You don’t have to look too far to find business advice extolling the virtues of outsourcing. And it’s easy to see why. After all, outsourcing can help you buy into high-quality expertise, save you money, and grow your business exponentially. But there are problems with outsourcing that could create a lot of issues for your company. Make sure you follow these golden rules if you want to avoid hiring duds and instead, find your perfect partner. Read on to learn more.
Put people first
Never forget that outsourcing is about the people you hire, not the tools and technology that they use. Too many businesses get starry-eyed at the mention of brand new tech these days, but you have to find the right people to use it if you want your outsourcing project to be a success. The right people will be skilled, have the expertise, and a lot of experience in the fields you need help with. But ultimately, you need to be able to get on with your partners, too.
While many people view outsourcing as a cheaper alternative to hiring full-timers, it’s not an excuse to hire cheap services. The simple fact is that high-quality freelancers, services, or agencies all cost a lot of money, and you will find that settling for less than the best will have an adverse impact on your business. You’re looking for expertise, here – not the opportunity to save a little bit of cash. And you should always see outsourcing as an investment that helps you achieve your goals rather than a cost.
Tie partners in with overall goals
It’s not sufficient to hire partners just because you ‘need a hand’ or ‘can’t be bothered’ with specific tasks. A perfect partnership needs to be tied in with your overarching goals and timescales, and also needs to have a valid business reason to exist. So, the first step is to understand why you are outsourcing, which should include a direct benefit to your business goals. Then it’s a case of discussing a plan with your partner to ensure that they meet – and excel – on those aims.
The legal bits
Contracts are critical when it comes to outsourcing, both for you and the service you are using. Without a contract, you will be open to all kinds of issues, from professional negligence that can damage your business through to disputes about payments. Ultimately, you will find that a firm contract lays out everyone’s expectations on the table, and helps you improve your working relationships with the services you use.
The terms of engagement
It’s vital to understand what success or failure looks like when you outsource. Measuring your ultimate goals against the relevant KPIs is essential if you want to create an ongoing and fruitful partnership. A good company or freelancer will be happy to work towards realistic targets which outlines where you both stand, and what you both want from the partnership. That said, you can’t afford to expect miracles. If every business you approach deems your measures as impossible or unworkable, it’s a sure sign that you are either talking to the wrong people or that you are being unrealistic.
The most important aspect of outsourcing? It’s communication – pure and simple. Excellent communication is the most important key to any relationship in business, and it’s no different when it comes to choosing an outsourced partner. But it’s important to understand that communication isn’t just about you outlining what you want – it also requires you to be able to listen. Don’t forget, you are buying expertise that you don’t have access to right now, and you would be missing out on lots of opportunities if you can’t use your ears.
Don’t underestimate the importance of transparency when outsourcing. There are all kinds of issues that could evolve if you don’t have a clear and transparent way of working – from both sides. Make sure that the outsourcer in question has a proven track record of delivering results from previous customers, but also ensure that they have access to what they need to make it happen. Transparency in your working practices will help you achieve your goals more efficiently, and also removes any issues of conflicts of interest.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about before you go ahead with outsourcing – it’s not as simple as making the decision to hire some help. But, by following these golden rules, you should be able to approach other service providers with confidence, and a solid plan to ensure you benefit from outsourcing.