The Wire: Spring 2020 – What Steve Jobs can teach you about delegating business function

What Steve Jobs can teach you about delegating business functions

Do you outsource any functions of your business? If so, you’re not alone. A 2019 YouGov study found that 70% of B2B decision-makers have outsourced key services to third parties, with just a quarter saying they’ve never done so in any area of their organisation.

As your business grows, it can pay for you to focus on the elements that you’re great at and hire experts to do the rest. Each and every one of our clients has made this choice in relation to HFMC Wealth for their personal financial planning.

As Steve Jobs once said: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”.

Having just used the outsourcing services of lawyers and financial due diligence companies to help us deliver our own growth strategy, and as many of us are in the process of finalising budgets for 2020/21, we thought we would reflect on the delegation of business functions to improve the overall value for your respective businesses.  

Why would you outsource some business functions?

There are lots of reasons to consider outsourcing business functions:

  • Access to expert talent – outsourcing gives you access to experts in their particular field. They can offer innovative approaches, new ideas and solutions that you may not be aware of yourself
  • Concentrate on your core activities – you can spend your time on the activity that you’re best at, such as generating income or developing products and services
  • Reduce your expenses – outsourcing can often give you access to skilled experts at a lower cost than employing people in-house. You also benefit from reducing the costs of recruitment, training and maintaining employees
  • Maintain control – over time, you may have departments that have evolved into uncontrolled or poorly managed areas. Outsourcing can often bring better management skills and avoid a significant restructure
  • Provide continuity – high employee turnover can lead to uncertainty. Outsourcing gives you a level of continuity while reducing short-term risk (for example, if several people leave in a short space of time).

5 business functions you could outsource today

A 2019 YouGov survey looked at which business functions were the most commonly outsourced.

More than a third of UK businesses outsource IT support, while payroll, printing and accounting were also popular areas in which businesses sought external expertise. 

Here are five areas where outsourcing can add real value.

  • Marketing

No one knows your business, products or services better than you. A specialist marketing agency, however, can immerse themselves in your brand and bring the expertise and experience of working with other organisations.

An external marketing agency can provide outside perspectives that your internal team cannot. They can often offer highly qualified writers to improve engagement and your brand tone of voice, web developers with varied experience, and digital marketeers who can help with SEO and social media.

  • IT operations

According to the YouGov survey, UK companies outsource IT functions more than any other areas of their business.

Handling IT operations in-house can be expensive, and the average business has limited knowledge and capability to manage all its multiple IT systems and equipment. 

Unless you are a dedicated IT business, looking after your technology won’t be a core activity of your business. Hiring trusted experts to look after your IT could, therefore, be advantageous.

  • HR

Recruitment, payroll and human resource functions can easily be managed by an external provider.

An HR expert is likely to be more skilled at finding the right staff for vacancies, as well as screening and interviewing candidates and requesting references.

An external agency can also manage employee benefits and look after your payroll function. They are also more are likely to be up to date with the latest employment laws and standards, making them well placed to help you remain compliant.

  • Admin

A Federation of Small Businesses survey in 2016 found that, on average, small business owners spend 33 hours per month on back-office work. The same survey found that 55% of small business owners said that their growth was being hampered by time spent on business administration. 

You probably didn’t set up your business to spend a quarter of your time on admin. Outsourcing administrative functions can free up time for you to focus on the aspects of your business you enjoy and potential growth opportunities.

Virtual assistants can handle everything from your social media posting to your calendar and can look after many of your day-to-day tasks.

  • Financial planning and management

Many aspects of financial planning and management require specialist qualifications. We should know, having invested in getting the Corporate Chartered Financial Planner qualifications for our own firm! From financial advice to preparing accounts, experts must often have passed a series of testing exams to obtain the qualifications needed to practice.

As a business, the biggest cost of your finance and accounting is in your employees, including the recruitment and retention of qualified people. Does your company need a full-time CFO?

Outsourcing means you’ll benefit from expert advice and guidance on matters such as:

  • Management accounts
  • Tax and VAT returns
  • Tax planning
  • Business protection, such as key person insurance or shareholder protection
  • Fundraising
  • Preparing and advising on budget forecasts

The cost and time savings involved in outsourcing financial planning can be significant, giving management space to concentrate on growth areas of their business.

The HFMC Wealth Group can provide assistance to both you and your business for financial planning advice, employee benefits and tax compliance services. If we don’t have the in-house experts ourselves, then we certainly will have within the network of professionals that we have curated. 

Please send us a message via the HFMC Wealth website or call us on 020 7400 4700.

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