Starting up a business requires a lot of work, from securing funding to rolling out a product to marketing it to the world. But an entrepreneur also has plenty of opportunities to outsource various startup-related tasks and projects, freeing him or her up to focus on getting the business up, operational, and churning a healthy profit. Here, we provide a list of 25 entrepreneurial outsourcing opportunities. Check it out — and let us know your suggestions.
- Business Plans: Once you’ve got all the information together for your business plan, you can bring a business plan writer in to handle transforming all those numbers into an actual plan. As an added bonus, a professionally written business plan can be an advantage if you’re looking for funding.
- Finding A Mentor: Mentors can help you through the process of starting up a business, and you can arrange for SCORE to help you find a mentor in your area immediately.
- Payroll: Running payroll can be a major hassle if your business has a small staff. Handing the whole problem over to a payroll service can simplify your accounting and even decrease the cost of handling it yourself.
- Manage Projects: If you can’t afford to hire a part- or full-time project manager, there are a number of web applications that can minimize the effort needed to manage a project and share information. Basecamp is one of the best known options.
- Hire Employees: If you aren’t ready to hire employees on your own, or you don’t yet have enough work for a full-time employee, using a virtual assistant agency or a staffing agency can eliminate most of the paperwork of bringing someone in on a limited basis.
- Incorporate: You can complete all of the forms necessary to incorporate or otherwise set up a business on your own, or you can outsource those tasks to companies like BizFilings or LegalZoom. There are plenty of opportunities for problems to creep in, however, so using a lawyer who specializes in establishing businesses can save you money down the road.
- Licensing: While you’re working with your lawyer to complete your incorporation, it’s worth checking if there are any licenses or permits your business needs. Depending on the state, your lawyer may be able to smooth out those procedures.
- Office Or Retail Space: Whether you’re buying or renting space in which to set up your business, the process can be extremely time-consuming. Luckily, there are variety of real estate professionals, from real estate agents to commercial leasing agents, that can handle the needs of your business and find you the right space.
- Insurance: Depending on your business, there may be several different types of insurance you need, from insurance on company vehicles to workers comp. Finding an insurance broker who can handle all of your insurance needs can make those projects a snap.
- Intellectual Property: If you need to register a trademark or another piece of intellectual property, like a copyright or patent, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property can complete the necessary paperwork in a fraction of the amount of time it would take you. You can also use LegalZoom to file trademarks for you.
- Taxes: There are many tax-related tasks and projects you can outsource, from actually doing your tax returns to sorting your receipts. Considering that a business’ taxes are more complicated than a personal return, it’s worth taking that step.
- Invoicing: Tracking who’s paid their invoices, along with which ones you’ve remembered to send out, can be a struggle. Using a web application, like Blinksale, can make it easy to check your invoices from anywhere.
- Manage Client Leads: Keeping the details straight between even a handful of client leads can be a struggle. There are many software options meant to manage leads, but Salesforce is considered one of the best.
- Blog: Blogging has rapidly become a key element of marketing, especially in a startup without a big advertising budget. You can find a blogger-for-hire to write about your company’s progress — start with our list of freelance writers you can outsource your blog content to. You can also get a blogger to handle your social networking needs, like Facebook and Twitter.
- Annual Reports: Depending on the structure of your business, you may be legally required to create an annual report. You can outsource the project to a writer — often, you can find one able to handle formatting your report into an attractive package as well.
- E-commerce: Setting up a website, along with a way to sell your products and service online, can be fairly technical. So why not hand it all off to a professional web developer with e-commerce experience?
- Financing: From applying for an SBA small business loan to approaching larger backers, you can find consultants ready to do most of the heavy lifting. Business.com maintains a list of venture capital consultants that can serve as a starting point.
- Buying A Business: Rather than starting your own business from scratch, you can also choose to buy an existing business (or you may decide to sell your own business down the road). To do so, you should work through an attorney who specializes in such sales, both to reduce your workload and to protect your investment.
- Marketing: Putting together a marketing plan for a startup can be a fairly specialized skill set — there are certain marketing approaches that work better with startups than others. Bring in a consultant who already has that information, rather than spending all your time on research.
- Cleaning: If you’re working on putting together big deals for your company, you shouldn’t be trying to clean the office at the same time. Even a basic cleaning service can send someone around to empty the wastebaskets and vacuum on a regular basis.
- IT Support: If something goes wrong with your computer system, it’s a big deal — but you’re probably not ready to bring in a full-fledged IT team for that sort of situation. Instead, you can set up a relationship with a local computer repair company. If something does go wrong, you’ll know immediately who to call.
- Manufacturing A Product: The specifics of getting your product manufactured vary greatly between different types of products, but there are consultants who work specialize in different types of products. Working with such a consultant allows you to benefit from her expertise with a particular manufacturing method.
- Affiliate Marketing: A popular way of selling products online is affiliate marketing — you can get thousands of websites to market your products in exchange for a percentage of the profits. Most affiliate marketing programs, like E-Junkie, will walk you through getting set up, but outsourcing to an affiliate program manager will get the entire project off your plate.
- Bookkeeping: Handing your receipts and invoices over to a bookkeeper can not only free up some hours, but it can also get paperwork off your desk. You’ll need to make some decisions to get things started, like what accounting method you’re using, but a good bookkeeper can take it from there.
- Grand Opening: While you’re busy getting the business going, you can hand over the project of arranging for a grand opening to a professional event planner. Any other events on your calendar can also go to someone who already has experience with putting together a great event that matches a budget.
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