By Art Zylstra | Guest Writer
Stewarding Key Areas of Expertise
Business owners and CEOs of small, privately held businesses are faced with multiple demands on their time. They are tasked with developing new markets, growing the existing market, keeping on top of changing technology, creating a healthy internal culture, communicating a consistent brand to the marketplace, developing and maintaining customer relations, making major financial decisions, developing business strategies, reporting financial results — the list goes on and on. The following are common roles that any business owner should consider hiring as outsourced experts or, as the company grows, hiring internally.
Chief Financial Officer
A typical role the business owner will continue to play as the business grows is the role of Chief Financial Officer. One might think this would be a natural role for the business owner to take on and that it is not as critical a function to outsource or delegate. However, if a business owner is considering how to steward their business well, they might want to consider hiring a CFO to handle this area of their business.
So what does a CFO do? And is it wise for the CEO to take on this role? There are several critical functions that a well-trained CFO will engage in. They understand the internal workings of the company from a financial perspective and the best typically have experience working in operations, marketing and general management. They focus on tightly run operations and careful allocation of business resources. The CFO looks at performance metrics, cost reports and standardized data. There is often a strong focus on meeting or exceeding established goals. Many CFOs have a general understanding or experience in mergers, acquisitions, private equity and venture capitalism. Their focus will be on the prize of expanding the current business operations of the company to prepare for an eventual exit by ownership.
It is challenging enough to find a trained CFO to bring all of these traits to the business, much less to expect the business owner or CEO to effectively cover all of these areas. Whether a company is big or small, there is great value in engaging a skilled CFO to come alongside the business owner to help guide, measure and monitor the company's financial health.
People Management and Development
Outsourcing the management of employee processes makes sense for smaller companies. It allows the business to transform and gain expertise without hiring additional personnel at high salaries by keeping in-house tasks modest and focused on employees. For larger companies, compliance can be a huge risk as can legal liability, so outsourcing grants an extra layer of protection.
One of the top reasons companies outsource the people management and development work is to save money. It is less expensive to contract this work out than to hire staff internally, especially if you want to have the level of expertise needed for this increasingly complex area. Many companies simply do not have the necessary level of competence with in-house staff, and having access to people with the proper knowledge will go a long way in improving compliance.
Another reason for outsourcing is to allow companies to focus on strategy. Spending too much time on administrative tasks doesn't leave a lot of time for planning, which would be a proper use of key management's time. Payroll administration demands a high level of accuracy. If management is trying to cover too many tasks, accuracy may fall by the wayside.
Finally, companies outsource to take advantage of technological advances. Payroll analysis is worth tapping into, but costly technology is needed to delve into strategic analytics. Outsourcing can offer many solutions without a significant investment.
Sales, Marketing and Growth Strategies
Outsourcing the marketing team and sales team can be game changing for many companies.
Engaging an external marketing team can result in outstanding results, including dramatically increased website traffic, reduced overhead and sales opportunities. Often the problem then becomes that sales and marketing have a difficult time producing great results together. Sales people complain that marketing is providing them with weak leads, while marketers complain that sales people aren't active in working the leads they send them.
The solution involves outsourcing both sales and marketing to the same organization. With one company, both of the teams, communication and work will be coordinated for the greatest impact. This coordination mitigates the risk of operational inefficiencies and decreases the cost of hiring and maintaining an internal sales and marketing staff. These professional sales and marketing teams are able to operate at the peak of efficiency, quickly put together and execute successful sales and marketing plans, and severely reduce the time it takes to see results. They will accurately assess, develop and optimize your existing systems to make certain they are returning a positive ROI.
Outsourcing sales and marketing allows your company to focus on delivering excellent products and services and will serve as the foundation for sales and marketing success for years to come.
A few other outsourced services may include bookkeeping, customer service, IT, manufacturing, supply chain management, warehousing logistics and administrative services. Every company needs to analyze their internal talents, time and priorities to determine what to outsource and what to retain in-house. In most cases, outsourcing is a great solution to rapid growth without taking on burdensome overhead. At some point, your company may be able to support the cost of adding staff full time to accomplish this task, but outsourcing is an excellent way to steward your time and profits for success.
Check back next week for part four in this series, "Stewardship and the Numbers."
About the Author
Art Zylstra brings over 35 years' experience stewarding resources and people to small-to-midsize private and nonprofit organizations to help them flourish and grow. With his MBA in organizational leadership and a doctorate in transformational leadership, Art collaborates with key members of the executive team to develop and implement key strategies across an organization, providing leadership and coordination in its administrative, operation, business planning, accounting and budgeting efforts. He is highly motivated by mission and operates with integrity, confidence, professionalism and resourcefulness in a way that allows all stakeholders of the organization to flourish.
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