Human beings are naturally resistant to change. Perhaps the resistance enhances the survival of the species. Nonetheless, our inherent fear of change often leads us to reject alternative ways of doing things based on the assumption that alternatives are always bad. This happens in the business world all the time.
Truth be told, alternative business solutions are not bad by default. In fact, a sizable percentage of the business solutions and strategies now considered the norm started out as alternatives. If it were not for alternatives being introduced from time to time, there would be no such thing as progress.
Outsourcing Payroll in the 80s
Payroll services were virtually unheard of prior to the late 1970s and early 80s. Those early pioneers who blazed a way for what is now a billion-dollar industry were outliers way back then. Their services were considered alternative business solutions. Now they are mainstream.
It took some convincing before business owners were willing to accept that they could save money and increase efficiency by outsourcing payroll. But once small businesses began getting on the bandwagon, others followed. These days, more than half of all U.S. companies utilize a payroll service.
Self-Funded Health Plans
A more modern example of an alternative business solution is the self-funded health plan. Self-funded plans are not nearly as popular as outsourced payroll, but more and more companies are going the self-funding route. Just as their predecessors did with outsourced payroll, today’s small- and medium-sized enterprises are discovering that self-funded health plans can save money and allow for greater customization.
Just ten years ago, a company deciding to fund its own healthcare plan was odd. The risks were too great. Administration was inconvenient, coverage was spotty, and finding providers willing to offer network services was exceedingly difficult. But things have changed for the better. Self-funded health plans have come a long way over the last decade.
StarMed Benefits (more info here), a Nevada-based administrator of self-funded plans, says that a well-managed plan can provide ACA-compliant coverage that meets MEC requirements at a more affordable price compared to traditional group health insurance. As far as alternative business solutions go, few are as important to the modern era than self-funded health coverage.
Give Alternatives a Chance
There are certainly more examples of alternative business solutions that have turned out to be viable and attractive alternatives to the norm. There are far too many to describe all of them here. The point to understand is that alternatives are not bad simply because they depart from the status quo. To assume they are is to do a disservice to the creators and providers of such solutions.
At the very least, it makes sense to give alternatives a chance. Let them prove themselves in the marketplace. Let us go back to the self-funded health plan as an example. How can a small- or medium-sized business know that a self-funded plan would not work if they do not investigate it first.
It could very well be that a company would not save any money by funding its own health plan. It is possible that going the self-funded route would actually cost more. But assuming that to be the case doesn’t make sense. The company should still run the numbers. They should still compare coverage options. Because if a self-funded plan would be better, not looking into it is to rob employees of a better option.
Alternative business solutions are popping up every day. They are not necessarily bad because they are alternatives. In fact, many of them are considerably better than the solutions they proposed to replace.