Photo credit: Kimberly Faye
The old saying goes, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Smart businesses are always looking for an easier, greener, and more cost effective way of doing business, and this becomes even more important during economic down cycles, such as the one we are experiencing now. Today we are going to talk about one of the easiest means of boosting efficiency in a small business... outsourcing.How is Outsourcing Green?
When you own a business which requires the use of a personal assistant, office administrator, computer tech, marketer, and various other personnel, you traditionally provide them with an office, computer, lights, heat/air-conditioning, paper, ink, etc. All these things are a big drain not only on your own pocketbook, but the earth as well.
What if you could bypass the office space, lights, equipment, and just borrow a professional on an "as needed" basis. Suddenly you have shrunk the size of your office down to the minimum necessary number of workers and have reduced the amount of energy your business needs to use everyday.
Such examples of outsourcing that everyone from a big to a very small office can take advantage of today includes, off sight telephone answering services, data entry personnel, and yes, those pesky telemarketers. Outsourcing does not work for every occasion, but these are a few of the more common functions that outsourcing can provide:
Categories of Outsourcing
There are 13 specific categories that can be outsourced by just about any business:
1.Bookkeeping, Accounting, Payroll Processing, and Taxes
2.Web Research and Language Translation
3.HR (Human Resources), PEO, Employee Benefits (401K, 529), Workers Comp, Medical insurance, etc.
6.Invoicing, Receivables, Payables, and Fulfillment
8.Web Based Technology
9.General Technology- (Includes equipment, phone systems, location, and remote hosting of a businesses infrastructure)
11.Marketing and Sales
12.PR and Media Relations
13.Miscellaneous Personal Tasks
If you think that your business might benefit using outsourcing as a way to boost your productivity without breaking the bank. If you are looking for a way to expand without hiring more employees or moving into a larger space, then outsourcing might be a reasonable answer to your dilemma.
The Problem with Outsourcing and Manufacturing
If you have a business that requires manufacturing, there is one problem that goes with the territory of outsourcing, and that is that you don't always have complete control over how a product is being made. The product(s) is after all, not being processed within your guidelines, but rather someone else of which you have a contract with. Your company may be green, but your product won't be if your outsourced manufacturer is not supplying you with a green product.
The best way to deal with this is to not outsource for manufacturing period. If you have no other choice, you will have to make sure that the folks you are dealing with are following the set guidelines for the manufacturing process your business requires. The easiest way to do this is by asking others who have used these outsourcing businesses in the past and know their product and capability.
Where to Find a Good Green Outsourcing Businesses
Anyone who has done enough outsourcing will tell that your greatest challenge with outsourcing is finding good help that you can count on. This is where the Internet will come in handy, in particular a few outsourcing rating websites that have come available as of recent years. These websites provide important information from the people who have used the different outsourcing agents and provide feedback as to whether they were a good or a bad choice. Here are a few of these helpful sites in accordance to the type of specialty work you might be looking for:
Technical Computer, Website Design, Programming, Coding— Rent A Coder (www.rentacoder.com)
Non-Technical Computer, Powerpoint, Excel, Freelance Writing, Accountants, Marketing, Graphic Design— Elance (www.elance.com)
Expert Advice, Business Plans, CPA's, Tax Strategists, Attorneys— Guru (www.guru.com)
Personal Assistants, Appointment Setters, Booking— Get Friday (www.getfriday.com), Ask Sunday (www.asksunday.com)
More green business ideas
Going Green Is Strictly Business. Just Ask Wal-Mart
Greenhushing Doesn't Help Anyone: Why Green Business Should Speak Up
The Greenest Way to Make a Business Card