Startup and small businesses feed off the energy of their founders. In theory, an idea is sown and grown into a fully-fledged and profitable operation that affords a positive lifestyle. But why do so many entrepreneurs feel like they are wearing the proverbial ‘hair shirt’?
For many, the passion turns into dogmatism and commitment to a failing cause. In almost all cases, there are usually two reasons – the business model is not workable or, more commonly, the driving force has lost purpose and simply run out of ideas or creativity.
Bizarrely, the problem for a lot of businesses is not actually generating sales, it is delivering the promise. Buying stock, managing staff, fulfilling orders and providing customer care takes up a huge amount of effort that is often beyond the means of an individual or ‘husband and wife’ combo. Instead of spending time developing a new product or marketing campaign, too many high-value resources are invested into resolving operational issues – human instinct is always to fight the biggest fire.
So, how do these people get their life and creativity back? One way is to ‘outsource’. What was once a buzzword in the public sector is now a very realistic option for small business. It is the principle of allowing 3rd party suppliers to develop the website, provide customer services, manage your stock and pick and pack orders. These companies are ‘aggregators’ who are IT-driven and generally able to execute tasks at half the cost of an in-house operation. Furthermore, they provide services on a variable cost basis, which enables clients to link their outgoings to revenue. This is a ‘game changer’ as fixed costs are significantly reduced and sales can be scaled up (and down) whilst maintaining a consistent net margin. Instead of chasing cash, outsourced retailers can make sensible and measured commercial decisions without the worry.
However, the clincher is that people get their life back. Rather than navigating the byzantine world of HR law on a Sunday morning, outsourcers are sleeping off a hangover, walking their dog or spending time with family. Refreshed and restored, they start work on Mondays with clarity of purpose, ready to take their business forward.
It does sound too good to be true, but there are now thousands of retailers who have switched on to this approach and haven’t looked back. A new generation of service providers have created choice in the marketplace, driving down costs and enhancing the proposition.
If you feel that running your business has become a chore and you want more holidays, take a look; it may be the best decision you ever make.
by leet on 12/09/2014