Outsourcing some business functions has numerous benefits for a small business. For starters, trying to do everything by yourself can be overwhelming. It also denies you precious time that can be used in the most important task of growing the business.
By SARAH MORRIS
In addition, outsourcing allows you to hire top talents from anywhere in the globe. Working with well-managed service companies allows you to tap into the benefits of a larger company. However, for outsourcing to be successful, you need to know how to go about it. What duties can you outsource? Whom do you outsource to? What challenges are you likely to face?
If you are looking at outsourcing for your small business, here are some guidelines.
What duties can you outsource?
For most small business owners, letting go of some duties to other people is a real struggle. In the beginning, it is easier to think that you are on top of things by doing this. However, if replying to every comment on social media is taking your focus off important things like business growth, it is better to outsource.
In addition, there are duties that are practically beyond your scope or even that of your employees such as copywriting or filling taxes. Rather than struggle completing them, it makes sense to hire a professional. Since you may have a cash limitation to hire them full-time, having them come in a few times a month will save you money, while ensuring that the work gets done.
Choosing the right service provider
When you delegate your duties to an outsider, you have no control over the work or how it is being done. You technically operate on a trust basis. That is why it is important that you carefully vet the individuals or companies that you intend to give work.
Whether you are looking for someone for a one-time job or for a longer period, be sure to handle the hiring process as you would for a permanent employee. Make use of your networks to find referrals of the best people they have worked with. It is also wise to utilize online job boards such as Upwork and Freelancer.com. Contractors in these sites are rated by previous employers. They also include their work samples in their profiles. Having such valuable information helps you select the most qualified one.
You shouldn’t stop there, however, it is good to get to know the individual better for you to have a better working relationship. If an individual in Denver tells you that he works from a coworking space in Denver, seek to find out more about him. What drives or inspires him? What are his interests? How does he stay motivated?
Lastly, it is good to be sure of what you are looking for. What performance metrics are important for each job? Are you looking for speed or quality? This can as well be a guide on landing the contractor you are looking for.
One challenge that comes with outsourcing is getting work that is below your expectation. Before handing over work, it is necessary to give clear instructions as well as your exact expectations. Never assume that the other person knows what you have in mind.
Payment disputes occur if you have not clearly agreed on the payment terms. It is necessary to do this at the very beginning and have it documented through emails. If you plan to have the service provider for longer, consider having a contract.
If you are working with people from a different time zone, collaboration can be a little challenging. However, with careful planning and clear communication, this should not pose a problem.
For effective working, it is necessary that you provide the workers access to whatever they need. This can sometimes mean access to your IT system, which probably has sensitive and confidential information. Sure, you will be working from a basis of trust, but it is important to put necessary security measures to prevent data theft. In addition, review their compliance certificates in handling client data if they have any. Unless it is utmost necessary, providing minimal data to the service provider allows some form of security as well.
Outsourcing work is a good choice if you want to free up time to scale your business. How well you prepare and choose service providers will determine whether it will be a benefit or a waste of time for you. The above points give you a starting point, be sure to utilize them.