Most startups follow a “lean and mean” philosophy. They bring in the talent they need to focus on their core product/service and then sprint to acquire customers and maximize revenue. Crucial as these innovators may be, however, it takes more than big ideas to establish a successful business.
It also takes capabilities that are equal parts mundane and essential: human resources, accounting, maintenance, logistics, and the list goes on. No startup can afford to neglect these pillars of the business – but very few want to invest the time or money necessary building out these departments in-house.
Faced with the difficult choice between being too large or too lean, smart startups pursue a third option: outsourcing. Young companies can outsource almost anything these days, which gives the freedom to operate as they choose. Unfortunately, it also raises difficult questions about what services startups really need and which ones just waste money?
What to Outsource for Startup Success?
The answer is different for every startup, but everyone can apply the same criteria to decide. First, leaders should consider what they don’t need. Befitting the startup philosophy, there are some things ambitious companies can do without if they’re willing to sacrifice some comfort and convenience. For example, a small team can get by without robust human resources capabilities as long as they can at least follow labor laws. Figure out the startup’s minimum requirements for reaching the next level and cut out anything deemed extraneous.
Second, decision makers need to evaluate what really drives their success. Innovative ideas are surely important, but they’re like gas in an engine; without an organization in place to transform those ideas into revenue, they don’t amount to much. While deciding what to do without, startups also need to consider what strengths and capabilities are missing from the company, especially in the context of its current trajectory.
Using these two criteria, startups can rank service offerings as either “essential,” “beneficial,” or “superficial.” That way they can round out their organization investing as little time and money as possible while also avoiding the risk of choosing the wrong services.
When to Outsource for Startup Success?
On this, startups are in perfect agreement: outsource before it’s absolutely necessary. Momentum matters for hard-charging companies. The last thing a startup wants is for preventable organizational or financial problems to hold the company back, particularly when it has the wind in its sails.
For any service deemed essential, now’s the time to investigate options and formulate plans, particularly for services related to accounting and finance. After all, even the leanest startups have to use their money wisely if they’re ever going to fulfill their true potential.
As you explore what’s essential at your startup, count on Edward Thomas Associates to fill in the gaps, bolster your strengths, and lay the foundation of your success. What comes next? Let’s talk.