HR & Management

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Insource, outsource or recruit? Growing a team on a tight budget

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However, when you are starting out or at the early stages of your business growth journey and budgets are tight, making the commitment to take on an additional full-time person can be daunting for a number of reasons:

  1. You suddenly feel the burden of another person’s mortgage as your payroll cost continues to expand.
  2. Depending on your margins and profitability, increasing headcount can significantly squeeze cashflow in the short-term
  3. The range of support and skill sets you actually need as you scale can be very broad. Therefore, finding someone who can operate at both a strategic level – helping write your sales & marketing strategy, for example – as well as do the nitty gritty on a day-to-day basis and actually be bothered to schedule tweets and respond to comment on social media, write marketing copy, build and execute digital campaigns, as well as make sales calls, write proposals and so on, can make it extremely challenging to find the combined skill set and experience you require in one single person.

However, understanding that, in order to achieve your growth potential, you must continue to surround yourself with the very best talent, how can overcome these team growth challenges. You have three options. Insource, Outsource or Recruit.

1. Insource

Insourcing simply means finding the extra resource needed from some slack elsewhere in the business. Are your current team using their skills to focus on the tasks and areas of the business they perform best in?

We all know people do well when they’re passionate. So what tasks and responsibilities have your team taken on, either through organic change or simply because there was nobody else available to do that task previously?

Ask your team to do a time and task audit to truly understand where they currently spend their time. Use time management software such as minutedoc.com to help you.

Once reviewed you may find that by swapping tasks around within the team, or eradicating tasks that are no longer useful (some legacy reporting may fall into this category) you can release some resource internally.

Finally, what can be automated to release resource and increase productivity? Find ways to automate or systemize regular tasks, so that they take the minimum amount of time as possible.

You may even identify some tasks that should be outsourced, as they can be performed more efficiently if given to someone outside of the business currently.

2. Outsource

Using specialized outsourced suppliers can be a really great way to increase your team capacity, without the risk of additional head count.

The explosion in the freelance/consultant marketplace combined with increased connectivity has meant that the ‘lean’ workplace model is available to many growing businesses to consider, i.e. no bricks and mortar, everyone working from different locations but all connected virtually. 

However this model does not come without its own challenges, therefore:

  • Make sure to check out a potential outsources credentials, especially if using a freelance market place such as elance.com or odesk.com. Ask to speak to a couple of their clients or start with a trial project and grow the relationship from there.
  • Also when going out to the market, gain more than one (we advise three) quotes so you can price compare.
  • Retainers and service level agreements are necessary to give you some security of the level and quality of supply you can expect. If contracting on an hourly basis, always agree a lower level of hours with the flexibility to increase on a month by month basis, to reduce your risk in outlay but allow for increased capacity when you need it.
  • If contracting on an hourly basis, ensure you have visibility of verified timesheets to back up invoice costs.
  • However, good outsourcing does allow you the ability to hire ‘expert’ specialized, or even lower skilled but cost effective support for a couple of days a month or a couple of hours a week.

Next: How to outsource well, and come up with an effective recruitment strategy

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