Making plans to get your business back on track post-coronavirus pandemic? Here are five responsibilities you should consider outsourcing so you can devote more of your time and energy to the areas where you are most needed.
1. Website Updates and Maintenance
Your website is likely the most important marketing tool in your arsenal and yet it also probably gets neglected from time to time—especially in the aftermath of a crisis, such as a coronavirus. Unless you’re into coding and application updates, outsourcing IT tasks such as website fixes is a great place to start delegating. Think of the crisis as an opportunity to give your business and your website a fresh start. And since every fresh start deserves a fresh look, now is a great time to makeover your website.
Changing website design trends and constantly updated technologies mean you’re probably best off leaving this task to the experts. Finding a website designer who listens to what you want and jibes with your personality is not as hard as you think. Ask other business owners for recommendations or search the web for websites you like and read the fine print on who designed the site.
Your next step is to create a plan for search engine optimization (SEO), which is a long-term task many small business owners prefer to outsource to an SEO expert.
Marketing your company’s brand takes a multi-faceted strategy, which involves social media (See #3 below), search engine marketing, email, SMS, and more. One easy way to drive traffic to your website is through affiliate marketing. If your business hasn’t already been approached about an affiliate marketing relationship, do a quick search and you’ll find plenty of companies wanting your business. Basically, you are outsourcing some of your marketing to an “affiliate” who will “sell” links to your website for a small fee. Other websites earn part of the commission when a customer clicks the link and you get leads. Most relationships are handled through an affiliate network, so your responsibilities are minimal.
You can also participate in affiliate marketing another way, by running affiliate ads on your own website and receiving commissions for every click you drive to another website. Top affiliate networks include ShareASale, ClickBank, and CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction).
3. Social Media
It’s practically impossible to run a small business and become an Instagram star at the same time. So, it makes sense to outsource your social media efforts—especially since 88 percent of small business owners say social media is important to their businesses.
Social media is more than just scheduling posts and attractive photos. You also need to track your brand mentions, monitor and engage in conversations, and create engaging content. If you choose to outsource your social media to a staff member or an outside party make sure they understand your business, your mission, your unique attributes, and your tone. They should also fully understand your industry and what makes your customers tick. If you’re outsourcing to a social media consultant or company, ask to see a list of their clients and check their social posts. Do you like what you see? Does anything make you uncomfortable? In the beginning of any outsourcing relationship, you’ll want approval before any messages get posted on your social platforms. Until you’re certain the consultant knows your brand’s voice, stay close to the process.
If there’s one thing small business owners learned from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s how important their suppliers and fulfillment operations are to keep their businesses running. If you sell products and have been handling your fulfillment in-house, it might be time to add another fulfillment channel. For instance, if you don’t currently sell your product on Amazon (as well as your outlets), this might be a good time to make the move there.
Did you know 58 percent of Amazon sales come from small and medium-sized businesses? Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) offers sellers access to the retail giant’s vast distribution network which includes high-tech warehouses all over the country. You send Amazon your inventory and their warehouses store, sort, package, and ship your products for you.
Pricing depends on how much product you plan on sending per month. If your business sells less than 40 pieces per month, you can pay per item and if you sell more, you can choose a flat rate. Yes, there are referral fees on top of that but the increase in product visibility may be worth it. As a seller, you also have access to Amazon Business events created to educate business owners about growing their businesses.
5. Compliance and Filing
Running your own company means staying current on new legal regulations, industry requirements, and corporate filings. That’s a lot on your plate, especially when you’re trying to revive your business. To protect your business from missing important deadlines, consider outsourcing your business formation and compliance tasks.
The legal structure of your business dictates your compliance obligations and some of the requirements vary by state. Even a sole proprietorship, the simplest business structure, needs to comply with state licensing, zoning rules, and more. For corporations and LLCs to stay in good standing, there are annual reports, documentation, and filing deadlines. In addition, in the post-pandemic economy, you may want to switch entity types to a more beneficial and/or protective structure, or you may find your business is ready to expand the business to another state. All these tasks can be handled by outsourcing to a third-party like CorpNet.
If you’ve been putting off getting your business name and logo trademarked, CorpNet can also help guide your business through obtaining intellectual property rights. After all your business has been through this year, you definitely want to make sure you protect your brand by all means possible.