Automating vs. Outsourcing – Two Great Options to Save Your Business Time and Money
By Dr. Teresa R. Martin, Esq.
Small business owners often forget that they don't have to do everything themselves. Especially in this day and age where much of what we do is online, you can find many ways to get things done without actually doing them yourself. Automating and outsourcing allow you to whittle down your list of daily things to do.
Automation – Let a Software Program Handle It
Automation means relegating a certain task to a software program. There are many daily business tasks that can be automated, leaving you free to do other things.
One example is managing email lists. If you had to manage your email list manually, send all messages in real time, and perform your own analysis of the results, it would be overwhelming. Email marketers use a type of program called an autoresponder to automate nearly every aspect of email marketing.
Another example of automation is Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a feature of search engine Google that notifies you whenever selected keywords or phrases appear online. If you want to know whenever your business's name is mentioned somewhere online, you'd have to constantly perform web searches. Google Alerts does this for you.
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Outsourcing – Find Somebody Else to Do It
Outsourcing means looking for help outside of your company for work-related tasks. This used to be something associated only with big companies, who would outsource things like manufacturing, bookkeeping and data entry. But with the internet today, which brings the entire world's workforce to your computer screen, it's easy for any business no matter how small to outsource.
Nearly any aspect of a business can be outsourced, but the easiest are the mundane daily tasks that drain away your valuable time. You can hire someone to do your data entry, perform routine SEO or social media tasks, organize your inbox, update your website, and many other tasks.
Many companies hire outside for skilled work that they're not able to do or not able to make time for. You can hire a designer to make your logo, a writer to write your content, or a programmer to create your app.
Which Is Better – Automation or Outsourcing?
Automation and outsourcing both have their uses. If you have a task that can be automated, it's easier, quicker and simpler than outsourcing. However, there are some tasks that, no matter how easy, require a human being. For these, you need to outsource.
If you've never outsourced before, it takes a bit of investment in time and resources to get started. But this investment can pay off considerably by saving you time and can also allow your business to grow.