One of the biggest challenges faced by small- to medium-sized businesses is finding the help you need at prices you can afford.
It’s not always cheap and it’s not always easy to fill roles that have been traditionally handled by in-house staff, but for today’s streamlined companies, this is often a necessity. You don’t have to give up reliability for affordability, though.
You CAN Find Good Help These Days
Even if your team is completely online, the time will come when you need more help than you have. That might mean hiring virtual assistants or contracting with an answering service to handle your increasing volume of calls or appointments.
Whatever your needs, outsourcing often makes the most financial sense for smaller companies simply because you don’t have enough volume to keep a staff member busy doing just one or two dedicated jobs.
Hiring a company to handle your customer service interactions or fix your computers may be intimidating right now, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Ask for referrals. From freelancers to phone operators, the very best way to find someone who will do an exceptional job is to ask your business connections. After all, these people have already had a chance to sample the services of various contracted companies and know exactly what they’re going to get for their dollar.If your network says to call a particular organization for customer service representatives, for example, it’s worth it to give the company a try.
- Research potential partners. The Internet is a mixed blessing for researching businesses. Your own experiences with sites like Yelp have probably shown that sometimes, good companies get bad reviews, despite their best efforts.Use the Internet wisely, check many review sites and consider what each reviewer has to say before making your short list. Sometimes, one company will jump out at you while you’re researching, go with your gut and include them when you’re interviewing your future pool of helpers.
- Find out if potentials service businesses like yours. Once your short list is made, you’ll want to prepare a list of questions to ask before you make a final decision. Not only do you need to be certain they can do the job you need performed, but you should find out what they know about your industry.For example, if you’re a company that sells horse trailers, you wouldn’t want to hire a company that had no experience with agricultural equipment or trailers to represent you.
- Don’t hire the lowest bidder. It doesn’t matter if you need an answering service company, a 3rd party logistics firm or someone to handle your accounting, it’s generally a bad idea to hire the lowest bidder for complicated tasks. Instead of looking for the cheapest company, find the one that gives you the best value, no matter the price. It’s a little harder to break this down and it takes a little more time, but in the long run you’ll be much happier with your decision.
It’s not only possible, but probable that you’ll find both reliable and affordable support as a small business owner. Defining your exact goals can help narrow your hunt, especially if you’re looking for a service like a virtual receptionist that can be a fairly generic search term.