Deciding between hiring in-house talent or outsourcing the job can be a tough call to make, and both options have their benefits and drawbacks. Here are some things to consider when choosing between the two recruitment options.
Why Independent Contractors Make Sense
It's easy to understand the draw that outsourcing certain tasks has for business owners.
First of all, while you should work closely with an independent contractor, there are no employee-related expenses; no training costs, health care, vacation time, or sick leave.
Additionally, in many cases, you will be working with and benefiting from the experience and insight of a team of specialists, rather than a single worker.
Outsourcing may also spare you business expenses. For example, perhaps you are interested in making some promotional and informational videos for your website. You could invest in expensive equipment, along with hiring someone with the proper know-how, or you could outsource the job to a video production company that already has the knowledge, experience, and the equipment.
Finally, outsourcing certain tasks can free you and your workers up to focus on the core areas of your business without pouring time and effort into peripheral tasks.
Making the Call
While outsourcing can be a good thing, it also has its drawbacks. Your project may not receive the focus it deserves, you lose a little bit of control over the timeframe, and you have less control over the quality of the finished product. Before deciding whether to outsource a task or operation, consider these questions.
Is it a Business-Critical Function?
Generally, anything that relates directly to the operation of your business should be handled in-house. For example, for some businesses, their social media marketing strategy is an essential part of their competitive advantage. In this case, a social media manager should likely be an in-house hire who shares your goals and vision for marketing campaigns.
However, duties like payroll, bookkeeping, and administrative tasks, though they don't relate directly to the vision of your business, tend to take a significant toll on overall productivity. Outsourcing these tasks, rather than hiring in-house, makes sense for most businesses.
What Is Your Budget?
There may be a significant cost difference between a trained employee and an independent contractor. Oftentimes, if you're shooting a single promotional video or you want to create an app, outsourcing the job may make the most sense because it will spare your business the expense of investing in expensive equipment and providing highly specialized training. On the other hand, independent contractors may charge a relatively high daily rate, making outsourcing less than ideal for long-term projects.
What Is Your Time Frame?
If you have a skills gap that needs to be filled quickly, then outsourcing makes sense. Rather than taking the time to go through the hiring and training process, you can hire an experienced professional who can hit the ground running.
In the end, whether or not you choose to outsource hinges on your timeframe for project completion, budgetary considerations, and how it will impact the efficiency and goals of your business. Using these as guidelines will help you choose the recruitment option that is right for your business.
If your business were a car, your key employees would be the engine. These are your superstars, the heavy hitters who apply their talents and skill sets in their positions and generate massive results every time.
As most managers already know, however, the reason why key employees are so in-demand is precisely because they don't grow on trees. If you're hunting for your next key employee, here is some of our best advice on where to look.
1. Professional Recruiters
The thing about key employees is that they're generally either employed or snatched up very quickly during the brief times they're unemployed and looking for a position.
So who better to help you find your next key employee than someone whose business it is to match companies with excellent clients day in and day out?
Professional recruiters have the relationships, experience, and the avenues needed to find candidates and find them quickly.
Although the saying, "It's not what you know but who you know" gets thrown around at job-seekers a lot, the same logic also applies to employers who are searching for talent.
You may not be immediately aware of anyone who could fill a key position, but perhaps a colleague you met at a seminar or a fellow professional association member might know someone. Or maybe instead of a professional peer it's a friend of yours who knows a recent college grad or a veteran who would be perfect for your position.
All of this is to say that your professional and personal network is a resource that just might surprise you.
Do you have any high-flying talent in your organization? Is there an employee who seems to have all the knowledge and personality traits needed to step in and do a fantastic job?
Sometimes your future key employee is standing right in front of you.
A lot of companies get so caught up in internal policy and creating a rigid system for potential advancement that they overlook the talent and potential for growth that's already there. An added bonus with this approach is that the candidate's familiarity with you and your company's culture are a potentially easy way to guarantee a relatively smooth transition.
The Internet has long been used for research, networking, and business. Now, with the help of sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and even Facebook, finding talent is literally just a few clicks away.
As effective as these relatively mainstream sites can be, companies don't have to resign themselves to these relatively mainstream avenues.
Forums, Twitter, specialized job boards, and Internet hotspots like Reddit are all places where employers can find and discover talent with relative ease.
When you're searching for your next key employee, you don't want just anybody to take the wheel. You want the best person for the job. However finding that future key employee is often easier said than done. Online sources, tapping into your existing network for possible referrals, promoting internally, and hiring professional recruiters are all options that can make finding your next key employee easier. Try one of these options and see how it works for you.
Events, Products and Head-shots... Oh My! Choosing The Right Photographer For Your Business Needs
Whether you need full-color photos for your restaurant menu, head shots for your annual report, or mobile-friendly videos to add to your website, investing in professional photography services can deliver great returns for your business.
Here's what you need to know about choosing the right photographer for your business needs:
Consider Your Priorities
While virtually anyone can snap digital pictures, there's a real art to taking clean, attractive photos that enhance your business and appeal to your audience.
Start by making a list of what you need a photographer to do for your company. Are you looking for head shots to add to your webpage, static product shots for a brochure, or action photos for your social media feed? Professional photographers tend to specialize in one or two types of photography such as portraits, real estate, product photos, or live-action images.
Ask About Ownership
Simply hiring a photographer to take pictures for your business doesn't necessarily give you the rights to use the photos they take on your website, print materials, or business cards. Be sure to discuss ownership of the images up front, and get your agreement in writing. For example, you may need to negotiate a Digital Rights Fee - a contract that clearly outlines how you can use the photographs and whether or not you need to give the photographer credit each time you publish a photo they took.
Discuss Retouching Fees
Thanks to the magic of photo-editing programs like Photoshop, many photographers now offer value-added services to remove small blemishes, clean up backgrounds, and even edit in people into photographs. All this digital photo magic comes at a price, so be sure to explore exactly what photo editing will cost before you sign a contract.
Ask For A Portfolio
Professional photographers are expected to maintain an active portfolio of their work so they can show of their skills to prospective clients. Review recent work of photographers you're considering using, and as with all contractors, take the time to ask for references.
Check out our Chamber member McKinnon Photography to see if they would be a good fit for your company.
When you start a new business, there are a lot of decisions you need to make — and one of the most important decisions is your business location. Most business owners take their time looking at the inside of spaces but forget all about the parking situation. The last thing you want is lack of available parking to ruin your customers' experience. Learn how to determine how many parking spaces your business really needs.
Check the Official Parking Regulations
The first thing you need to do is check with your local municipality to see if any current parking requirements affect your business. Usually, the amount of parking spots a business is required to have depends on the type of business. For example, a restaurant might be required to have 50 parking spots and a large retail store may be required to have 75 spaces.
City of Courtenay Zoning Bylaws - Part 11 Page 26
Conduct Some Local Research
Talk to other local business owners with similar businesses to determine how many parking spots they fill during peak business times. You can simply give a few businesses a call or meet other business owners in the area by attending networking events. Researching the needs of businesses similar to yours gives you a good idea of what to expect.
Think About Your Employees
Parking availability affects your employees as much as it does your customers. So when you're trying to determine how many parking spots you need, don't forget about the number of workers on-site at any given time. Try to find a building that has available parking out back for employees — with backdoor access. This way, they don't have to park all the way in the back of the lot and walk up to your establishment before and after their shift.
Ultimately, it's better to have too many parking spaces than it is to not have enough. You should aim to have enough parking spaces available for both your customers and your employees during your company's busiest times.
The best phone system for your business depends on the size of the business, how you communicate with your customer and the rate of call volume. For medium to large-sized businesses enjoying steady growth and increasing call volumes, implementing scalable phone systems is essential to sustain your success.
4 Reasons Why You Need to Update Your Phone System
1. Your Company's Phone System is, well, OLD
Has your telephone system evolved as far as it can go? Scalability, or the ability to add new features as they are developed, is vital to achieving all growth goals you've set for your business. If your existing phone system can't handle an increasing amount of outgoing and incoming calls, how can your company thrive? Static phone systems inevitably break down due to network congestion complicated by outdated technology.
2. Busy, Busy, Busy
Patience is no longer a virtue of today's consumers. Digital technology has made it easy for customers to instantly communicate with businesses that have upgraded their phone systems. If you're wondering why your company has experienced a gradual but significant reduction in customer calls, it may be that your phone system is obsolete and overloaded. Did you know that less than 5 percent of potentially buying customers actually call back if they receive busy signals or are put on hold for more than 15 seconds?
3. Your Old Phone System Struggles to Breathe
In other words, your company's phone system can't support any more devices, such as fax lines, additional phone lines, teleconferencing technology, etc. Plugging in another feature is essentially "pulling the life support plug" on your existing phone system. On the other hand, you could invest in high-tech ports to entertain more lines. However, you're still stuck with an antiquated phone system that could collapse at any time, leaving your business isolated from both old and new customers.
4. Your Business is Approaching Call Center Readiness
You know it's time to add a call center--and the sooner the better. But you can't add a call center because your old phone system is practically senile. Now you're stuck with losing customers to other business while you wait for someone to install a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system to accommodate call center functionality. Take the time to upgrade your old phone system if necessary to begin growth-supporting call center services
More about VoIP
Integrating VoIP into your business from the beginning lets you profit from interactive voice response. IVR allows your customers to communicate with a host system using speech recognition software or keypad functions. This lets customers self-service inquiries they may have following interaction with the IVR system.
Major disasters like earthquakes, acts of terror, and widespread power outages, though relatively rare, can have a devastating impact on your business. However, even more common and seemingly less detrimental emergencies like burst pipes, electrical fires, or server failure can have a surprisingly crippling effect. Many companies have a plan in place for worst-case scenario but neglect to put a plan in place for the small-scale crises that threaten businesses every day.
Having a disaster preparation plan can mean the difference between keeping your business up and running, even when the unexpected happens, or being forced to close up shop for days or even weeks while you recover from an emergency.
Here are a few steps to take to create an effective disaster preparation plan.
Understand What Threats Your Business Faces
Unless you evaluate the types of situations that are a threat to your business and the potential costs of responding to them, you can't create a workable disaster preparation plan. A risk assessment and a business impact analysis can help you understand whether or not you could even recover from a given disaster, how long it would take for your business to recover, and what costs you would face if operations went down.
Create an Action Plan
A robust action plan will make provision for a variety of emergencies, including life safety (bomb threat, active shooter, or chemical spill), severe weather or environmental disasters, a problem with your supply chain, and any other types of emergencies that may be specific to your industry or to the Comox Valley.
Train Your Staff
No matter how well-rounded and carefully thought out your disaster preparation plan may be, if your employees don't understand what is expected of them in an emergency, your plan won't benefit anyone. Take the time to talk about your disaster preparation plan and run drills to ensure that your staff knows what to do if the unexpected should happen.
Fine Tune Your Plan
As you're going through training exercises and drills, you may identify what works and what doesn't. Make tweaks to your plan to streamline your processes and update it as procedures change.
Consider Your Supply Chain
While your disaster preparation plan should focus on crises that your business could face, you don't want to forget to consider disasters that could face those in your supply chain. For example, if one of your main suppliers goes down, you don't want to assume that they have a system in place to ensure that their buyers receive their products and services without interruption. A disaster at a supplier could pose a significant problem for your own operations, so developing a business continuity plan is important.
Monitor for Threats
In the event of a disaster, minutes matter. As much as possible, monitor for oncoming threats so that you can respond appropriately and as efficiently as possible.
Emergency planning can seem like an overwhelming task, but having an organized approach and taking it one step at a time can ensure that your business is able to weather nearly any disaster.