The Future of Business Partnership: Why Your Business Will Benefit from Outsourcing

In today’s market, outsourcing is becoming more and more popular amongst small-medium sized businesses. Even with large multinational companies such as Apple, who have their screens supplied by Samsung, there is a growing popularity in recognising and seeking expertise outside of their own business. Why is this exactly?

Strategic partnerships can expand your reach and help catalyse your innovation. By partnering with other businesses to achieve mutual aims, you can achieve better results faster and at less of your expense than if you tried to achieve these alone. Even if you are competing for market share with another business, there are still benefits for you both to collaborate to make the end result much more successful for you both.

Collaborating with other businesses increases your pool of knowledge, expertise, and resources that you are able to access and create a better product/service and reach a larger client and consumer base. 

Here are 12 key reasons why outsourcing to other businesses can benefit your business:

  1. Ability to focus on the important core business activities

Outsourcing can free up your business to focus on its core processes and strengths, allowing staff to concentrate on their main tasks and on the future strategy of the business.

2. Increased efficiency

Choosing an outsourcing company that specialises in a process that you need doing, but is not a core skill of your business, can help you achieve a more productive, efficient service, often of greater quality and at a faster speed.

3. Reduced and more controlled costs 

Outsourcing your piecemeal processes is nearly always going to be cheaper than hiring permanent full-time staff. Lower labour and operations costs, as well as lower overhead expenses achieved by outsourcing can help you release capital for investment in other areas of your business.

4. Increased reach

Outsourcing can give you access to capabilities and facilities otherwise not accessible or affordable. Sharing clients and contacts with partnering businesses can increase your levels of exposure to new leads.

5. Competitive advantage

Outsourcing can help you leverage knowledge and skills along with your complete supply chain. Teaming up with other businesses that can help you improve your process will essentially give you a “piggy-back” to an improved competitive advantage.

6. Expertise

Your core team may be great at a few things, but nobody is perfect at everything. Therefore, by outsourcing some of your piecemeal tasks onto specialists, companies are often able to substantially improve performance by drawing on the niche skills of experts in certain fields. Access to skilled resources means that businesses can gain the right talent, assuring a higher quality of the outsourced tasks.

7. Business flexibility and agility

Outsourcing allows your business to adapt to changing market conditions and challenges, while providing cost savings and service level improvements. When your business has outsourced partners, it is able to use their expertise and insight to help in the decision-making processes needed to adapt to evolving markets and to ensure you make the right moves.

8. Staff flexibility

If your business has operations with cyclical or seasonal demands that require bringing in extra staff, outsourcing provides additional resources when you need them, and you can release them when they are no longer required.

9. Save time and get things done faster

Businesses tend to outsource work because it will get done faster. If you are working with a limited number of staff members, you can get things done a whole lot faster by passing time-consuming tasks onto specialists. Outsourcing non-core activities, such as back-office operations or administration, frees up your resources helping you to focus on the core functions of the business, rather than supporting ones.

10. Sharing and reducing risk

One of the most important factors in any project is risk assessment and analysis. By outsourcing certain campaigns or processes onto experts in their respective fields, you will benefit from their enhanced ability to plan and mitigate potential risks. By sharing risk with other companies, you remove risk for your own.

11. Working around the clock

One major benefit of outsourcing digital work to other businesses, is that they may have different working hours to your own. Even if this is a logistic hurdle to tackle initially, once tackled, it will effectively mean work is being done whilst you’re relaxing at home!

12. Peace of mind

Choosing to outsource with a proven reliable individual or business should give you peace of mind that tasks are being handled expertly and efficiently. You can have peace of mind knowing that operations are going smoothy without you or your employees having to lift a finger!

The goal of all businesses is to stay relevant and reach its set goals. Having outsourced business partners means you are no longer in isolation. You will have access to a larger pool of knowledge, innovation, and funds. The correct strategic business partnership will mitigate your weaknesses and nourish your strengths. When we look at the likes of Google, Apple, and other multinational corporations, there are reasons why they see outsourcing as a way of expanding their business growth. There is absolutely no excuse as to why your business cannot follow suit and achieve more than it is capable of achieving alone.

6 Reasons Why Paper Documents Should Be Digitised Early in Your Archiving Process

All businesses will use some form of documentation. Your business may file invoices, employee information, client information, legal documents, financial statements or many other forms of paper documents that you need to keep and store in a secure place. However minimal this may be, keeping these documents archived in a paper form can run some risks that you may not want to take. In a technologically advancing society, businesses are capitalising on new efficient digital technologies that are allowing them to streamline their procedures to new levels of efficiency and to lower their costs.

Here are 6 reasons why your business should think about turning your paper documentation into high-quality digital copies that can be stored on a secure digital indexing system.

1) More Efficient and Less Time Consuming

Paper documents are less efficient and more time consuming to sort through and handle than digital documents. If your business were to create a high-quality digital copy of these documents early in its process, the paper documents would only need to be handled this one time. After the initial sorting and digitisation of these documents, anyone who needs to find these files thereafter can do so quickly and easily by opening the digital file rather than having to go through physical files and sort through all the paper. This will save a gigantic amount of time and effort for employees and will no doubt boost productivity and efficiency across the business. It is therefore not only in the interests of the employees to have documents digitised early in the process, but also for the employer.

2) More Secure and Less Likely to Lose or Damage

Paper documents are less secure and easier to lose or damage in postage than digital documents. If your business does not create a digital copy of its important documents early in their process, it is quite possible that some of these documents may get lost or damaged. If your business is required to pass documents around, you may have to post them to a different location/office. There is a good chance that if you do this in quite large numbers, some of these documents will be damaged or lost in transit. If your business were to create a high-quality digital copy of the documents you receive and need to keep for these purposes, it would massively reduce the chance of your documents being lost, and pretty much completely remove the chance of them being damaged.

3) Less Manual Labour Means Happier Employees!

More manual labour is required to handle paper documentation and so it is harder for employees to sort than digital documents. An important aspect of business is to streamline operations and make them easier for the professionals working within. The manual labour required to archive physical documents and going through all the physical files and long statements or contracts, just to find a document is very unnecessary. Kindness is important for business, and the morale of the people working in business should never be neglected. As a business owner, you should be asking your employees what YOU can do to make their job easier. Doing this won’t just improve the lives of those working for you, but will also make your business work more productively and efficiently. Everyone wins!

4) Easier to Access Remotely

It is much easier to access documentation on a secure digital archive as it can be accessed instantly and remotely around the globe. Instead of posting physical paper documents, a digital copy of a document can be sent instantly to any geographical area. This leads on from previous points. Because businesses in the modern world are more geographically spread, this requires much more remote working and long-distance communication and distribution of documentation (especially after COVID-19). The economy will no doubt see a permanent increase in remote working after the pandemic, and therefore access to documents remotely has become more important in business than ever before. Having paper documents archived digitally will allow all employees within a given business who are working remotely to have access to these documents from home or from long distances.

5) Cost-saving

It is cheaper to retain digital documents over the archive cost of paper documentation, especially if your business required large-scale storage of documentation. This could save you having to rent archiving warehouses. If a business was required to archive a large number of paper documents, it may have to rent land/buildings to hold all of these documents in. If this business instead were to have their paper documents digitised, they would save large amounts of money on storage/archiving costs. An iPad costs a little less than a building site! Additionally, if your business has multiple offices and needs a way of sending documents from one office to another, transport costs can be completely removed when documents can be accessed remotely.

6) More Environmentally Friendly!

If you have high quality digital documents scanned early in the process, you will not need to print many physical copies afterwards, which means you will use considerably less paper in the long term. Moreover, similarly to a previous point, if your business needs to send documents from office to office, having these documents digitised can completely remove the need to use transport. This will not only reduce costs, but also reduce your carbon emissions!

7 Things Businesses Can Learn from Roger Federer

Roger Federer is one of the most revered, if not THE most revered professional tennis player of all time. The Swiss talent has won an incredible 20 men’s Grand Slam singles titles, which is an all-time record shared with Spanish rival, Rafael Nadal. Federer has had a total of 310 weeks as the world No.1 in the ATP rankings, as well as a record of 237 consecutive weeks in this position. Alongside this, he has finished as the year-end No.1 five times! As a versatile all-court player, Federer’s perceived effortlessness has made him extremely popular among tennis fans. Federer is a well-liked celebrity for his graciousness. This is a large factor in why he has won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award five times. Furthermore, Roger has won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award 13 times! Federer, however, has not only achieved great things in sport, but also outside of sport. He was a substantial figure in the foundation of the Laver Cup competition. Additionally, Federer is also known for his philanthropism. He formed the Roger Federer Foundation, which aims to raise funds to help impoverished children in southern Africa and has succeeded in this endeavour through organising events such as the Match for Africa exhibition. Federer is regularly one of the highest-paid athletes in all sports. He has ranked first among all athletes with $100 in endorsement income in 2020.

As we can see, Federer has made a huge success for himself, and has generously transferred this success to help those in need alongside this, making us love him even more! So, what is it about Federer that made him a success, and what can businesses learn from this? Let’s have a look at the 7 things that we, as businesses, can learn from the great Roger Federer…

  1. Be Persistent

Roger may be seen as a naturally gifted athlete; however, he will tell you that he had to lose plenty of times on the way to winning! We all view him as this “effortless champion”. This is not true. He lost a lot; he struggled; he had to work hard to get there. Nobody, no matter how talented they are, can be at the top without drawbacks on the way. In reality, we may be talented, but there are 7.6 billion of us on the planet – there are others out there as talented as you and working their butts off! Many successful businessmen will tell you how many times they had to fail and retry in order for their work to finally pay off. Yes, Federer is “a natural”, however, a lot of his slick, effortless looking technical shots have come out of extreme effort and dedication to his craft over the years. This leads us on to our next point…

2. Master Efficiency

This illusion of effortlessness around the court has been created by phenomenal processes. It looms effortless but is in fact years and years of technical growth. The attention to detail in the technique is carefully crafted to perfection over time (or at least it aims to be!). Nobody is perfect, and so we all need to work at our craft to reach a higher level.

In his personal life, Roger has two sets of identical twins – first girls, and then boys. An efficient way to have a family don’t you think? If this is not a great example of efficiency, then I don’t know what else is!

3. Be Versatile

Federer’s versatility has been described by Jimmy Connors: “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay-court specialist, a grass-court specialist, or a hard-court specialist… or you’re Roger Federer.” A key aspect of his success is that he is able to perform well in all court types. 

How this is related to business is that your business should aim to perform in a variety of circumstances so that it can adapt to socioeconomic changes. Customer/client demands are ever-changing, and so if your business cannot play well in all courts, then perhaps there are other businesses that will fare better than yours in a modern chaotic market.

4. Have Talent

John McEnroe has referred to Federer’s elegant forehand as “the greatest shot in our sport”. Even though without hard work, talent does not pay off, the same is true of the reverse: without talent, you won’t reach the top by working hard. This does not mean that a CEO needs talent themselves, but that they must bring in talent into their business. Federer worked hard, but also has clear talent – he would not have “THAT forehand” without some talent! If Federer’s coaches did not see his talent and take him in as a junior, he would have never made it to where he is today. The same applies to businesses: without bringing in talent at all levels within the business, the business will not make it to the top. Business is a team game – it is not about having one single insightful CEO. It is about bringing in good minds at all levels of the business. Most people will have 99 bad ideas with every one good idea (even CEOs!). So, the more talented people you have in your business, the more chances you’ll have to generate those one-off good ideas.

5. Embrace Change

Stefan Edberg joined Federer’s coaching team at the start of the 2014 season. This has led Federer to play a more offensive game, attacking the net more often, and improving his volley shots. Federer knew that the upcoming youth were going to be more athletic and fitter than he was, so he could not rely solely on long rallies anymore. He needed to work on some more aggressive finishing shots, so that he could beat the younger, fitter players than himself. He was at the top of his game and still worked on changing and adapting his habits. 

As businesses, even if we are at the top, we need to adapt to an ever-changing and advancing industry and ever-improving competitors. Businesses should always be anticipating competitors taking their clients/customers. We should ALWAYS be aiming to improve and change our systems and operations to stay at the top of our game.

6. Be Nice (And Still Profitable!)

Being “Mr Nice Guy” doesn’t mean you need to compromise on your earning potential, in fact, quite the opposite. Federer had won Sportsman of the Year multiple times and look at his earnings! As a business, you can do nice things and still be successful. Federer has done some incredible work for charity; he speaks well of his opponents; he respects his competitors and has kept a gracious demeanour on and off the court. Your business can still raise money for charity, talk well of, and respect, its competitors (whilst out-competing them). If your business can be as gracious as Federer was and still is, then perhaps you can win more people over.

7. Get Some Rest!

The tennis grand master himself is said to sleep an average of 11-12 hours a day! Burn-out is a bigger issue than ever in today’s competitive western world. One of the largest and most believed myths in the business world today is that to be a successful businessman, you must sleep 4-6 hours and spend the rest of your time working. This, however, is false. On a lack of sleep, you will have greatly hindered cognitive performance. Having more sleep will allow your brain to be in pristine condition so that you have the reduction in mental fog and the high levels of mental clarity that is required to generate visionary business ideas. If you want to be at your optimal performance when working, you need to get your 8 hours of sleep at the minimum! Federer is sleeping for half of his life and look what he is achieving!

You have a smart phone, but do you have a smart business?

Modern technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data are revolutionising business and streamlining operations in a way which would have been unimaginable a century ago. In recent years, AI has demonstrated its efficient use in legal research, and the use of robotic process automation (RPA) helps automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as contract drafting and document preparation. The legal industry can benefit from big data with its ability to produce excellent predictive analytics. This allows lawyers to make decisions based on wide samples of data to build legal strategies, such as knowing the probability of a particular motion outcome or how much a settlement award could be. This means that the upskilling and reskilling of legal professionals in these new technologies is vital for law firms and other businesses to thrive in an era of revolutionary digital transformation, especially post COVID-19 as remote working has become a new norm.

We all use smart phones. Smart phones have become an integral aspect of our day-to-day lives. Many of us may have been reluctant to get a smart phone when they were first introduced. We may have been blind to the usefulness of a smart phone’s additional features that older mobile phones did not have. However, eventually, everyone had one. Everyone had access to these features and used them every day. We started to see the use in purchasing a smart phone and have never looked back. Now, many of us may even upgrade our smart phones once every couple of years to keep up to date with all the new features. Why do we do this? We may tell ourselves that they make our lives easier; they make things more accessible; they’re more user friendly; they’re faster and more efficient; they make our life easier. And these are all true! Smart phones do this for us, and it is a fantastic thing. However, the legal industry, more so than most other big business industries, is the equivalent to those people who refused to purchase a smart phone when they were on the rise.

There are plenty of “additional features” law firms are missing out on that other industries are already reaping the benefits from. A survey by KPMG demonstrates that digital transformation is a key strategic priority for CEO’s. A McKinsey report illustrates the extreme improvements that digital transformation can bring to a business: data driven organisations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers; 6 times more likely to retain customers; and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result. However, not enough UK law firms are investing in these new technologies. Fewer than 50% of law firms in the UK are using automation tools, according to research done by Intapp. Additionally, according to the 2018 Sharplegal Report released by Acritas, 25% of UK legal departments are not using any technology, as compared to 11% in the US. 

UK legal departments have always resisted innovation, and this is more strikingly obvious when we compare the UK to other countries around the globe. Law firms have been focused on the plumbing technology (e.g. computers, accounting, etc.) and so have neglected the technologies that will ease the laborious operations that legal professionals experience and better deliver legal advice to their clients. What we should aim for, as law firms, is to improve the customer experience and streamline operations to the maximum efficiency, enhancing our operations into much simpler and easier systems for legal professionals to use.

We need to upgrade our businesses, occasionally, to fit with ever-evolving client and professional needs. Just as we upgrade our smart phones every couple of years to suit our own needs and make our user-experience easier, we must also upgrade our businesses to suit our needs. The clients using our services, as well as the legal professionals operating our systems, want the same thing we want when we use our smart phone: a user-friendly experience. If you do not adapt to the data revolution, your clients, and perhaps even your employees, will find a different phone that better suits their needs.