The Ins and Outs of Outsourcing
Scores of businesses are taking advantage of the power of outsourcing everyday. Maybe you’re wondering if outsourcing could benefit your business too.
What prevents many entrepreneurs from taking advantage of outsourcing is the feeling they can do it all, and that they want to control everything about the business. While control is obviously important, giving up some of that control can yield big benefits in the long run. Essentially, outsourcing allows you to focus on growing your business, increasing productivity and generating income – things you can’t do if you’re constantly caught up in day to day activities.
Outsourcing allows you greater flexibility, cost savings, and the ability to farm out the tasks at which you’re not necessarily an expert. Certain tasks, while essential, don’t need to be performed by you, such as answering customers’ phone calls. Hiring a virtual receptionist might prove an excellent move in freeing up your time to spend on more value added activities.
Technology has empowered us in many ways, including enabling many professionals to work from nearly anywhere in the world. In addition, many extremely qualified professionals in just about every field are offering their services, many of whom have left the corporate world by force or by choice. These include virtual executive assistants, freelance writers, marketing directors, graphic designers, paralegals, web designers, bookkeepers, PR directors, and IT specialists, to name a few. Because these individuals work as independent contractors, employers save on health insurance benefits, payroll taxes, as well as physical office space.
So, when is the right time to outsource? Often, business owners may decide it’s time to outsource when they’re taking on a new project or client, and they find themselves overwhelmed with day to day activities, or when they need additional help, but not so much that it warrants hiring another employee.
It’s important to do your research. Don’t farm out a task just because you don’t want to do it. Look at your company’s strengths and goals carefully. Consider the fact that most tasks best outsourced are those that require highly specialized knowledge, such as web or graphic design, or that are highly repetitive, such as answering phone calls and other receptionist duties. Use your established networks of business associates, customers, vendors and the like for finding reliable, quality talent, as well as the host of outsourcing websites available. Communicate your expectations clearly so everyone is on the same page, and you get the most for your money. Also consider that hiring the cheapest talent isn’t always the best route. We’ve all heard it before; you get what you pay for.
Of course, outsourcing is not without challenges. Working with offshore providers can present language barriers and issues of different time zones. Also, the biggest challenge may be knowing that you are giving responsibility for part of your company to someone else.
Outsourcing is dynamic in nature, and should be monitored continually, and viewed as a tool to grow and tend your business. As your company’s needs change, your needs for outsourcing will expand and contract accordingly.