The Savvy SME – How to Leverage Interns, Freelancers and Outsourced Employees
Navigating the SME landscape isn’t easy. In fact, according to the latest statistics, 96% of SMEs fail within the first 10 years. But that’s not to say success isn’t possible. With the right approach, you can empower your SME with a business model designed to not only unlock, but secure long-term success.
At the core of this model is an unorthodox approach to recruitment. We’re talking interns, freelancers and outsourced employees. So what are the benefits?
Tap into a diverse talent pool
The internet has categorically transformed the way businesses hire, and freelancers are at the core of the metamorphosis. An increasing number of SMEs are joining the freelance revolution, and beginning to realise the value in hiring ad hoc employees over full-time team members. The major benefit is the fact that they offer superlative flexibility. If you need a job done, hire a freelancer. When it’s finished, simply end the contract. This frees SMEs from the burden of taking on full-time employees, and paying full-time wages as a result. Plus, freelancers are reliable, efficient and tend to specialise in their fields, which means they hit the ground running. In other words, no training required.
Platforms like People Per Hour and Upwork are fantastic places to source freelancers specialising in a kaleidoscope of different tasks. Whether you need an inspiring new logo, a polished business plan, a revamped website or a year’s worth of blog content, there’s a freelancer for that.
Trade opportunities for labour
When it comes to free labour, interns are an insanely valuable resource. But we can’t stress enough that the relationship has to be mutually beneficial. Interns are not there to hook up the office with lattes, dust shelves and file paperwork for hours on end. Our advice? Take the time to develop a stellar internship programme, and use it to attract the crème de la crème of university graduates in search of all-important experience. This may involve some form of monetary compensation, though if your programme is enriching enough it doesn’t have to.
Outsource your weaknesses
One of the best-kept secrets to entrepreneurial success is to know when to back down. Yes, it’s all too tempting to try and take on all responsibilities, but the reality is that unless you’re some kind of business deity, the chances are that you’ve got a vice or two. By ignoring your incompetence you can really stall the growth of your business, and prevent yourself from adding as much value as you can.
For example, you may run your own boutique clothing brand but insist on spending hours on end slaving over your taxes. When really, you’d be far better off outsourcing your number crunching to an accountant, who can complete the task in a fraction of the time. You’re then free to focus on what you do best, and can easily offset the cost of the accountant in the form of increased productivity.
If you run a SME, interns, freelancers and outsourced employees should unconditionally be on your radar.