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Should I Outsource My Business Back-Office?

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Outsourcing is often an excellent time save and money save for small and medium businesses. If you’re on a tighter budget than larger corporations, you need to find any way you can to run your business efficiently without wasting time or valuable funds. Many smaller companies have less manpower and aren’t able to use the resources they need to run a comprehensive enterprise with different departments and employees for each factor of their business. Outsourcing makes it easier to get things done without spending money on permanent employees or expensive solutions. However, you might be wondering whether outsourcing is the right choice for your business.

Outsourcing your business back-office might save you time and money, and there are various other benefits too. Before you look into outsourcing, see how it could benefit your company and the tasks you could outsource for a more efficient operation.

Save Money

One of the best benefits of outsourcing your business’s back-office is the money you can save. Some businesses start off having one person dedicate all their time to doing one particular task, whether it’s answering the phone or handling invoices. But this can get expensive, and you can’t always afford to pay for a permanent employee who could perhaps be better off doing something else with their time. Outsourcing often makes it cheaper to get things done because it offers a flexible solution. You only pay for what you need, and all the resources required are set up and ready to go.

Save Time

Another prominent benefit of using outsourcing services is that it can save your business a lot of time. You don’t have to redirect an existing employee to spend all their time completing a particular task, leaving them free to do what you hired them for. You won’t have to spend your time working on back-office tasks when you could be much more useful working on growing your business. You could reduce the need to work constantly on one thing down to a day’s work for your team. For example, some outsourcing services can provide the software and services you need to make it easier to track sales tax or manage your telecoms system.

Protect Your Business

Outsourcing can be vital for some tasks. If you want to ensure that everything runs smoothly and within the law, choosing to outsource can make it much easier. For example, outsourcing human resources, regulatory compliance, or legal work can all help to protect your company. As a small or medium business, you likely can’t afford to have a lawyer employed for you full time or on retainer. Outsourcing any legal issues you need to sort out will make sure you don’t get into any trouble while saving you time and money. Some industries can require a lot of work to ensure your business complies with regulations and standards and outsourcing can help to make it easier.

Access Skilled Workers

Choosing to outsource parts of your back-office gives you immediate access to skilled workers who know what they’re doing. There’s no need to spend time and money recruiting employees and trying to find the perfect match for your company. While you need to get the right outsourcing service, it will come complete with workers who have already been vetted to ensure they can do their job well.

Improve Accuracy and Consistency

Having all those skilled workers at your disposal means that you can ensure excellent quality. The job will get done right the first time, with professional results every time. You can make sure you receive a consistent service too, and you have the benefit of the outsourced service checking its own work to ensure quality. If you’re unhappy with the service you receive, it’s also easier to look for a new outsourcer than it would be to replace an employee.

Increased Organisation

Outsourcing will often help to make a business more organised and easier to manage. There are many tasks you might struggle to keep organised or that you require members of staff to spend their valuable time completing. With outsourcing, you can get it all sorted out without you or any of your permanent employees having to do anything. You can also ensure you have practical solutions to problems you were previously struggling to work around. For example, if you outsource your accounts, all you need to do is send them all the information they need. You can remain hands-off for the most part.

Is Outsourcing Right for Your Company?

There can be some drawbacks to outsourcing your back-office, so it’s important to decide if it’s right for your business. For example, you might be concerned about other services having access to confidential information or about coordinating services so that you can meet deadlines and targets. You can weigh up the benefits and the potential disadvantages to decide if outsourcing is the right choice. For some tasks, you might prefer to have one person dedicated to your company who can really understand your values and approach.

Back-office Tasks to Outsource

There are many different back-office tasks your business can outsource. It all depends on what sort of support services you need and where you think you could benefit from outsourcing the most. Consider some of these tasks to make the most of outsourcing:

Accounting – There is a wide range of accounting tasks that can be incredibly time-consuming, where accuracy is essential. Outsourcing makes it much easier to manage.
Payroll – Managing the taxes and regulations surrounding payroll is easier with outsourcing.
Social media – Social media is now a prominent form of marketing, but it can be very time-consuming. Outsourcing its management makes it easier to be more responsive to customers.
Telecommunication – Various telecommunications services can be outsourced to improve customer services and to make your office more organised. Having a service that forwards calls and takes messages is very convenient.
Content – Content marketing is also a major player in the marketing world today. Outsourcing it saves a lot of time and money on its creation and distribution.

Outsourcing your business back-office can have many benefits to your company. As well as saving time and money, you can improve efficiency and quality within your business.

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3 Terrific Niche Brands To Watch In 2020

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Some successful businesses operate in very crowded marketplaces. For example, Amazon’s offering is as broad and deep as the river it borrows its name from – and since it isn’t the only operator in the online shopping stakes, it has differentiated itself through the speed of delivery and responsive customer service.

At the opposite end of the scale are organizations that are incredibly specialist in their offerings. With USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) being founded on products and services that are niche and in a league of their own, i.e. without competitors.

However, to survive in business, niche operators have to strike a fine balance between adapting their range sufficiently to cater to changing tastes and that of diluting their offerings so much that they no longer can claim a different category or point of different i.e. they’re now regarded as generalists.

There are specialists who manage this balancing act brilliantly – so if you’re in the same boat, with a niche business, you can learn a thing or two from for the successes of proven brands. With that in mind, here are three terrific niche brands to watch in 2020.

McCallum Bagpipes

Few people of Scottish extraction can hear ‘the skirl of the pipes’ without the hairs on the back of their necks standing up and the blood surging furiously around their tartan hearts.
And don’t forget that it’s not just people in Scotland who love bagpipe music – there are bagpipers in immigrant communities of Scots all around the world.

Scottish music specialists McCallum Bagpipes are more than happy to serve this niche market with the beautiful artisan pipes they craft in their Kilmarnock factory before shipping them far and wide.
With an informative website, snazzy showroom and modern manufacturing techniques, this is one traditional business that’s moved with the times.

Albert Thurston

In any industry, technological advances and changing tastes mean that some products inevitably become obsolete. However, with the gentleman’s fashion accessories gurus, Albert Thurston, they’ve bucked the trend, and kept their products in demand, because their braces and sock suspenders have providence. Consumers want to be associated with the brand that has been proudly manufacturing quality garments since 1820.

Albert Thurston is enjoying a resurgence, perhaps thanks in part to the plethora of retro TV shows and longstanding movie series regularly hitting small and silver screens. If you happen to be a fan of Peaky Blinders or James Bond and you believe that classic accessories never go out of style, you’re probably a dedicated follower of this type of heritage brand.

Ormiston Wire

When canny Scotsman James Ormiston first started selling spring wire for wigs and corsets in London in 1793, he surely couldn’t have predicted that today, wire specialists Ormiston Wire would still be thriving as an innovative family-owned business.

Wigs aren’t part of their current product offering, but this age-old business has survived by diversifying into everything from catenary wire for architectural installations to the fine wire for TV puppets. Through adapting the same core material to the needs of diverse markets, Ormiston has steered a steady ship for generations.

Take a leaf from the business books of these three brands and your own startup might still be serving customers a couple of centuries from now – with the right approach, carving yourself a niche can still be a recipe for success.

That’s our list! There are many more successful brands that stay true to their category and avoid diversifying as a catch-all strategy to grow sales and revenue. Staying niche and small is often a better strategy for the longevity of a brand. Share your own niche business advice in the comments section.

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Why Gold: Our Top 3 Tips

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Gold has always been popular and it’s where many investors today put their money during tough economic times. In fact if you see the price of gold going up dramatically it could be a indication of tough times ahead.

Buying and selling gold is a favourite pastime of hobbyists and of course it’s also a business with thousands of product and service suppliers around the world making their way in the business world via their expertise in the dealings of the precious metal.

So if you’re keen to invest in gold, you’ll need to know the ins and outs and not get too carried away with the romance of it all. It’s easy to lose your hard earned funds through ignorance and bad investment strategies.

Investing in gold over the long term is considered a low risk strategy so it’s not going to get your rich quick. Here’s some tips before you dip your toe in the yellow stuff.

Investment Risk Profile

Seek to understand then to be understood as Dr Stephen Covey says from his ‘7 habits of highly successful people’.

Wherever you start out, seek to learn first and take action second. Your goal is to learn all you can about your investment risk profile which is essentially the trade off of risk versus profit. Once you know if you’re high risk, medium or low risk you can then take the appropriate steps to invest.

Many investors that prefer other asset classes like real estate also invest in gold and shares. Real Estate investing also has it’s low risk and high risk strategies so if you’re already a real estate investor you’ve got some transferrable skills and you’ll be aware of your underlying risk profile. You’ll also know that to do well in any investment or business it takes time – lots of it.

Avoid Naivety

The saying: an overnight success takes 10 years is spot on. There really is a sequence of events and even though we can learn from the mistakes of others, it actually takes time to learn of the mistakes of others! So hold back, don’t naively jump in and take unnecessary risks.

There’s another saying: if it sounds to good to be true it is.

Like any any industry and business, there are always scammers and rogue buyers to watch out for. You’ll want to know how to safely buy and sell gold. There will be some interesting stories online re. scammers and foul play and it’s heartbreaking to learn of other’s misfortunes but there’s a lesson in it for you. Knowing the types of scams, and cyberattacks is all part of lowering the risk to you and your investments.

Look Before You Cross The Road

It may be an odd title for this section but there’s a reason for it. Too often – fools rush in before they’re ready so research, read books, join discussion forums, sign up for newsletters, you need to do the lot. Plus you’ll need to get professional advice from your investment advisor, lawyer and accountant.

Remember you can never know too much about an industry especially when you’re investing it and learning never stops. There’s always new strategies and different conditions that can make or break economies and living in a global economy as we all do today means we can be forewarned by events before they actually hit us in the pocket and that’s way you’ve always got to stay on top of your game.

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Why Its Important To Engage An Accountant ASAP When Starting A Business

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Many business owners forget about using the services of professionals that could be beneficial to their business such as lawyers and accountants. Instead, they head into the business world at full speed without even a passing thought towards the possibilities that services like this offer. They do this for a few reasons. Arguably one of the major considerations is financial. Business owners can’t help but see an accountant as another paycheck or bill that they need to cover. As well as this, they rarely understand the important role an individual like this can fill in their company. You shouldn’t make the same mistake. Instead, you should learn how an accountant could benefit your company and put it in a stronger position. However, before we look at the benefits, it’s interesting to examine when you should hire an accountant.

Day One Or In Time For Delegation?

There are two options to consider when deciding on the right time to hire an accountant. You can hire from day one at the starting point of your company. This makes a lot of sense as there are many jobs in that first year that will be a lot easier with a trained accountant at your side.

For instance, you will be putting together your business plan, decided what funds and resources to invest where. An accountant can help you make the right choices here and advise you on how to use your capital in the most effective ways. With access to financial software, an accountant will also be able to help you understand projections about the future of your company. The benefit of getting a service like this early on is that you can avoid making mistakes with financial planning that need to be corrected by an accountant later on. Essentially, an early hire could save you more money in the long run.

An accountant can help you set up your finances the right way. For instance, you may want to think about using cloud-based software to manage your business accounts. Skilled accountants from top firms can set up this software at the beginning. So, as well as having experts monitoring and organizing your accounts, you’ll be able to check on them yourself.

You’ll find that legality and financial issues often collide in your company. As such, usually, accountants and lawyers work together to fulfill your business requirements. There are a number of different business models that you can choose for operations within your company. The legal structure can vary, and an accountant can look at all the options with you to find the most suitable possibility for your business.

Of course, the other option is to begin your business and then choose an accountant when you are ready to delegate. But, as we have shown, this decision is filled with pitfalls. You might find that by the time you’re ready to hand the accounts off to someone else, they are already in a terrible state and need fixing.

Role Of Accountants In Business

We have already mentioned a few of the roles an accountant can have in the early days of your company. They can be involved in everything from setting up accounting technology to choosing the right legal structure, but there are many more.

Understanding Finances

You might think that it’s quite easy to understand whether your company is doing well on the market. Generally speaking, if you’re making a profit, you might assume your company is stable. But, you could have a number of different outgoings, investments, loans and incomes to try and dissect. Understanding the accounts of a medium sized business can be complicated. That’s why you should use your accountant to help explain the situation to you. This way, you’ll understand your true position on the market.

Keeping Records

Keeping financial records in order is always going to be important for your business. On a basic level, keeping an accurate history of your finances will make things a lot easier if you decide to sell your company. It’s one of the first factors that potential buyers investigate. Financial records will also be a huge asset during the time of taxation or if you are audited by the government. An audit can be a daunting prospect for new business owners, but with an accountant, it can be relatively pain-free.

Although, if you hire an accountant there’s also the possibility that you are never audited in the first place. Various issues cause businesses to get audited. For instance, you might have excessive write-offs or mistakes on your tax returns. With an accountant on your team all year around, these errors should never come into play.

Specific Advice

There will be plenty of situations where an accountant could be a fantastic advisor. For instance, you might be deciding whether to buy equipment for your business second hand or brand new. An accountant will be able to walk you through the financial benefits and disadvantages of each choice so that you can make a final informed decision.

Saving Time

One of the main basic advantages of hiring an accountant is that you’ll have more time for other areas of your business. If you’re not delegating finances to an accountant, you could be spending several hours every day on the accounts. This will drag down the efficiency levels in your business model and let’s not forget, you could be making mistakes as well. Eventually, these mistakes will need to be corrected, and that means you’ll need to hire an accountant sooner or later.

Ahead Of The Curve

Finally, an accountant can help you get ahead of financial issues. From day one, you can think about the future of the company and look at financial estimates. Don’t forget, accountants have contacts in the industry that you won’t be able to use. They will be able to examine the financial market for you and use their resources to provide you real-time data so you can make adjustments to your business model. As such, accountants can do more than just keep your business finances in check. They can help your company grow into the future.

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