To start a new business is often to follow a passion but the sudden reality can be that passion must take a back seat when the realities of running a business hit home. One of the challenges that occurs is business admin – and what soon follows is the need to reduce admin to remain productive.
According to a report Sage carried out on business admin and how it affects firms, we found smaller businesses in the UK estimate they spend 71 days undertaking administration tasks. That’s more than 14 working weeks, or around three months.
However, UK businesses might pity their US counterparts who, according to the same report, estimate they spend 266 days per year on admin. In the US, a working year is considered to typically contain 260 days, so somehow those businesses are spending more than an actual working year on admin tasks.
What’s the solution to reduce admin and have more time to work on growing your business? Regardless of their size, most successful businesses use two different yet effective solutions.
The first is to outsource and the second is to make use of cloud computing, which might be said to be the most important computing revolution after the desktop computing revolution in the 1980s and the internet revolution of the 1990s.
The thought of implementing these within your business might fill you with dread but the truth is neither needs to be a headache. Here’s some tips on how to get started.
To reduce admin, try outsourcing
It might sound glib but a simple way to reduce your admin headache is to have somebody else do the work – and this is the fundamental principle behind outsourcing. Although the word has become synonymous with certain kinds of functions, such as IT, just about any function of a business can be outsourced.
Here are the first steps you should take when considering outsourcing.
Spend a little time making sure you understand and can encapsulate in writing what task(s) you want to outsource – and how much of that task you’d like to outsource, as well as the degree of automation you’d like to hand off.
For example, a growing business might want to outsource its human resources management but you might decide you still want weekly activity reports and may still want to retain control over running the payroll. You might want to outsource your accounting to a bookkeeper but still retain control over a degree of your sales expenditure accounting.
It’s extremely likely you’ll need to transfer your existing data and knowledge to the outsourcing third party. There’s really no way of getting around this so you’ll need to budget time upfront to do so.
If outsourcing bookkeeping, for example, you might need to set aside time to get your accounts into order, plus a little extra time to take your accountant or bookkeeper through them for ease of understanding.
Don’t forget that for large outsourcing jobs, you might need to have a lawyer prepare contracts in advance, something that can be a hidden cost that needs to be added in when budgeting.
Locate, research and hire
There are a number of options for finding people or third parties to whom you can outsource but this can present obvious dangers when utilising people or companies who you haven’t worked with before, or who are overseas so potentially outside easy legal redress (outsourcing overseas is known as offshoring).
To avoid issues, you might ask for recommendations from your peers, or even ask the firm or individual you’re considering using if they have any references you can see, or previous clients you can contact for references.
To read the full article from Sage Accounting software including how to use cloud computing to reduce your admin, click here (5 minute read).
If you're ready to start 2019 with the aim of growing your business, outsourcing could be the perfect solution. By utilising a scalable remote workforce such as SmartPA, you can manage costs alongside demand and have access to our global support team. Speak to a member of our team today to start working smarter.