Successful Outsourcing How-to Tips for Every Small Business
What Is Outsourcing and How Can It Benefit My Small Business?
Outsourcing is hiring an external provider to accomplish tasks or work you need done, or deliver a service for your business, instead of using a traditional in-house team. Outsourcing can be done by consultants, freelancers, or even agencies. Depending on the type of work you need completed, you might require full or part-time help. You may hear the terms freelancers and independent contractors used interchangeably with outsourcing.
Outsourcing business roles within a company is a normal business strategy today in all sizes of companies. There are a number of reasons why businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses, choose to outsource work:
• Effective Leadership
Your time is better spent operating your company, developing and implementing your vision for your brand instead of trying to do everything.
At a certain point, it is impossible to do everything and do it well. It is also difficult to scale your business if you are spending your time on repetitive work or work that is necessary but can be completed by others.
Small to mid-sized businesses and entrepreneurs often operate on tight budgets and simply don’t have the money to pay salaries and benefits to an entire team of employees. This is especially true in the early years of the business. Outsourcing some of the work can get the job done within the available budget.
• Lower Labor Costs
This is closely related to the Money category above. With a large, competitive community of workers from throughout the world to select, the cost can be substantially lower. If quality work is delivered, it may be well worth outsourcing.
• Increases in Productivity
As a business owner, time is one of your most valuable assets. You and your key team members if you have any, will be more productive because you can focus on effective decision-making and big picture actions that will scale your business. Outsourcing work also reduces bottlenecks in your business because you are not overwhelmed with trying to get everything done. If you are trying to operate your business on your own, necessary tasks might be delayed while you focus on other items. The delays cause additional problems, and you fall further behind. By outsourcing responsibilities, you can manage more effectively.
Outsourcing does involve risks and sometimes headaches. There are benefits to having an in-house team instead of outsourcing, such as having staff members with a vested interest in the success of the business. A few other potential downsides to outsourcing include:
• Loss of Money
If you carefully select your freelancers, consultants, and other outsourced positions, your company will usually save money. However, poor work, unfinished assignments, and mistakes can be costly and damaging, so it’s important to choose your outsourced team carefully.
• Specialty Work
If your business requires specialized work or a unique skill set, outsourcing may not be your best option. You might actually save money in the long run by investing in a dedicated team member who is an expert in the work you need done. Finding the right talent can help your business be more successful.
• Non-native English
If English is a second language, non-native English applicants for certain types of positions, like content and copyrighting, or positions requiring excellent English communication skills, probably will not be ideal candidates. For other jobs, non-perfect English is not a problem. This goes back to selecting the right freelancer for the work your business needs. There are, of course, completely fluent non-native English freelancers with outstanding grammatical skills. You can evaluate the qualifications of each applicant during the hiring process.
• Impact of Outsourcing on In-House Employees
If you have a team or staff, openly communicating your reasons for outsourcing is valuable. Team members may feel their own positions are in jeopardy when they see other positions being outsourced.
Qualities to Look for in Candidates When Outsourcing
• Motivated Action Taker
• Qualifications/ Skills/ Experience
What Are the Best Roles to Outsource?
You can technically outsource almost any of your business tasks. Certain positions are ideal for outsourcing, including:
• Customer Service Positions
• Marketing Strategy and Implementation
• Social Media Promotion and Management
• Content Generation
• Personal Assistant/ Virtual Assistant
• Your CRM can accomplish many roles that were formally done by staffers
Key Components to Outsourcing Success
1. Give Detailed Work Instructions
The job description and procedure should be very clearly outlined. Ideally, you will have a training manual which can be used for all freelancers or other outsourced employees which can be referred to for clarification. You can also hold video conferences for training or explanations.
2. Make It Easy to Communicate
A major factor in successful outsourcing is effective communication. Open the channels of communication via email, chats through Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype, or other similar platforms.
Have a method for sharing files and documents through one of the Cloud-based services like Google Docs or Dropbox.
You can also communicate by having quick phone calls to touch base with the freelancer, or video conferencing for collaborative efforts.
Is Outsourcing Right for Your Business?
If you are currently wearing all the hats, trying to run most aspects of your business yourself, it’s time to consider the benefits of outsourcing. Even if you don’t have the budget to hire in-house employees, you can outsource non-essential roles. You are the leader and manager of your company. Freeing your time and energy for higher-level thinking, goal and strategy development, and having more time to grow your brand because you outsourced time-consuming tasks will help your business run smoothly, scale faster, and be more productive.