Does freelance expertise offer a flexible solution? - BikeBiz

Does freelance expertise offer a flexible solution?

In a market where every penny counts, getting your hands on the right individuals often has a high financial cost. According to Mark Almond, a marketing, PR and events consultant, hiring a freelancer may just be the perfect solution...
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Since going self-employed in 2007 Mark Almond has seen a sharp increase in the number of companies turning to freelancers when they need extra resources
or an additional business skill to complement their team.

“Using freelance talent often brings cutting-edge skills and perspectives that allow jobs to get done faster and better.

“Freelancers help complete projects quickly, without the staff or recruitment costs of permanent employees. They also provide flexibility so, as your business goals change and new projects arise, you can tap into the specific talent you need to get the job done on a pay-as- you-work basis,’’ he says.

‘’In a competitive market like the bike industry, being able to tap into the best talent available as and when you need it for as long as you need it is a key benefit. Whether the client is a shop, a distributor or a manufacturer, the freelancer can get jobs done within the agreed budget and timescale. It’s cost and time effective,’’ says Almond.

‘’Another advantage is that freelancers often possess a number of highly developed business and management skills in a range of industries. This tends to mean a lot of new ideas and an extra knowledge base to tap into for general business matters.”

Despite these advantages some companies still prefer to recruit permanent staff only. Often, the perceived lack of control and accountability of a freelancer deters some businesses from employing them. Almond accepts this as a fairly common perception but one that is quickly changing across the industry.

‘’I can fully understand this viewpoint. However, a freelancer need not be treated any differently to a permanent team member,’’ he claims.

‘’I would always advise a contract be drawn up as it would for a staff member. A good freelancer will happily sign it, agree objectives and targets, fully immerse into a company’s culture and become an integral part of the team. Freelancers rely heavily on references from past employers for future work. As such they will always give 110 per cent to your company for the duration of their time with you. That’s a nice guarantee to have when you take on new staff,’’ Almond adds.

Since starting his own business, Almond has freelanced for some of the best-known names in the industry starting with Fisher Outdoor Leisure at the end of 2007. As interim marketing communications manager, he joined at the same time as Leanne Wellings, Fisher’s marketing manager, and within days they were working together on projects such as Expo 08, implementing advertising plans and increasing press coverage for Fisher’s brands.

‘’It was a great time to join Fisher and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a case of hitting the ground running and working with Leanne towards the company’s marketing objectives. I immediately felt part of the team there and hopefully played my part in Fisher’s success in 2008.”

Since then he has put together marketing activity for a number of local bike shops and bike events. In this time the flexible advantages of freelancers have been repeatedly confirmed to him by fellow freelancers and clients alike.

‘’Freelancers, managed correctly, can be one of the best investments your business can make. How else, for example, could you gain a hugely experienced and widely skilled individual for the cost of an assistant level employee? In these economic times, maximum return is needed on all outgoings. Freelancers offer you this bang-for-buck and, importantly, on your terms.’’

Mark can be contacted via email: mark@redcloudmc.com or by phone on 07739 302698

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