When you run a small business, you can rarely afford to do everything in-house. If you want to grow your company, you have to look elsewhere for some of your processes. You might have short-term projects that need to be completed. Some business tasks would be too expensive for you to do in-house, or they’re not a priority. Outsourcing can be the solution that helps you to grow.
You can do it without it costing too much or wasting other resources. However, if you haven’t used any outsourcing services, you might be unsure about how to start. Use this guide to find the right outsourcers for your company.
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Weigh Up the Costs and Benefits of Outsourcing
Before you decide to outsource any of your processes, you need to work out whether it’s your best option. Like anything you do in business, outsourcing has its pros and cons. One of the main reasons people choose to outsource is that it will save them money.
It can cost a lot to hire someone to perform a task in-house, especially if you don’t need them to do it full-time. It can also be useful if you have a small office, and you want to hire someone to work remotely. Outsourcing can give you more time to concentrate on the core aspects of your company.
However, there are risks and downsides to be aware of. For example, you might choose work with someone in another country. This could present issues surrounding time zones, language barriers, and payments. Outsourcing can also present security risks. You will often have to allow someone new access to sensitive information. Sometimes you might have to be careful about ensuring your contractor doesn’t cut out the middle man and steal your clients.
As for the actual cost of outsourcing, it will vary greatly depending on several factors. Of course, the task you want to outsource will make a difference. You will need to decide on a budget and which areas you are willing to compromise on. You can hire someone for less if you look for people in developing countries. However, it’s important to remember that it’s worth paying more for quality.
What Should You Outsource?
Deciding what you should outsource shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s better to think about it in terms of what you shouldn’t outsource. You should try to do anything that’s core to your products or services in-house. Anything that is essential to the essence of your business should be something you do. For example, if you have a design agency, you shouldn’t outsource anything to do with design.
It’s often best to begin by focusing on administrative or repetitive tasks. Many small businesses start by outsourcing bookkeeping or data entry. Anything that requires specialized expertise but you don’t need full-time can be outsourced too. For example, you can outsource IT support or financial analysis. You should allow for a budget that pays for their expert services.
Know What You Need
Before you start looking for outsourcing providers, you need to know what you’re looking for. If you define your requirements, it will be easier to know when you’ve found what you need. It will also make it more simple to advertise what you’re looking for if that’s the route you want to take. Write down what you need out of the outsourcing service and rank everything by how important it is. If you don’t know much about the task you need to outsource, try to do some research first.
When you’re ready to look for a service, it’s a good idea to start with asking for recommendations. Use your business network to ask if anyone you know has experience with the service you need to use. You should be able to get some tips that will be useful for your search. At the least, you might get some advice on who you should avoid. Ask the people you work with both in person and online. You can use networks like LinkedIn. Or you can just speak to professionals such as your lawyer or accountant.
Advertise Your Needs
If you can’t find the service you need through someone you know, you can find places to advertise your job. There are websites you can use, and you can get in touch with professional organizations. Many people use freelancing platforms to track down the right candidate for them. They can offer competitive prices and a range of skills. But it sometimes means trawling through many service providers. It helps to look at their history with previous employers to see who has proven themselves. You can also use job boards and work-at-home websites. You might find what you’re looking for there.
Check References or Reviews
When you have some potential people to take care of your tasks, you need the ensure they will work out for you. There should be some way you can check their work history and their reputation. For example, you might ask for a portfolio of work so you can see what they are capable of. You can request references and check up on them. Or perhaps look at the reviews and testimonials they have. This stage will help you rule out anyone who could end up wasting your time and money.
Explain Your Expectations
Before you finalize your outsourcing, you need to ensure your service provider understands what you need. It’s essential for you to explain your expectations so that everything runs smoothly. If you aren’t clear about what you want and need, the person or company you hire won’t be able to deliver. Define what you’re looking for so that you can confirm that a potential can do it. Communication needs to excellent on both ends. You need to be able to set out your expectations, but they also need to feel comfortable telling you if they need clearer instructions.
Outsourcing is an excellent way to grow your business on a limited budget. You can save time and money by using an outside provider to perform a range of tasks. However, remember to be aware of the risks too.