Business developers tell small business owners to work on their businesses, not in their businesses. Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially if you started your company to capitalize on a passion.
Think of it this way: if you are washing the dogs or making the widgets, who’s out there promoting your brand and building relationships with potential customers? The answer is likely no one.
The experts’ mantra holds true for the foundational functions of every business, like accounting, human resources, advertising, shipping and receiving, and cleaning. Someone else can do these routine tasks for you, and they don’t have to be full- or even part-time employees. In this issue, three business owners who make it their business to support your business weigh in on why outsourcing is a good investment.
Sheryl Davis Kohl, President
Beacon Staffing Alternatives, Aberdeen
Sheryl Davis Kohl has worked in staffing services since 1985, as co-owner of a staffing franchise and as a family-owned small business. Beacon Staffing Alternatives distinguishes itself from other staffing companies by being active in the community that supports its business. Beacon Staffing maintains a database of more than 1,000 active jobseekers with diverse skills, ready to fill the short- and long-term needs of employers large and small. Each job candidate is interviewed in person to ensure Kohl’s staff can place the right person with the right skills with the right employer. Kohl holds a masters degree in public administration.
Renée McNally, SPHR and President
HR Solutions, LLC, Bel Air
Renée McNally opened HR Solutions, LLC in 2004 after working in the human resources field for more than 20 years. Her experience includes working with small businesses as well as internationally known organizations in a variety of industries to locate, hire, train, support and retain employees. HR Solutions, LLC provides its clients access to proven and forward-thinking HR advice and methodologies, objective perspectives about the challenges businesses face as well as the tools to implement positive change in corporate culture. McNally holds a masters degree in education and counseling.
Andrea O’Hara, CPA and Owner
Aros Consulting LLC, Ellicott City
Andrea O’Hara, a licensed CPA, launched Aros Consulting, LLC two years ago after honing her skills as an accountant, controller and supervisory manager for businesses large and small for more than 15 years. The company serves clients by preparing quarterly financial statement reviews, monthly accounting, payroll processing and personnel training. While her bachelors degree is in accounting, O’Hara holds a masters degree in writing.
Experts do it better and faster
When it comes to reviewing resumes and interviewing job candidates, McNally has seen and heard it all. If you own a small business, it’s likely you can’t match her experience when looking for the right person to hire.
“A common mistake people make is hiring somebody they like,” McNally says. For clients, she observes and often participates in interviews. “Afterward, I will ask them what they like about the candidate. I show them the red flags. Just because a person has experience doesn’t mean he or she is good at it.”
O’Hara says some clients realize their businesses aren’t large enough to warrant hiring a full-time bookkeeper or accountant. Others appreciate having an expert review the work they have done. They hire Aros Consulting to complete varying degrees of the money matters behind every company large or small.
“For some clients, I do the day-to-day, paying the vendors and employees and processing deposits. For others, I come in quarterly to review the work they have done, ensuring that expenses are reported accurately and that charges are legitimate. One client, I believe, does not have the time to spend on the day-to-day to do it properly,” she says, describing his calls to her about unpaid taxes. “I don’t know if he paid the tax bill. I can only review the records he keeps. If he would let go of the day-to-day, he could focus on building his business and I would know what has been paid.”
Outsourcing can save you money
Kohl has skilled employees ready to work. Today. No need to pay for an ad in the paper or online. No need to schedule time for interviews. No need to conduct skills assessments and background screenings. No need to set up processes to pay salary, state and local taxes, worker’s comp and unemployment. No need to worry about lawsuits and ill will if your business needs to trim its workforce.
“A job, project or task can be outsourced. Temporary staffing has evolved. It used to be all administrative, but believe it or not there are dental and nursing temps, IT and warehouse temps, food service and janitorial temps,” she says. “What slows us down? Time. Business owners get pulled in so many directions to make so many decisions. Temps can help accomplish company goals without a company making a permanent commitment.”
O’Hara believes that, by outsourcing some business functions, the time required to accomplish tasks and jobs can be more accurately gauged.
“Business owners don’t always realize a full-time person isn’t doing full-time work. I know this from personal experience,” O’Hara says. “I was getting a lot of money to sit at a desk for eight hours when the job was really a four hour a day job.”
McNally points to time wasted through job interviews.
“Most employers aren’t reading a resume properly. They take the resume to be true. You can’t take it word for word. You have to dig,” she says. “If it says 2008-2009, it could be that a person held the job for two years. They also could have held it for two days.”
Kohl believes that businesses that utilize temporary workers are more flexible.
“A company can do a trial run of a new product line, experiment with what works with a temp crew before committing to permanent hires. A company fulfilling contracts for the government can meet skill and diversity requirements by using a minority-owned company,” she explains.
What the future holds
Kohl believes outsourcing will become more common in highly skilled fields. Temp employees are not necessarily looking for full-time work. “Some people want to add to their personal skill set. Some want to test different companies. Some want to work around family obligations. Some need to gain confidence or experience,” she says.
McNally says organizational culture is starting to come into play.
“There are not the same people in the workforce now. Millennials want growth and learning opportunities. They want creative benefits. They want to be people not work horses. Money isn’t everything. Employers need to pay them appropriately then focus on the other things they need. The cost of turnover is astronomical,” McNally says. I95