There’s a certain romance to the term ‘start-up’. Images of young entrepreneurs spring to mind, fresh-faced dynamos who have decided to roll the dice on an idea that no one else has had. They’re investing their own funds, working their own hours and maybe, just maybe, they are going to be laughing all the way to the bank when their vision for success becomes a reality.
However, while it might sound cool to own a start-up, the truth is everyone who does so dreams of the day their venture finally reaches the next phase of its evolution and becomes a scale-up. The likes of entrepreneurial support network Endeavor have clear guidelines for what constitutes a scale-up (e.g. a company growing at 20% per annum over the past three years) but a simpler definition is a start-up is a business that has entered a distinct phase of growth. As a company, it has identified a scalable business model, enjoyed some success and is ready to take it to the next level.
Respected business magazine Forbes says the average length of the start-up phase is about three years but it all comes down to how quickly a business grows. Some start-ups still retain that title five years after their launch, while others grow so quickly that they achieve scale-up status within a year. The key factor is when that distinctive growth period occurs and the secret to any future success is having the right level of support when it does.
The very nature of start-ups means far too many entrepreneurs end up trying to do far too much on their own. Turning an idea or passion into a business venture, often with limited funds, can be a slog and it is common for start-up founders to become accustomed to doing what they have always done and refuse to think outside the square when searching for or dealing with growth. Having always enjoyed oversight of every business function, many are also reluctant to give up control of their product or teams when scaling up means their resources are increasingly stretched.
If that sounds familiar for your start-up, it is worth remembering the famous words of business philosopher Peter Drucker, a man who knew a thing or two about modern management: “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.”
Outsourcing is the process of hiring an offshore team or team member to complete tasks that would otherwise have been done in-house. Rather than trying to do everything, many start-ups realize they are better off dedicating their funds and resources to their core business and outsourcing functions such as customer service, sales or human resources to third-party experts. It is a particularly smart strategy for start-ups entering a growth phase as it allows them to better allocate three of their most important resources at a crucial stage of their evolution – time, money and talent.
The theory that outsourcing is a tool solely for sizable, well-established organizations has been proven to be a myth. Research has shown that organizations of all types and sizes are benefiting from such partnerships, with one survey revealing 37% of small businesses outsourced at least one important business process and more than half were planning to during the next year. For ambitious start-ups looking to grow and scale, outsourcing can be a one-way ticket to success for many reasons.
The outsourcing industry has reached a stage of its own evolution where a better question may be ‘what don’t start-ups outsource’. Be it providing support for a business’s unique offering or assuming sole responsibility for non-core tasks, there are many and varied tasks that can be managed by an offshore provider. Here are a few that can help start-ups achieve the growth they are seeking.
A lot of articles get written about how many start-ups fail in their first couple of years. Business is not for the faint-hearted and many budding entrepreneurs’ dreams do not come true. That said, there are plenty of visionaries who have done the hard yards and now find themselves on the cusp of saying goodbye to being a start-up and hello to life as a scale-up. Entering a growth phase is an exciting time for any start-up and outsourcing certain tasks and processes is a proven strategy for making that transition as seamless as possible.
Given almost 60% of Americans are likely to switch companies because of poor customer service, it is little wonder successful start-ups are investing in the development of sustainable consumer care functions. Discover why that decision is inspiring many of them to partner with outsourcing providers and how you can establish your own offshore customer service team from scratch.
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