Outsourcing is fast becoming the new global business model. And the main reason is cost. It’s the harsh reality of the current economic environment that has companies looking for new, more efficient ways to do business. If you’re seriously considering to outsource, check out the following guidelines. We’ve come up with 17 powerful secrets behind successful outsourcing.
1. Outsource so you can streamline your processes and focus on your core business tasks. There are tasks every company has to do every day. Tasks that take time and that may be draining your on-site staff who really should be doing far more important things. The time you currently spend on mundane tasks would be better spent developing the core of your business. Outsourcing can take that load off your shoulders.
2. As a business owner, avoid doing it all by yourself. When you’re starting a new company, doing it all yourself is natural, but as you grow you need to hire competent staff to do the work or the company will suffer. So will you. Whether you hire permanent full-time, on-site staff or outsource to freelancers or an outsource company, you need to hire the right people. People who will do the work as well as you, if not better.
3. Outsource your back office tasks to a virtual team. Those daily, mundane tasks are usually ones done by back room staff. Staff your clients never see. So why pay rent for office space to house them? Outsourcing can provide you with the same quality staff and save you money on rent, employee benefits, bonuses and having to deal with nasty office politics.
4. Use technology to collaborate with a remote staff. Technology is great, use it. That’s what it’s there for. Your staff may be scattered over the globe but keeping in touch with them is easy, and economical. You can interface with your staff via Skype, Email, Dropbox and other platforms and it will cost no more than your basic internet connection fee.
5. Extend your company offshore by hiring a team of professionals. There is no reason why your company has to rent or buy office space to house your staff. But not having office space doesn’t mean you can’t have a professional team. And just because your employees are in foreign countries doesn’t mean they won’t be professional or at the top of their game either.
6. Know the right time to outsource. This is vital. Don’t outsource until you know exactly which tasks your company really needs to handover to a virtual team. If you outsource too late you risk having to retrench permanent, on-site staff who won’t be happy about that at all. Here at Outsource Philippines, we can help you make the transition at the right time.
7. Gradually scale upwards. Growing too quickly is often the death knell to companies. Without the infrastructure to handle the expansion the company will collapse. The same could be said about outsourcing. Take the time to find the perfect outsource company or freelancer that best fits with your company. One that provides you with the service you’re looking for. When you’re happy with that, outsource tasks one at a time. Don’t flood the freelancer with work too quickly until you’ve ascertained that they can handle the pressure and the deadlines and still produce the quality of work you’re expecting.
8. Decide carefully which business processes to outsource. This goes hand-in-hand with not doing all the work yourself. Time spent assessing which tasks to outsource and which to keep in-house will be time well spent. There are some tasks that a virtual team can handle easily, but there are others that should and must be handled by yourself or your on-site staff. Here at Outsourced PH we can help you make those assessments.
9. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Only a boss who knows both of these equally well, and how to work with them or around them, will succeed. When outsourcing, find the company or freelancer that can complement your strengths or bolster up your company’s weaknesses. Aim to have a well-rounded organisation. Staff shouldn’t just be clones of yourself. You need staff to complement your business and fill the gaps.
10. Outsource tasks that require special knowledge and consumes a lot of time. There are some tasks that take a great deal of time in terms of research. Staff who can do that accurately or have the specialist knowledge to complete the task are expensive to hire as full-time, on-site employees. But when you hire offshore staff it means you can still hire the same person, or a person very similar, but at a more reasonable hourly rate for a specified time only.
11. Find the right partner or outsourcing company. If you decide that outsourcing is the way forward for your company, take the time to find the right partner. Don’t be guided purely by cost. There are a lot of sharks out there. Don’t be naïve. Investigate their company, their CV, check up on them and contact their clients. Yes, you want the best price, but most of all you need the best partner. One who can, for the right price, deliver a perfect product, on time, every time.
12. Know exactly what you are looking for in a remote expert. We can’t stress how important this step is. Just as with permanent, on-site staff you need to make sure the person or company you’re hiring is the right fit for your company, the work you do and the standard you require. If you wouldn’t hire them when they were standing in front of you, don’t hire them over the internet.
13. Communicate clear expectations. Clear communication is an important part of the work place, whether that place is a fixed, geographical location or if it’s a virtual one. Make sure the outsourcing company or freelancer knows exactly what you want, how you want it delivered and what the deadline is. Your clients won’t appreciate it if the job is done incorrectly.
14. Anticipate cost and determine ROI (Return on Investment). Using an outsourcing company or freelancer is as much of an investment as hiring permanent, on-site staff. In these tough economic times people are desperate and will promise you whatever they think you want to hear. If you’re not using a reputable outsourcing firm like Outsourced PH, it may take you some time, and money, to find people that can actually deliver what they promise. Although one of the main reasons companies are turning to outsourcing is cost, there is one golden rule you should never forget – you get what you pay for!
15. Overcome language barriers. Generally speaking, outsourcing isn’t done on home soil. Traditionally, work was outsourced to countries where English is not an official language. Language barriers are the prime reason why clear communication is essential. So much can get lost in translation. Culture may also play an important part in how things are perceived and actioned. Make sure that your communication is clear, understood and precise. The joy of working with Outsourced PH in the Philippines is that English is our official language.
16. Overcome time zone differences. Although tricky, time differences can be easily overcome. Even a 12 hour difference isn’t too much of a hassle. It does mean that any concept you might have of working a 9 – 5 job will be blown out the water, but with Skype, Email and a bit of understanding different time zones are still workable. One thing you should always bear in mind though is deadlines and how time zones affect the delivery of work. If it’s Tuesday in Manila, it’s still Monday in Johannesburg and Sunday in Los Angeles. It’s very important to take this into consideration when discussing a deadline with your client.
17. Learn to relinquish some control to your outsourced staff. This applies to any boss, in any organisation, whether it’s dealing with permanent, on-site staff or virtual offshore staff. You need to have the team spirit because can’t do it all yourself. But be wise. There are some things you must never relinquish control over – like your banking details and permissions.
Now that you have the foundations of outsourcing and you think this might be perfect for your company, contact us and let’s chat about how we can help you.