How to make outsourcing work for your business

If you run a business, you will know that outsourcing has many good qualities. There is no doubt that you can benefit hugely from outsourcing if you do it correctly as it cuts costs and improves standards. The problem is getting it right in the first place. Lots of businesses make silly mistakes when it comes to outsourcing because they are either ignorant or not focused on the job. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake because then you won’t reap the rewards. To make it work, you need to make sure you cover these bases.

Strike When The Time Is Right

As the owner of the company, you will find it hard to delegate tasks to an outsider. That is reasonable because you don’t know if they are going to share your vision and foresight. However, while you are clinging to power, your business is going to struggle. The time to outsource is quite easy to spot if you are open to the prospect in the first place. As soon as you can’t afford to perform the tasks internally, you need to pick up the phone. Alternatively, you should always consider it when you are wasting time and energy that you could put to better use.

Pick The Right Tasks

In all honesty, you could outsource every one of your business processes and still run a profitable and successful business. The thought isn’t too appealing though because it would mean that you wouldn’t do anything.  What most businesses tend to do is come to a compromise. First and foremost, they start with the tasks that they can’t complete on their own because they lack the skill or the experience. Then, they move onto the jobs that save them time and money. Customer service is a great example of outsourcing a job that saves time and money. Marketing, on the other hand, is something you may delegate to a professional if you lack the expertise.  If you need inspiration, here are the most popular jobs that businesses outsource.

Choose Carefully

The one sticking point you may encounter is the outsourcing company themselves. Although most of them are good at their jobs, some of them are cowboys. If they don’t share your enthusiasm or professionalism, avoid them like the plague. You only want to work with businesses that suit your needs, which is why you need to choose wisely. The best option is to take a look at their credentials. Do there specialize in any particular sector, or are they a jack of all trades type? How long have they worked in the industry? Are there testimonials from their previous or current customers? Answering these questions should give you a better insight into the company.

Business_Process_Outsourcing (1)
By Sumasoft (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Know What You Want

Before you sign an agreement, write down what you want to achieve from your partnership. Look at these goals as a plan. By writing them down, you can look at them and figure out whether you are making progress or going backwards. Plus, it also makes it easier to translate it to your company of choice. The easier you can communicate, the more chance you have of hitting your briefs.

Risk Analysis

Still, it is not just them that can be a problem – you can also present a problem to them. How? You can present a problem through your business processes. You may be focusing on whether it is a good idea to do business with them, but they are doing the same thing. Before they jump into bed with you, they will want to know the risks. If the risks are high, they may not choose to form a partnership. But, if they are low, they will be happy to strike a deal. Any company that asks for a financial risk analysis from you beforehand is a good sign. It shows you that they are a professional and organized firm that takes their business seriously. These are the types of firms that you want to work with if you want success.

Communicate

Obviously, communication is a huge factor in your success as a business. You put a lot of emphasis on communication within your internal processes, so do the same with outsourcing. In fact, it is even more important because you won’t converse with them on a daily basis. As they are not in the office, they are out of sight. And, out of sight means out of mind. All you have to do is send off an email or pick up the phone to make sure there are no problems. Plus, you can make sure that you are getting what you need from them by frequent communication. Remember that they may not be experts in your sector, and they may need help from time to time.speak2

Treat Them As One Of You

The easiest way to communicate effectively is to embrace them into the company. If you treat them as outsiders, your relationship will suffer. A good business relationship is essential if you want the process to be a success, so you need to get on good terms. Instead of seeing them as a separate entity, treat them as an equal. Talk and share information like you would with anyone else in the company. That way, you can achieve the best results possible from your time working together.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that a good thing does not last forever. Your partnership may work well for a time, but it could start to deteriorate. As soon as it does, you need to cut the cord. Don’t stick around for sentimental reasons because it is a business deal, and business comes first. To make sure you are not in a one-sided relationship, review your progress on a regular basis. If the numbers don’t add up, it is time for a change. Or, you should also change if there is another firm that offers a superior service.

Outsourcing is essential, but it is not a foregone conclusion. Thankfully, these tips make it less risky.

 

How to outsource on a tight budget

smart-725843_640If you’re running a part-time business, you’ll be very short of time. You can automate a few  tasks, but the only real way to buy more time is to get help from other people.

The problem is that you can’t outsource work unless you’ve got the money to pay for it. You need the time to earn money, but you can’t get that time until you’ve got someone else working for you!  It’s a vicious circle.

Here are three ways to break that circle… [Read more…]

Outsource your way to success

Anybody who has ever run a successful business will tell you that it’s impossible to overlook the entire project with just one pair of hands. Delegation is a key role of any entrepreneur, and using the help of many people will give your company a far greater chance of reaching its goals.

That can feel particularly difficult when running a small firm, especially if it’s a home-based venture. Hiring people to turn up your property each morning isn’t realistic. Meanwhile, small office spaces often can’t accommodate the number of staff needed to drive a business forward.

The answer is simple: outsource. And here’s how the phenomenon can help your modern day business.

network-889346_640

Admin

Running a business requires a lot of admin. While it might not always be difficult, it can be very time consuming. Quite frankly, you’d have to be very foolish to think this is a great way for the owner to spend their time.

Instead, the internet is packed with willing freelancers that are ready to take care of basic tasks. You can pay them for the job rather than their time too, which means you know exactly what you’re getting in return for your expenses.

Incorporate cloud computing to make the process easier, and you should see great results.

Handling Customers

The customer is the most important aspect of your business. Without them, you cannot achieve anything. Therefore, it’s imperative that you handle this aspect in the best way possible. In most cases, that will mean outsourcing.

CMITsolutions.com customer support experts can help you provide the best services for your clients. Not only will it bring better output, but it should also save you a lot of time in the process. Those hours can be spent actively driving forward.

The needs of your customer should always rank as your number one priority in business. If it requires outside help to provide the best results, don’t be afraid to embrace it.

ball-563965_640

Marketing

Treating existing customers isn’t the only important issue, though. You also have to find creative ways of enticing new audiences to use your business. Otherwise, your sales figures will never increase.

As with customer care, this is a crucial aspect of the business. Therefore, your best bet might be to use experienced professionals to ensure the desired outcomes.

The competition for new customers is fierce, and you must do everything possible to stand out from the crowd. In truth, there’s no point wasting time and money on ideas that won’t work. Not when someone else can produce better results on your behalf.

Finances

Monitoring your finances is a crucial aspect of the business. You’ll probably be unwilling to disclose those details to an online freelancer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use professional help to complete these tasks.

Finding a reputable accountant can serve your business well for many years to come. Not only will it save you the hassle of doing this work yourself, but is will often save you money too. As a novice, you don’t know the finer details. Let the expert help you.

Whatever way you look at it, the business essentially boils down to money. Make sure you get these aspects right. Otherwise, you’ll never know where you stand.

How anyone can afford to hire freelancers

Freelancing Image

If you think you can’t afford to pay someone else to work in your business, then you’re wrong. 🙂

Fiverr.com was one of the very first ‘microservice sites’ on the internet. It’s also one of the biggest and the best-known. The basic premise is simple: people sign up to Fiverr and agree to carry out certain tasks in exchange for $5, which is about £3.50.

The idea is simple, but the potential is huge. And you’d be amazed what you can have done for just $5.

[Read more…]

What should you outsource first?

Outsourcing for a small business means paying someone else to work in your business on a freelance basis rather than as employee. Being able to offload a stack of work to someone else sounds very tempting, but where on earth do you start?

The first tasks to outsource are the ones you simply can’t do yourself, either because you don’t have the skills or qualifications or because it would be a risk to  your business if you tried. Good examples include:

– Web design – if you’re a complete technophobe

– Graphic design – it’s OK, most of us struggle to make graphics look good!

– Accountancy – let’s be honest, this subject takes at least three years of full-time study and it changes constantly. And that’s just the start, there are also many specialisms, such as forensic accountancy! (You can find out more about that at Frenkels Forensics if you’re curious…)

– Legal – would you know where to start when drawing up a contract? Nope, neither would I.

Once you’ve worked out all the tasks you simply can’t do your self,  list all the tasks that you hate or aren’t very good at. These are the tasks that someone else can do far better than you and in a fraction of the time, too! Bookkeeping is high up on many people’s lists and you may be surprised how little it costs to outsource if you find a bookkeeper  who specialises in working with small businesses.

There are plenty of mums with valuable skills who would love to help you out part-time with admin, graphic design, running a PR campaign and many more tasks. If they work from home their overheads are low and they could well do the job for less than you could. That frees up your time to do what you are really are good at, plus growing your business to the next level. You could also free up a few hours by asking a local teenager to help out with post office runs and baby-sitting, or you could get a cleaner.

The internet has made outsourcing easier than ever before. Many home-based freelancers can be found on Twitter, so it’s easy to ask around for recommendations. You can also post jobs on sites like Elance.com and PeoplePerHour.com. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully and look at the freelancer’s track record before you hire them, though. I’ve had some success with Fiverr.com,  a site where people will do work for you for just five dollars (about £3.50). I really recommend giving that a go if you want to get started in outsourcing because it’s so cheap and easy to use.

Ultimately, you should aim to outsource as many tasks as you possibly can. That will free you up to work on growing your business, rather than working within it.

(Note: remember when hiring freelancers to stay on the right side of the HM Revenue and Customs’ rules around self-employment see www.hmrc.gov.uk/employment-status/index.htm for more)

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consideration was received for the writing and editing of this post.

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.