The beauty of startups and small businesses is that they are very lean, nimble, flexible and fairly inexpensive to run due to their relatively small size, especially when compared to SMEs or enterprise which are the exact opposite. The downside however, is startups inability to do everything required for uninterrupted business operation due to shortage of resources such as funds and personnel hence, need to look elsewhere for assistance. Luckily for them, we live in a service economy which has seen the rise in professional service outsourcing and proliferation of the freelancing platforms phenomenon.
Startups are usually funded by the founders and ran on a shoestring budget for 12-18 months post inception, after which period they tend to remain fairly small in size in terms of number of employees in order to keep the operational expenses low and remain lean, nimble and flexible. Of course there are exceptions to this rule wherein startups turn to Angels and Venture Capitalists (VC) for seed funding and subsequently series A, B and C series funding.
Whatever the case may be, being small, quick and nimble has great advantages in today’s customer centric and market driven economy where needs, wants, desires and pains of the customers are constantly changing. Being small and flat in structure i.e., fewer reporting layers between the CEO and foot solders on the ground who are mandated with executing the overall strategy and achieving the company’s objectives, has enormous advantages as company strategy or direction change – if and when needed – can be done virtually on the fly, almost instantaneously.
The same cannot be said of SMEs or enterprises which are structured differently and usually have a very steep – vertical – structure with many reporting layers between the CEO and foot soldiers. These mammoths may have the power and might i.e., huge and versatile teams, deep pockets, large footprints, market share etc. but are very rigid and slow to adapt to change due to bureaucracy and internal processes, which often leaves them vulnerable.
So what can startup founders and small business owners do to bridge the gap and address the shortcomings caused by the lack of resources such as funds, personnel and functions within the organization? Well, they can simply turn to various freelancing platforms and outsource any one of the functions and or services i.e., admin, accounting, blogging, graphic design, legal, marketing, web development, procurement etc. fairly quickly and inexpensively.
Luckily for startup founders and small business owners, in recent years we’ve witnessed the freelancing platform revolution which has resulted in launch of myriad of freelancing platforms worldwide. On the one side there are older freelancing platforms such as Freelancer and UpWork which boast huge number of members and are of the quantity over quality mentality, and on the other side there are freelancing platforms such as Toptal and Parttimerz which are all about quality of their freelancers and have the quality over quantity mindset.
Considering that outsourcing phenomenon is here to stay and freelancing platforms seem to be doing a great job in bringing the clients and freelancers together in seamless fashion, perhaps startups and small businesses should move away from the notion of having to get big or perish – they can thrive just the way they are with the help of freelancing platforms.