19 Support Services Your Small Business Might Need
It doesn’t matter whether you have just started a new business or you have been running one for a while now. What does matter is your work processes are as streamlined and efficient as possible.
The sad truth about businesses is that many often waste a lot of time and money by not making efficiency a priority. As a result, it takes them longer to complete tasks. This also leads to some customers “jumping ship” and using a competing firm for their needs!
If those are the things you want to avoid happening with your business, I’ll tell you what to do. One thing you can do is look at ways of streamlining what you do. To that end, it makes sense to outsource specific business processes, freeing up your internal resources for other tasks.
Here’s a list of some of the most common processes you should be outsourcing to third-party service providers:
1. Content Writing
Professionally written contents are very important for your business. It does the online talking on your behalf. Your content gives a lead (a potential customer) an idea of who you are and the quality of your product or services.
The ability of your content to convince a potential customer determines your conversion rate. You can picture it this way:
Good content + good product = great sales
Good content + bad product = average sales
Bad content + bad product = poor sales
Bad content + good product = average sales
I am sure you want to give your best shot by using a great combination of good content and good product.
There are many freelance writers skilled at creating compelling content for your website, blogs and emails. You can always seek their services for your business.
2. Graphic Design
This is like a subsection of communication and design and it is quite similar to brand consulting. However, it has its peculiarities. Graphic design in this context aims at outsourcing design services such as flyers, banners, complimentary cards, ID cards, signboards, business brochures, etc.
Oftentimes, these services are done occasionally, therefore hiring a full-time staff can be costly.
Outsourcing graphic design service should be non-negotiable for you as a small business because it saves you a whole deal of stress. You don’t have to worry about the facilities and equipment such as computers and application packages needed to carry out this task.
Moreover, when you hire a freelance designer, you can be sure to get professional work. The freelancer will want to give you their best to earn your trust. Also, you have the choice of using the same designer or someone else if you feel the need to test something different. There are a whole lot of benefits attached to getting a graphic design support service and you shouldn’t think twice about enjoying it.
3. HR/People Management
One of the oldest business support services is the Human Resource (HR) Management. This is because there are many functions embedded in this role.
It spans across job analysis, staffing, organization, utilization of workforce, measurement and appraisal of workforce performance, implementation of reward systems for employees, professional development of workers, and maintenance of the workforce.
The different roles of the HR department are too broad in scope and complicated to be performed by an inexperienced person. And if you want to handle it yourself, you definitely will not find it easy combining these functions with making sustainable plans for your business.
The major advantage of getting a human resource support service is that it saves your business from different risks.
You, as an employer, obviously will be too busy to make research about laws guiding tax and labour employment laws.
Hence, you wouldn’t be able to develop a good employee Policies and Procedures (P&P) Manual according to the labour practices of the market you are in. Neither would you be able to structure employee’s compensation and benefits.
Incompetence in these two crucial aspects of HR management can be very detrimental to your business. It could be as bad as attracting costly lawsuits from employees or from the market you are in and you definitely don’t want that.
Other advantages of outsourcing human resource management are the provision of cost-effective services such as the provision of an efficient and productive workplace, employee, and organizational development.
Several companies perform this support service for small businesses at a reasonable price, all you need is to take advantage of them.
4. Document storage/Bookkeeping
As vital as this function is, it could be tasking and boring. This may also lead to procrastination. The good news is, you don’t have to do it. You can reach out to an organization that professionally provides file management service to get the work done at an affordable price.
Reality is, asides the cost of in-house staff, it is not advisable for you to hand over all your financial records to an employee. This could encourage workplace theft.
Also, the software that will be used to perform this task is quite costly. As a small business, incurring that wouldn’t be a wise step when you can outsource to organizations that do this at an affordable price for you.
5. Computer Support
Computers are very important tools that enable the smooth operation of a business in this 21st century. As much as you wouldn’t want any of the computers in your organization to break down, the reality is they are subjected to breakdown due to continuous usage.
- So, what do you do when your computer(s) needs an upgrade?
- What do you do when your computer(s) have technical issues?
- Do you get disturbed because you do not readily have contact with a technician that can help fix it quickly or you waste time trying to figure what went wrong?
- Do you have a support service that is a dial away?
Asides from system breakdown, other things are IT related that you might not know about or be too busy to perform on your computer. For example, there might be a new application that allows you to take inventory. Without a doubt, you will prefer this easy way of doing things than the traditional way.
As earlier mentioned, support services are one of the ways to help your small business to grow. Hiring a full time IT employee as a growing or small business can be very costly. Therefore, you need to outsource this role to companies whose area of expertise is IT related.
Here are some of the services provided by a computer support company:
- Installation of drive
- Fixing of computers
- System upgrade.
- Installation and upgrade of business applications
- Malware detection and removal amongst others.
Outsourcing computer support service will not only allow you to focus on your business but will also enable you to access the latest technologies and increase your productivity. This will also help you to detect and fix computer faults before they affect your business.
6. Auditing and Consulting
Performing an audit on your business yourself or assigning the task to one of your team members who have a different role from this can be very tedious. Moreover, your chances of getting an excellent job are very slim. Getting a support service for the role of hiring and consulting is very vital.
Asides benefiting from a professional touch, you can be sure that a thorough inspection will be carried out on your accounting system, documents, and invoices. Hence, you will be able to know where there are loopholes as regards finances and you can get help on how to make amendments.
In other words, you are able to strengthen the credibility of your company’s financial records. There is every possibility that you will overlook many things if you try to do this yourself. So, if you want transparency in your finances as a small business, it is advisable you get a support service for your audits.
7. Administrative Support
The administrative role often looks like a series of small tasks that one can manage as a small business owner. However, these small tasks can be time-consuming. You can get so engrossed in these tasks that you end up spending hours doing them.
Imagine using that same amount of time to develop your business. It will yield good returns, init? Getting administrative support affords you some extra time to focus on more important aspects of your business and be productive.
For example, if you decide to carry out the administrative function yourself, there are many things you will boycott to save time but if you get external help, they will want to impress you by rendering a top-notch service. Here are some services provided by organizations that give administrative support:
- Data Input
- Updating your customers’ database
- Organizing events or board meetings
- Arranging and marketing your workshops or seminars
- Diary and/or email management
- Arranging Travel (Business or Personal)
- Dealing with Correspondence
- Editing Documents or Reports
- Preparing Powerpoint Presentations
Just like graphic design, outsourcing photography projects of your small business is a very good idea. You get to access a professional service at a reasonable price.
You don’t have to purchase a camera or learn how to use one and there are many freelance photographers that are willing to offer you their best service.
9. Communication and designs (Content Marketing)
This is one of the foremost marketing strategies. Content has evolved to mean more than graphics and words on an organization’s website. It now involves social media pictures and captions, email marketing, slideshows, videos, infographics, podcasts, chatbots, etc.
Content creation is not just about posting some random pictures and writing what comes to your mind as a caption. You have to be able to catch the attention of your audience to generate engagement and patronage.
Content marketing is a full-time job and I can assure you that you would not get the best result if you do it without professionalism. Hence, you need to seek support from some professionals that can help you do this at an affordable price saving you time and energy. These people are skilled and well informed about the tools necessary to generate leads and drive sales.
10. Brand Consulting
There are organizations that can help you build your brand strategy and the implementation process.
Having a unique brand is very important for any business. Branding communicates your values to your customers, so it is not something to be overlooked.
Hiring in-house personnel for this job can be expensive because either you make designs in a month or not, the monthly wage must be paid.
Moreover, branding is not an everyday thing. Therefore, it is advisable to outsource this service to organizations that do it for small businesses.
11. Customer Service
As a small or growing business, making your customers feel special can be of great benefit to you than you know. You may be sceptical about this. You may be thinking, ‘how on Earth can I hand over my customer to a total stranger.’ I’m sure you will have a change of mind after reading this.
There is no doubt that your customers are an integral part of your business. However, there is every possibility that they might not be getting maximum satisfaction from your service because you or your few team members are combining many tasks.
However, when you outsource this service, you can be sure that someone is on standby to attend to your customers even beyond your working hours. Isn’t that wonderful?
Truth is that most companies that do this have a redundancy procedure in place. So there’s usually no worries about absence or breaks.
Besides, getting customer service support saves you the stress of acquiring facilities for smooth operations. You are certain about the availability of good equipment, facilities, and operations if you employ the service of a good customer service support company.
Moreover, such companies usually ensure that your customers are receiving the best service through quality assurance and performance metrics that are in place. So you don’t have to worry about trying to get this done by yourself.
12. Event planning
Organizing business events or socializing might look like a distraction to the main purpose of the business. However, a proper and strategic event can be of great benefit to your small business. Events can be a platform for networking, attracting new clients, sales increase, and other great stuff.
To have a great event, you must be ready to commit your time, money, and creativity because a successful event is a result of deliberate planning and organization.
As a small business, I bet you do not have this luxury of time, hence, a need to seek support from organizations that can help you with this. There are numerous advantages attached to getting this support service which include time management, stress management and budget management.
You do not get to start by buying the equipment needed for an event because most event agencies have suppliers that supply necessities to them at a cheap rate.
13. Your CV revamp
The more projects you carry out and awards you win, the more likely you are to lose track of them.
You might need to keep in touch with an organization that helps you to update your CV from time to time and send to you when needed.
You might also need to tweak it or rephrase some words to get a specific contract or project. They may also need to present it in a graphical or analytical way to achieve the aim of the revamp.
14. Web development
No matter how small your business is, you don’t need a bad website design that will bore your customers and reduce your reputation. Instead, you need a good website to convert readers to buyers and establish an online business. However, writing codes can be very tasking especially if you are not familiar with it.
Although there are platforms that allow you to create a website without having to write codes, however, for a business, it is advisable to have a reliable host for your website.
You can always seek a support service for this function. It is more cost-effective to do this than hire full-time staff.
Are you a sole trader or you have a team of people working for you? One function of your business you should outsource is accounting. Many firms of all sizes decide to outsource that function of their organization because it saves on the cost of hiring an in-house bookkeeper.
Another reason is for tax-saving purposes; external firms are more likely to keep abreast of the latest tax-saving ideas and solutions.
16. Inbound Call Handling
One of the reasons employees often lose track of time is when they have to stop their work to answer telephone calls. As good as mobile phones can be in business, if not used with caution, the results might be counterproductive.
Imagine how much of a productivity boost there would be if your staff were simply left to concentrate on their work instead?
There are two ways you can solve that problem. The first is by hiring a virtual receptionist. They can answer calls in your company’s name, deal with specific inquiries, and more.
If you run a large business, you could hire a firm that provides an inbound call centre full of trained staff ready to deal with your calls.
17. Social media management
If you are not very good at interacting with strangers and you don’t have a knack for social media, you might need someone to manage your social media pages or channels.
This might require you to train your social media manager about the tone you expect and the kind of contents you will like to see.
You surely need a big audience to make a good impact or pass information about your product. You can manage as many social media pages as possible with the help of these professionals.
18. Internet Marketing
All businesses need to promote themselves so they can grow and develop their brands. One of the most common ways of achieving that goal in the 21st century is through online advertising and marketing.
Did you know that outsourcing such activities to an external digital marketing agency isn’t as expensive as you might have anticipated? Plus, it means you don’t need to hire a team of creative marketers and pay for them to find out the latest marketing trends.
19. Product Photography
If you sell physical products, you want to ensure that you’ve got professionally taken photos. These are the type you can use online or in a printed format. Getting an employee to take photos of your products using their iPhone just isn’t going to work.
You should outsource that function to a professional photography firm. In particular, one that specializes in product photography. Your investment in such outsourcing will pay dividends, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t consider doing that sooner.
Setting up a business can be very demanding. It involves a whole lot of planning, execution, and sometimes, adjustments. There are a thousand and one things to be executed.
It will be unwise to try doing everything by yourself. This will not only lead to more errors, but you will eventually break down from entrepreneurial stress. Although trying to manage everything by yourself or with your small staff strength might seem cost-effective, the reality is that you will spend more this way.
This is because it is not your area of expertise and you will continue to make mistakes by recruiting the wrong people or delegating core responsibilities to the least competent.
On the other hand, when you outsource, you will get the right value and expertise for what you have paid for and save time and resources.
In summary, getting support services when needed helps you focus on efficiency amongst other benefits.
I hope this helps you to get your business running smoothly and flying soon. 😉 Kindly share your comments below.