Let Your Bootstrapped Business Take Off by Outsourcing These Tasks
We’ve heard the stories of how entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg turned their bootstrapped businesses into global giants whose products and services changed the way we live forever. They may sound like fairy tale stories, but if you look at them closely, it is not impossible to replicate the success of these innovators. All you need is vision, strategy, a sprinkle of luck, and a little help that may come in the form of outsourcing.
The concept of outsourcing has evolved over the years. If a couple of decades ago, outsourcing was a strategy accessible only to industry giants, today’s technologies and modernized systems have made it possible for startups and medium-sized companies to take advantage of this business solution. And if you are a budding entrepreneur bold enough to take on bootstrapping your business, outsourcing may be one of the best strategies you can adopt to take it to the next level.
Bootstrapping is when an entrepreneur puts up a business from scratch, usually with very little capital, usually relying heavily on revenues and personal finances instead of outside money. While it sounds a little bit daunting, bootstrapping has a lot of advantages, which include huge gains upon the moment of success, owning the rights to the whole business concept, and the prospect of turning one’s own vision into reality independent from the opinion of other investors.
There are three main phases of bootstrapping. At first, a bootstrapped business begins to run with personal finances with the founder usually working hands-on with the pioneering staff. After this, revenues will come in and the business will depend on these funds to continue operations. As the demand increases, the bootstrapped business enters a “credit stage,” where the bootstrapper would try to take out loans or find venture capital to hire more staff, upgrade equipment, and expand.
In order to really take off, a bootstrapped business must make innovations to meet the constantly evolving demands of the market and withstand competition. The most successful bootstrappers, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world, have effectively framed their products and services as actual everyday needs, and not just some luxury you can buy and flaunt to your friends. Imagine a world where Microsoft or Apple products don’t exist? Imagine today’s world without Facebook?
Outsourcing: The perfect partner for bootstrapping
It is easy to imagine success, especially if you are an entrepreneur with a strong vision, but you must put in the hard work. For one, building a business from scratch would need expertise in a myriad of functions, which a bootstrapper usually lacks. There is also a need for bootstrapped businesses to be flexible in scaling up, especially in the beginning when sudden surges in demand can arise. There would also be a need to reduce overhead costs to make way for the expenses you would need to grow.
Outsourcing can be helpful in the early challenges of bootstrapping and could really give you headway when it comes to competition. For example, a bootstrapper can leverage the experience and expertise of offshore talent to handle certain business tasks where he lacks proficiency. With an outsourced team of professionals handling important parts of the business, the founder can focus on activities with a direct impact on the company’s growth.
The bonus that comes with outsourcing is the huge cost savings as providers source certified professionals from countries with deep talent pools and lower labour costs. If you are a bootstrapper interested in outsourcing certain business functions, here are 4 essential tasks that would definitely take your company to the next level.
Accounting and bookkeeping
When you are out and starting a company from scratch, it is crucial for you to monitor all the finances to avoid deficits. As a bootstrapper, it would be hard for you to check on the books and manage the business all at the same time. Accounting errors can be costly and could result in negative cash flow. While having a small in-house accounting team can help, it does not have the flexibility an outsourced team offers, which is sorely needed when you expect increasing customer demands.
Modern outsourcing models allow you to scale up and down when you need it, which is crucial in getting your bootstrapped business ready for growth. Moreover, outsourcing providers can give you certified accountants with experience, expertise, and knowledge of the latest accounting tools to help you keep track of your finances properly – something you cannot do on your own. By outsourcing, you also get access to top-notch accounting software which can be expensive for a startup business.
Word of mouth can be helpful, but nothing beats a sound marketing strategy. But as a founder of a bootstrapped business with limited manpower, there is a tendency to put off marketing strategies and prioritize other aspects of the business just because you do not have enough time and resources. This inevitably delays growth, which is a no-no especially when you can leverage global talent for your marketing needs by outsourcing.
The right outsourcing partner can help you build a team of marketing professionals, from starting to manager roles, which in turn can help you create effective brand messaging and distribute them to different platforms. With just a fraction of the cost, you can outsource SEO specialists, copywriters, content creators, lead editors, graphic artists, creative directors, marketing managers, and more, and see how far your marketing efforts go.
Growth may come quickly for any bootstrapped business, especially when the word is out about your products. If you are not ready for it, you may wake up one day with a thousand and one queries on your email and social media accounts, while your one and only company phone keeps on ringing endlessly. Worse, since you do not have enough manpower to answer all the queries, customers may end up passing on your product or turning to your rivals.
But by outsourcing support, you get a team of experienced professionals supported by proper tools and infrastructure to respond to every customer query. The good thing with outsourcing is you can always start small, probably one for every channel, with the option to expand when there is a sudden surge of queries on a certain platform. Outsourcing customer support will ensure that your brand is always available for your customers no matter where they are.
IT and technology
Let’s face it. We already live in the digital age and adopting a digital-first approach is the way to go if you want your business to succeed. The problem is adopting a digital-first model would need a secure and robust IT infrastructure, which can be too costly for bootstrappers. Without a sturdy IT infrastructure, the risk of data security breach is high, and other tech issues can slow the growth of any business.
Smarter business leaders, however, leverage outsourcing to take care of a myriad of IT functions, such as help desks, software development, data center operations, network management and operations, disaster recovery, and more. Outsourcing providers are even able to provide whole IT infrastructures that can help any bootstrapped business take off.
With outsourcing providers following modern models, the possibility of outsourcing other roles is big. You only have to look hard at the needs, pain points, and goals of your bootstrapped business and look for a partner that can provide the specific solutions you need. Remember, no business is too small or too big for outsourcing. It is a strategy that can help you from your humble beginnings through your major growth points.