Outsourcing expert help for entrepreneurs
Coming up with a business idea and putting it into practice often leaves the entrepreneur struggling to do everything alone on a limited budget. However, more and more expert help is available through outsourcing. Judith Hunt and Steve Connolly founded Bizunlimited as a community for business owners. Their business consists of two full-time staff, a limited budget and an office in a spare room. Where they have needed particular expertise, for example in IT support and accountancy, they have outsourced it. (The Sunday Times, 30 March 2008)
In addition to supporting the business owner through networking events, workshops and advertising, Bizunlimited also offers an online banking system that allows members to trade between themselves using a special community currency. Hunt realised that marketing this new concept was a challenge and so chose to outsource expert marketing help. She formed a partnership with a telemarketing company, New Business Generation, which is running her marketing campaign. (The Sunday Times, 30 March 2008)
Judith Hunt said: 'The key to the success of this venture is to reach a commercial tipping point of 1,500 members as quickly as possible. Only a team of trained experts could get us there. Outsourcing our sales and marketing has numerous benefits for us as a new company. It is flexible. We can experiment with various approaches at a low risk and we can assess the value of having an in-house sales team before committing ourselves to the investment.' (The Sunday Times, 30 March 2008)
Richard Fifield, national head of outsourcing at Tenon, the business advisory service, said: 'A successful outsourcing partnership will always include some element of advice and consultancy. Consultancy comes with a supplier. They are pretty much inseparable. Outsourcing will come with solutions to problems.' (The Sunday Times, 30 March 2008)
Modern technology has made outsourcing easy. The internet, e-mail and the Blackberry have made the process of finding and communicating with an expert quick, efficient and as easily available as if the expert were in the next office. (The Sunday Times, 30 March 2008)
There are many organisations available to help small businesses. See the Times 100 case study on Experian. Experian is a global information services company which runs one of the UK's leading credit reference agencies. It is dedicated to helping organisations and consumers make commercial and financial decisions with greater confidence and control.
The Sunday Times, 30 March 2008 (print edition)
Potential Study Questions:
- What are the positive and negative features of an entrepreneurial structure in small businesses?
- Businesses make financial plans or budgets. What is the difference between historical and zero budgets?
- Explain two benefits and two drawbacks of budgeting.