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Outsource This

Startup businesses, long a mainstay of the Canadian economy, are about to flood the market in unprecedented numbers. According to a new report from the CIBC, more than half a million entrepreneurs will launch their own companies this year — the strongest show of startup activity Canada has witnessed. Ever.

Crediting a cultural shift toward me-centred self-betterment, the emergence of sprawling and interconnected markets that call for increased specialization, ever-more-sophisticated technology and a host of startup-friendly demographic trends, CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal forecasts a net gain of 150,000 new Canadian businesses in the next decade.

Such giddily expansive news calls for assiduous contemplation among those statistics-swelling individuals who will lead this charge.

Consider this: Bushy-tailed new companies can help themselves immeasurably by dipping into a recruitment firm’s commitment-free offerings in their earliest days.

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Given that startups generally can’t afford to hire many employees right out of the gate, or aren’t immediately blessed with a team equipped with every skill they need, short-term recruitment makes eminent sense. Rather than loading itself up with the financial and temporal demands of large-scale hiring, a new organization can outsource to fill its skills gap and promote business growth — before committing to a full complement of staffers.

And why not? Outsourcing means bootstrapped little guys can effectively hire a virtual staff of souls who are, technically, contractors, but are otherwise indistinguishable from full-time employees.

In today’s startup landscape, practically everything can be outsourced.

Some tasks, however, make more sense to shuffle off than others, such as those that involve client relations or require specific experience or creativity. Outsourcing stuff that’s central to your business probably isn’t a good idea, given the way it opens up the store to potential hijacking. You should own and oversee your IP/architecture, say the experts. And relinquishing product management to an outsider probably isn’t too clever, either.

But there’s plenty of opportunity for an excellent recruitment firm to step in and take over some of the heavy lifting from a startup’s overextended early days. Among the categories best suited to outsourcing:

  • social media marketing
  • R&D
  • data entry
  • system administration
  • software development
  • graphic design.
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