Yes. Run the numbers and assess the risk. When you can free up valuable resources to work on mission critical work by outsourcing, do it. But be careful, it can get expensive when you're cash poor!
Thanks all - for you views. For me YES - everything is now getting global. So you really don't have to worry about each and everything in your business. Just focus on your core business functions - and out source the rest. However finding a reliable and genuine outsourcing partner is very important. Specially for startups - its very time consuming and costly, if you don't get the right outsourcing partner in the first place. I'll manage to post some tips on how to find right outsourcing partners in the first place soon.
So almost everyone agrees outsourcing is good (and sometimes 'a must'). I'd like to post some tips on how to find a reliable and genuine outsourcing partner:
1. Know your business. Know what you're outsourcing & what outcome you're expecting.
2. Review their profile, portfolio and previous work.
3. Speak to them (only email doesn't work well). Skype them or call them at least once. Ask them if they can do your project - if yes ask them how they'll be solving any technical part of it. Ask them what technologies they'll be using etc.
4. Ask them to provide some (at least 1 or 2) reference of previous client(s). You can contact one of them.
5. Aks them if they're okay to sign NDA (no matter if you really need it)
6. Ask them if they're okay to give you full copyright of everything produced ('Work For Hire')
7. Ask them about the prices, payment models and methods.
8. Ask them about the post delivery support
9. Ask them about how they communicate during the project. Make sure you are getting updates on regular basis.
10. Ask them if they understand what you need (many times!) and make sure they really understand it.
Add more points - being based on your experience.
Yes, but not everything. I would need to have some more information about your business to give you specific recommendations. It might mean just having a virtual assistant as an example. It also is depended on your budget etc.
It is probably the best operational means for any startup. You will have an area of expertise which is the core of your business. Make sure you have developed a positioning that outlines your uniquness as a business then outsource key business processes so you can stay focussed on developing your value proposition to drive sales.
If you need something that is not core to your mission, focus and key strengths, outsource it. For example, if your key strength is software and you need hardware, outsource the hardware. Also, in the early days you may not be able to afford a key asset like an experienced CFO or Bus. Dev. person - find a great consultant and outsource it.
Not just for a startup but for anyone in business. Do what is core and leave the rest to experts.
I would take heavy advantage of cloud services like gmail for businesses. For a very low cost you get mail administration, storage, and simple collaboration and document sharing capability. Startups should be focused on getting the business off the ground and not paying an expensive IT team for services you can buy for a couple dollars a month. As you mature, you can shift your strategy toward a more internal model if it's right for you. Also hosted services with hardware included (basically infrastructure in the cloud) can save you a bundle as your capital costs will be far lower, but you need to be very careful of your Service Level Agreements in the contract and if you have something extremely proprietary, confidential and critical to your success, that should not be stored or kept in the cloud/hosted environment.