Top tasks to outsource, top tasks to keep in-house

June 19, 2018

When you run a small business, squeezing more work out of each day becomes urgent.

While “multitasking” has been proven false, many are trying a similar trick—rapidly jumping from task to task. Wrong again. Research confirms that task-switching results in squashed productivity. Worse, it makes people vulnerable to mistakes.

The take-away for small business owners is that getting more done requires getting real help. There’s just too much to do, and errors can be costly. But who can afford to hire more people or contract outside professionals?

Technology can help. Clover offers a suite of apps that simplify core tasks, at a fraction of the price of outsourcing to firms. Let’s look at some of the quickest ways to lighten the workload, along with areas that benefit from closer oversight and a personal touch.

Top tasks to outsource

Payroll: It’s a tedious. It’s time-consuming. And it must be done right. Mess up your payroll, and the IRS will quickly slap large penalties on the business.

Gusto takes care of everything: unlimited payrolls, workers’ comp, benefits, 401(k), automatic payroll filings, W-2s, 1099s, even direct deposit. For a small monthly fee, the app helps you run the operation in five minutes or less.

Clover merchants can download the app on their POS and test it for free. Find out how much easier it can be to pay employees and handle complicated deductions without worrying about slip-ups.

Employee scheduling: Scheduling can be the ultimate example of task-switching. Gathering input, putting out schedules, rearranging time slots as the change requests pour in—it’s a massive productivity buster!

Technology can do it faster and better. Time Clock by Homebase lets you quickly build schedules and share them by email or text. The app automatically manages time-off requests and shift trades, and it sends reminders before shifts begin.

The app even gathers hours for payroll, handles tips, and offers a real-time analysis of labor expenses. Best of all, it comes free with the Clover POS.

Bookkeeping: Who has time to manage sales data on top of running a small business? No one, of course. And no one needs to, either.

When you close up for the day, Commerce Sync transfers sales data into Quickbooks or Zero. Wake up, and the previous day’s sales, fees, taxes, tips, discounts, and more have been added to your accounting software. You can even track sales by categories, or consolidate figures from multiple locations into a single report.

Customers report saving 300 hours a year—or $15,000 in manual data-entry expenses. One affordable app is all it takes to keep the books accurate and complete.

SEO for Web Presence: With digital tools, marketing can be quick and inexpensive. But it can also be a never-ending task, with little visible impact to the bottom line.

That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) stands out. SEO organically positions a website at the top of customers’ searches. It’s one of the most effective ways to let people know about your business.

Step one is to create a Google My Business account to ensure that listings pop up in local search results. Next, make sure that relevant keywords appear in your website, blogs, social media, and other content.

Inexpensive apps such TAPLocal Marketing will score your efforts and make suggestions for achieving 100-percent accuracy. Using SEO business-listing optimization drives people through the doors—big results from little effort.

Top tasks to keep in-house

Hiring: Some tasks can’t be outsourced effectively, especially for small businesses. While big companies might rely on HR departments or outside firms to get great people on board, small businesses need a personal approach—particularly when low unemployment makes it harder to find employees.

Create great buzz about working for your business. Get referrals from current employees. Offer low-cost perks to sweeten the deal. All of these can help attract strong candidates with the right attitudes, energy, and willingness to learn. It’s up to you to spot them and bring them on board.

To make the mechanics of hiring a little easier, check out these free HR resources from Homebase, including job descriptions, new hire forms, hiring guides, performance reviews, and more.

Training: Like hiring, in-house training is not only cheaper than using external trainers, but also more effective. Small business owners know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.

But while the immediate goal is to get newcomers up to speed in their roles, it’s also helpful to think bigger and further ahead. As time allows, train reliable employees in every aspect of the business—from frontline service to behind-the-scenes operations. Teach them to step into your shoes when you’re not there. Get experienced employees who excel in specific areas to take on training roles.

Employees who feel competent, valued, and continually gaining skills are more likely to stay engaged and committed.

Customer service: You and your team are the face of the business. Every interaction can entice customers back or drive them away. But it’s not just face-to-face encounters at your main location that count. Phone calls, email exchanges, social media, and mobile operations are equally important.

Ensuring a positive experience at every touchpoint falls to business owners. No one is better at training employees properly, setting the tone for communications, and resolving problems promptly.

To keep customers happy, keep customer service in house.

Everyone needs help running a business. When you put repetitive tasks on autopilot, there’s more time to look after the personal interactions that bring customers back again and again.

Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at