better picture of what you can delegate.

5.  You are afraid of spending money. In this day and age, who can blame you for not wanting to spend money?  However, what you might not be spending out of your pocket might still be costing you money.

I hope this article helps a few business people realize that sometimes we all need a little bit of help and there is no reason to be ashamed to ask for it. Chances are you will be happy you did and your business and loved ones will be happy as well.

 Tracy

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Benefits Of Outsourcing-Part Two

Posted by collinsadmin on March 12, 2007

I thought I would do a follow-up to my cost benefits of outsourcing blog post because the previous one was a little vague.  In this post, I hope to break a few benefits down into their own section as well as explaining why they are beneficial.  So without further ado here it goes:

No Additional Office Equipment: If you have to buy a new computer you are looking at approximately $1000 (that’s conservative). Then along with that computer, you have the printer, which you can get a cheap one for approximately $40, but that is just a basic printer no other amenities.  If you want a printer, copier, and scanner all in one then you are looking toward at least another $100. Don’t forget the technical support in case something happens to the computer. Then you have to consider where you will put the computer and printer so you need to buy an office desk, there’s another $300.  Then where are they going to sit?  Buying an office chair, another $100.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg, not to mention additional paper, ink cartridges, pens, software etc. That all adds up.

Legally required fees such as Worker’s Comp, Unemployment, and FICA: We’ll say you pay your employee $10/hr.  So for Worker’s Comp you are looking at approximately $127/yr, Unemployment Tax (Federal), approximately $56, FICA, approximately $1591/yr. Not to mention, hiring a CPA to take care of all these things for you.

 No imposing of your workspace:  Well what can I say about this.  How much is your ability to be as clean or as messy as you would like worth? $100, $500, or more.  My guess is it’s priceless.  

Of course, there are a lot of other expenses that go into hiring somebody in-house such as slack time (coffee break, restroom break, chit chat time etc) you have to continue to pay even during these times.  Also, vacation time, sick time, training time etc.  The list goes on and on. 

I just wanted to post this so that you can see with a little bit more detail about what goes into hiring an in-house employee. So save yourself a lot of headaches and money by outsourcing your tasks.

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What Are The Cost Benefits Of Outsourcing?-Part One

Posted by collinsadmin on March 10, 2007

Many small businesses owners are realizing that a business isn’t that easy to run by themselves. The main problem is a small business owner has to wear a thousand different hats, whether it be marketing, website design, administrative or customer service. We all know that you can outsource your marketing and website design but not too many people know that you can outsource your administrative work as well.

Many people think that outsourcing their administrative work is too expensive but in reality, it’s not. I am going to throw a couple of figures out there for you to consider:

Your hourly rate: $100.00
Administrative work: 2hrs/day
Total loss of money: $1000.00 per week

Your hourly rate: $100.00
Administrative work outsourced: 2 hr/day @ $50 per hour
Total Money Gain: $500.00

So now you are wondering how did I come up with that figure. Well, businesses owners spend an average of 2hrs/day working on their administrative work. That 2 hours per day are non-billable hours.

Those two hours could be spent doing marketing, contacting clients, filling orders for clients, or just to relax as well. Sure relaxing would cost you some money as well but you have to have some relaxation time in order to keep that brain focused on the more important things in your business. If you get burned out, that isn’t good for business either. If you handed some of that work off to somebody else, you could be putting an additional $500 or more in your pocket.

Just some food for thought.

Until next time,

Tracy Collins

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