How do I go about outsourcing when we cannot handle the work in-house anymore?
I am in the start up phase of a web link for business. I am able to handle the production right now but once it gets to a point where I cannot do it in house, how do I outsource and trust the people to handle the volume?
Seek strategic partners from referrals ONLY..... if you can't find that, then you need to do some deep due diligence as to their staffing, work volume, sales, customer satisfaction levels, service levels, etc... You should put full focus on this prior to partnering with anyone. Then most importantly, be sure any agreement/contract formed includes an agreed upon Service Level Agreement - which states what you expect the partner to do, how they service, what you expect from them in order to give them any fee for the work they do.
Also consider the various outsourcing arrangements - all business comes through you then you pay them. Business can come through them (on their paper, so to speak), but your business is part of that agreement, and on a weekly/monthly basis, you both review business and sales, and they then pay you an agreed fee.
Do your homework here.
Finding a trustworthy outsource team is a very difficult task especially when it involves sensitive and proprietary information that you don't want copied or stolen. Do not answer the email spams that hit your business account offering outsourcing services. This is a situation where you want to talk to users that you know and trust. Word of mouth from your closest business relationships will give you the best route to go to find an outsourcing team. If you don't know of any, I hate to say that you can trust me and I can give you some trustworthy names since you don't know me, but you have to take the plunge somewhere. Talking to a person like me who has gone through the pains of developing a professional outsource team is probably a good place to start. Connect with me on LinkedIN, check out my profile, I can help you, and will give you some good advice without looking to profit from giving good advice and some names.
Mary - all of the people make excellent points. One more key consideration is that you indicate that you expect the volume to grow.
Unplanned volume can directly impact the ability of the outsourcer to deliver to the key metrics that should be in your SLA, i.e. you expect them to complete an order in 72 hours from receipt. An experienced outsourcer should require that you agree in the contract to a forecasting process where you provide them with your expected volumes, this could be as frequent as monthly until volumes stabilize or grow at a predictable rate.
If your volume exceeds the capacity that you told them to plan for or committed to in the contract, you will have to make adjustments to your delivery commitments, which could impact your business negatively, or worse, time frames are kept but quality is reduced which could lead to lost clients.
The only exceptions to a forecast requirement should be if the volume you are discussing with them is an insignificant increase to their existing volume, i.e.your volume is less than 1% of similar work they are doing or the people with the skills necessary to do your work are readily available in their location, can be rapidly added, and can take on the tasks with little training. The second only works if the outsourcer has a pool of contingent workers that they have previously employed that can be brought in on short notice.
A number of the contract compliance issues I deal with for my clients stem from a lack of capacity planning from both sides of the agreement.
So, Mary Anne, IMHO the steps would be:
1) forecast (if volatile - high, low, most likely)
2) workflow / role definition (RACI charts work well to summarize)
2) Given the above, revisit the staffing strategy (you might want to chat with a local Score mentor)
3) Armed with above information, if outsourcing still indicated - follow other advice here regarding selection
4) In addition, you'll want to discuss IP protection concerns with a lawyer
Congrats on thinking ahead. First step is to analyze your production process now and start to create standard operating procedures. You'd be surprised how many steps you do intuitively. Next, look at which pieces do not require either your expertise or personality to complete. Those tasks you want to keep but everything else should be delegated. You'll want to take a delegation course to make sure you have the mindset and technique to lead your team well. If you're interested in course launches in March.
There are plenty of outsourcing firms out there (I'm one of them ), the first thing you do is your due diligence. Check for reviews, ratings, and references. You do this after you came up with a budget and job duties for the outsourcing services.
Richard Stern-Check the professional organizations in your town. Find candidates in your profession. Check references. Make sure they have insurance. Have them do a trial example of their work.for you.
Firstly, I would like to congratulate to enter your foot in the entrepreneurship.
Mary, Outsourcing is really a good option to start when you do not have enough budget to hire more employees. As you are new in the field, you might be skeptical about picking right agency to outsource.
While looking for the same, you may check their reviews and ratings from their previous clients via their outsourcing services page as FATbit Technologies does here: http://www.fatbit.com/website-design-company/outsourcing-services.html
You can check their guidelines about outsourcing work to FATbit + their previous clients reviews. This will help you in deciding if the agency is going to be the right option for you to start with :)
TRUST you BELLY, your Belly never lies, your head may say one thing, your heart another, but Your BELLY never lies.....that is how you understand and intuitively know TRUST when you see it or outsource to a new organization
Mary, can you elaborate your question? Web link means links for search engine optimization or something else?
From my own experience I can recommend you to outsource the tasks to non-US developers. To Ukrainian or Romanian developers for example. When I was looking for the team of sofware developers, I realized that finding talented programmers who could fit right into my team and share the same corporate culture and values was very complicated. I was lucky to find this article https://diceus.com/ukrainian-developers-second-best/ , so I decided to try my luck and hire the Ukrainian developers. The software is still in the process of elaboration but it promises to be exactly what I've initially expected. When it's up and running, I will let you know about my experience.