Is your business running as smoothly as it could be? If internal bottlenecks threaten your output or expansion potential, it may be time to review the services on which you rely to keep your company running. Depending on your budget, industry, and internal needs, it may be time to tack on additional capabilities as well.
Businesses large and small rely on these six essential services — internally, externally, or both — to support their ongoing operations and growth.
Retaining legal counsel for your small business may be more affordable than you think. You do not have to hire a team of full-time lawyers or put a white-shoe firm on retainer. In fact, most small businesses require only intermittent legal assistance, such as help drafting contracts, operating agreements, and finance vs leases.
Look for experienced business attorneys that operate in your jurisdiction, have existing clients in your industry, and can demonstrate expertise with the issues your company is likely to face.
Telephone Answering Service
If your business receives large volumes of incoming calls for appointments, customer service, telephone consultations, or almost any other reason, it would be well-served by a telephone answering service that provides a full range of call-handling capabilities.
“Telephone answering services provide a wide-array of call handling solutions,” says Miami entrepreneur George Otte, whose Otte Polo Group owns Responsive Answering Service, a 24/7 answering service that service companies across the United States. “They provide call forwarding services, message taking, dispatching, virtual receptionist services, appointment management, and much more.”
Outsourcing a telephone answering service is significantly more cost-effective than relying on a fully staffed, internally managed call center, especially during non-peak hours.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
If you are still using Excel to manage your company’s books, consider upgrading to a cloud-based accounting service that provides most of the capabilities of a traditional CPA without the associated cost. You can try the several Quickbooks accounting alternatives. Many small businesses turn to credentialed accountants only during tax season, when they need expert advice and guidance to ensure that they remain in compliance with state and federal tax laws.
Fulfillment and Logistics
Companies that ship large volumes of products to multiple markets typically tap external fulfillment (third party logistics) providers to receive and inspect inventory deliveries, securely store product (warehousing), provide pick-pack-ship services, standardize inventory management, and more. Serving as your own third-party logistics provider is possible when you are just starting out, but rapidly expanding businesses soon outgrow their ability to manage these cumbersome operations.
Technical Support and Computer Repair
Retaining a trusted technical support and computer repair partner can significantly reduce your long-term technology costs, particularly for legacy systems that are no longer protected under manufacturer warranties. The best providers offer a wide range of onsite and remote services for PCs, Macs, and other common hardware systems.
If you don’t have the time or budget to travel for client, vendor, or satellite office meetings, consider a web conferencing service that lets you connect remotely with anyone in your business ecosystem. Fair warning: the web conferencing industry is very crowded. Before you choose a web conferencing service, review a buyer’s guide and speak with peers or vendors who’ve made such investments in the recent past.
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