Make Outsourcing Work for your Business

By Randall Orser | Small Business

How are you going to handle expansion? You need to make some decisions in your business on this front. You could hire staff and the associated risk with that plus the issue of turnover, but this is can be costly and a presumption that the growth will continue to cover your costs. Of course, you could curtail your marketing and keep your business at a constant level you can handle.

However, there is another choice that you can make that not only allows for your expansive without too much of that financial risk as the above alternatives have. Outsourcing is a way to use outside agencies to help you spread the workload. Outsourcing can be a very economical way of propelling your business forward. You do need to do outsourcing the right way if you want to reap the benefits.

Outsource the Right Functions

What is a good fit for outsourcing? Not everything is for sure. The favourable activities are those that focus on everyday administration or other routine work, rather than your core business. A good example, and one I highly recommend, is your bookkeeping and accounting, that’s a perfect choice. By outsourcing this you can draw on their experience without sacrificing control over what makes your business unique.

However, outsourcing any customer-facing activities carries appreciable risks. Your reputation is vital to your continuing success, notably in this age of social media, and you need to retain tight control on your dealings with the public. You’re much better to keep these activities in-house and assign it to a trusted staff member. Or, if you do outsource, maintain control over what is posted.

Prioritize Value Over Cost

Outsourcing can save you money, but don’t forget it’s also about growing your business in an economical way. Find the right service provider who’ll bring the right results, and don’t be afraid to pay a little more, rather than just concentrating on price.

Constantly Monitor Value

Your outsourced value may not stay the same over periods of time. You actually may grow so much that you end up bringing it back in-house as this makes the most sense at the time. Market conditions may also change to the point where your current outsourcing provider is no longer the best in terms of price or quality. Outsourcing’s main point is the freedom it does give you. If making changes will help your business grow, don’t be afraid to do so.

Patience

You need to give it time to develop the right outsourcing relationship. You need to both learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and effortless communications can take time to create. You need to be monitoring the results continuously and carefully, and change providers when necessary, however, cutting and changing too often means your outsourcing relationship doesn’t get the chance to settle and show its value.

Delegation and Accountability

Remember, the outsource company is not an employee, and there’s no loyalty to you or the company and they won’t work beyond their assignment. You need to determine the terms and scope of services they will provide, as well as set out the results you wish to receive. You also need to setup an effective means of communication. Who is the responsible contact on each side of the relationship? You need to make this clear from the start, as miscommunication is almost inevitable if no one is clear on who is answerable to whom.

Don’t Overlook Legalities

As the importance of the function you’re outsourcing grows, the more you need to have a contract, and you should have one for any relationship. If the results end up being not what you expected, you need a clear way out without excessive cost or difficulty. Further, you need to protect yourself from an outsource partner who just up and leaves you high and dry. You can definitely lessen these risks by having a little legal backup with a well-written contract, even the best relationships have their issues.

Outsourcing can be an attractive way to accelerate growth without committing long-term resources or risking financial stability. Even so outsourcing needs to be approached carefully to get the most out of it. Solid groundwork and awareness of the potential concerns will ensure your decision to outsource is profitable.

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About the Author

Bookkeeper Extraordinaire
Number Crunchers® Financial Services

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