Many small business owners want to handle every aspect of their company for the satisfaction of knowing everything that is going on with sales, production, customer service, money, etc. The idea of having an external company or employee handle all major financial aspects of a personal company is what turns away most small business owners from outsourcing. However, outsourcing is a great method for handling accounting tasks that small businesses should utilize. By hiring a company that employees fully trained accountants that specialize in small business accounting to handle some of, if not all of your accounting tasks, small businesses are able to focus more on their core competencies.Advantages of OutsourcingIn the article, The Benefits of Outsourcing for Small Businesses, the New York Times lists seven benefits to small companies when they use outsourcing firms. Those benefits are; control capital costs, increase efficiency, reduce labor costs, start new projects quickly, focus on your core business, level the playing field, and reduce risk.Control Capital Costs: According to a survey of key business decision-makers by InfoTrends, outsourcing is 60 % more effective in controlling capital costs than if a small business were to handle them internally. This means that small businesses are saving money, which is a positive factor in these difficult economic times.Increase Efficiency & Reduce Labor Costs: By allowing a skilled company to handle all accounting tasks, small business are able to focus on major/new projects, core competencies, employee relations, and all other aspects of the company the will increase productivity, customer relations, and sales. As well as decrease costs because training new employees to handle accounting tasks or paying a big overall fee to an accountant is more time consuming and expensive than outsourcing.Start new projects quickly & Focus on Core Business: Outsourcing companies are trained to handle multiple tasks. By using an external company to handle accounting tasks, small companies are able to utilize their internal employees to focus on and start new projects with out worrying about the financial aspect. Also, companies would be able to focus solely on their products, services, and customers by not having to worry about financial situations.Level the Playing Field & Reduce Risk: Because of the increased focus on the actual business products, services and customers, small companies would gain a competitive advantage over other small firms and would also be able to compete with larger firms. Outsourcing companies are trained to analyze risk, they know all of the rules and regulations and are aware of when changes are made. As a small business owner, it is easy to mis-manage risk and over look changes in regulations and rules when focusing on other aspects of the company. By handing accounts over to an outsourcing company, risk is one major aspect that small business owners do not have to fully focus on or worry about.By relieving the financial stress and risk through outsourcing, small businesses are able to focus on their products and service, which ultimately help their profit, competitive advantage, and capital costs. According to a BusinessWeek article, What You Need to Know About Outsourcing Now, “Outsourcing a business service can sometimes cut costs in half, and successfully outsourcing manufacturing can save even more.” Small business should take advantage of outsourcing firms, not only to focus on their core competencies but also to reduce financial pressure and cut costs.
Small business websiteSmall Business Website – It is very easy to decide that having a small business website is going to be a profitable addition to your existing business, but many small business owners are underestimating the development cost’s and also the function of the content that is required on the site to fulfill the visitors user experience.Having knowledge of the basic components that your site needs in order to generate sales and entice repeat visits is very much recommended, please take note of the 6 essential functions your small business website must haves.1. Easy Navigation.When a visitor lands on your site, the ease in which they are able to navigate around your site is an essential component for their user experience. You may have the best looking site ever with the most amazing products available BUT if the visitor/potential customer has difficulty in finding what they want then your small business website is not performing it’s function. Make sure to have a Search Box that is clearly visible and that actually works. Don’t build your site using Flash.Most small business website owners want the latest technologies and thrills as a way to defy the norm, but in this instance, building a Flash site makes the site slow and incredibly difficult for the visitor to control their own experience.Make sure your links are clear and precise. Don’t make the links so small that they cant be easily seen or would require a magnifying glass to be found. The visitor of your small business website should not have to be a rocket scientist to navigate around your site – make everything clear and simple to use.2. Tell them what to do.Now I’m not sure as to why, but most new small business website owners are unable to recognize the most simplest of facts, ‘you must tell the visitor what you want them to do’! Is it that they assume the visitor knows what they are doing? Is it ignorance?I don’t know but either way, we must provide a clear path of action for the visitor to follow.Your local supermarket doesn’t dump all of it’s products in the middle of the store and then hope that everyone can find what they are looking for, they strategize about where everything goes including what goes on what isle and what isle sits alongside the other.The reason being that by providing a clear call of action (route) and easy navigation the customer is much more likely to do what you want them too.If you want them to sign up to your Newsletter, make it easy for them to do so and tell them to do it ‘Please sign up to our Newsletter’ – if you want them to purchase goods from you, make it a simple process and make it clear about how to purchase, ask them ‘Please Buy Now’ remembering to get rid of any distractions that may deter them from doing as you would like.The biggest mistake most small business website owners have is assuming that the visitor is an experienced one. Keep it clear and simple and don’t be afraid to ask.3. Attractive content.In today’s technologically advanced state, the only real difference between your site, your competitors site and the guy down the road is the quality of the content. Producing content that adds value to the reader is essential for boosting your small business website.So what would be considered as attractive/quality content?The bottom line is this…Anything that adds value to the lives of your visitor! This may take on may forms such as Articles, the latest news updates, e-books and How to guides, videos or even downloadable content – what ever it is that you feel will add some value to the lives of your visitor’s you should provide and highlight for them.For any small business website it is critical that you highlight your best content as much as you can, remember…by bringing attention to your best content you are bringing attention to the best parts of your brand!4. Get a blog.There is no better way to gain more attention to your small business website than to start a blog. Your blog will essentially be your company voice that adds a huge amount of personality to your business.Visitors want to know that there is a real person associated with your site, a person they can interact with, talk to, share information, start conversations with and importantly…share links with. Most small business website owners don’t believe that a blog is an essential tool in your marketing, but they are very wrong.Your blog is what creates a difference between you and everyone else – so use it to get ahead. You can write about anything in your blog from what you have been up to, important announcements and even the latest industry news.As long as you make it appealing to your visitors/customers and give them something of value, you should have a regular following in no time.5. Reviews/Testimonials.There was a time when displaying your reviews/testimonials was a way in which to add visual credibility to your small business website offerings, but much has changed in 2011 mainly thanks to Google.With the release of Google Places and Google Hotspot and with the fact that Google now places your reviews next to your business listings, it is even more important to take a pro-active approach and make it part of your plan to gain more reviews.Obtaining reviews is something that is very often overlooked as being not very important, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.So get reviews as often as you can and don’t forget to USE THEM. See our article dedicated to Testimonials here.6. Contact Information.Having your full range of contact details available on your small business website is another simple way to add the necessary credibility that all businesses should have, and one that is often over looked.You should clearly display your land based address, phone number and obviously email address but also make clear all of your Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked in etc.All of these avenues of contact help in the process of adding ease when a visitor/customer wants to contact you – and this is vital.Providing many points of contact also increases your search engine optimization as the Google spiders are able to pin point your location and improve your rankings for local listings.By implementing the above attributes to your small business website whether your new to online business or not is a must in order to provide the best user experience that you can and they are FREE to implement – nothing above actually cost’s anything.Don’t neglect the constant attention that is needed to your site as an online business is essentially a completely separate operation from your existing land based business.They are of the same brand but are a different entity altogether – and should be treated accordingly. Remember that your business is not about you…it is about your customers and your potential customers.