Outsourcing is an essential part of the business world, as any successful business person will tell you. However, it’s one thing to assign tasks to third parties, but another entirely to do it well. In fact, outsourcing the wrong way – and to the wrong people – will often cause your business more trouble than it is worth.
So, how do you go about outsourcing in a successful way, and get the most out of it? We’re going to take a good look at everything you need to do to do your outsourcing work for you. Let’s get started with some of the basics.
Choose the right tasks to outsource
First of all, there are many areas of your business that are suitable for outsourcing – and many that are not. Handing over the reigns of any part of your company to someone else is a big step – and not something you should do lightly. It’s critical that you keep control over the activities that give your business its ‘soul’ and personality. And, also gives your company its advantage over the competition.
Let’s say you are way ahead of the field of customer service satisfaction. It would make no sense at all to outsource those activities to another business. There is too much at stake, and it’s an enormous risk that could change the way your customers view your business. In fact, you should avoid outsourcing any tasks that will have a direct impact on your clients. Instead, focus on the activities that take up too much of your time, and place a strain on your full-time employees.
Let’s take your IT department as an example. As your business grows, there will be a lot more pressure on all your systems, from your servers to your databases. It’s going to make it difficult for your team to deal with the increase in demand on their own, so it makes sense to find an external solution. According to www.LincProject.net, outsourcing your IT can bring several benefits. It can help give your staff ‘the relief and freedom they need to work fluidly throughout each day.’
Marketing is another area that you can exploit when it comes to outsourcing. If you want to explore your online marketing avenues a little more, it’s going to add to your current department’s workload. They may not have the skills, either – in SEO, CRO, or social media marketing, for example. So, giving that side of your business over to someone else brings the right skills to your company. It also frees up your team’s time and energy so they can focus on where their talents lie.
Weigh up the costs
Of course, outsourcing is going to cost you money. But it’s not the amount you spend, it’s the amount you benefit, or can save from the act of outsourcing. The simplest example of this is outsourcing your small business accounts to an accountant. As anyone in business will tell you although you will pay your accountant a fee, the amount they will save you makes that figure insignificant. If your outsourcing makes you a better return, it makes sense to go ahead.
Outsourcing is also about the time you save for yourself, too. Let’s say that you work in a small business and are productive for four days a week, and use the final day to update your records and complete admin. If your time is worth $1000 per day to your business when you are productive, you are effectively paying $1000 on the fifth day to do admin.
So, the simple answer is to outsource those admin tasks to someone who can do them better – and for a price that those tasks deserve. You could hire a virtual assistant for a day a week instead – for $200 a day, perhaps. This gives you the opportunity to spend that freed up time to earn $1000 for five days a week, not four. As you can see, outsourcing can have a big impact on your company’s ability to make a lot more money.
Choosing the right relationships
As everyone knows, business is all about making the right relationships. It’s important, then, to think carefully about choosing the right company to work with when it comes to outsourcing. There’s plenty to think about – and it will take a while to find a company that matches your needs.
Never hire someone on a whim, or just go with the first person you find on an Internet search. The outsourcing process has to be a lot more refined than that, or you will end up losing a lot of money – and a lot of time.
There are some essential things to look at when finding a third party that will give you the right results. Product quality is a must, of course, and the price is another factor. But these aren’t the only areas that you need to consider. You also have to look at the services on offer – do they match your exact needs? If you want to boost your SEO rankings, then an SEO specialist might be a better option than outsourcing to a generic marketing company. But how do you ensure you have chosen the right company to work with? Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know.
The big search
Your first step is to draw up a list of candidates that you think could do a job for you. There are plenty of freelance websites online that could help. And, according to www.freelancer.com, word of mouth is also a great indicator of the quality of service. Online searches are another tool at your disposal, although you should be careful. Ranking high on a search engine is an indicator that a company spends a lot of money on SEO, but it is no indicator of an excellent service.
Look for online reviews of any company you want to work with – and go through their website with a fine tooth comb. If you want to hire a copywriter, for example, their website should be pretty much flawless regarding spelling and grammar. You should also look for testimonials and in-depth case studies. If you can see how the third party has helped other companies succeed, it can inform you on the benefits they might bring to your business.
The interview process
Once you have narrowed down your search to several competent candidates, it’s time to make contact. We cannot stress enough how important it is to arrange a face to face meeting with potential outsourcers or freelancers. Of course, it might not be possible to meet in person, as the right company may be a long way from your current location. But, services such as Skype or Google Hangouts can come in very handy, in these cases.
It’s vital to get to know the people you might be dealing with, to ensure that you know how they work and vice versa. Personality is also another important aspect to consider – can you work with them in a friendly and positive way?
There are some red flags you need to watch out for, too. If the other party seems to be withholding information with you or is less than upfront, it is an indicator that problems lie ahead. A negative attitude is not what you want to hear, either – nor is anything that could be construed as rebellious or rule breaking. You should always choose a business service in the same way as you would a new member of staff. Ultimately, they will be representing your business. If they are doing anything that is against the rules or industry guidelines, they are only going to cause you trouble.
A word about costs
OK, so you have now finished the interview process, and it is time to hire the right company. Who are you going to choose? It might be tempting to plump for the lowest bidder – but it isn’t always the right thing to do.
The quality of work is far more important than the lowest price. And, if you are willing to pay for that quality it will have a positive impact on your business. There is no need to spend a fortune on outsourcing, but there’s a lot of danger in saving too much money and going with the lowest common denominator.
Make sure you strike the right balance between what you pay and the level of service you can expect. Reliable, trustworthy companies will often be able to tell you the results you can expect from their service. There is a fine balance between what you can expect to pay and the results that your investment will bring. It is vital that you weigh up everything before making your final choice.
OK, so there you have it. We hope this guide to outsourcing in the right way makes things a little clearer for you. If you have any questions or advice to give on the subject, don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts below. We’re always keen to hear your thoughts – so why not join in on this conversation?