Small businesses have many compelling reasons to outsource, including saving money, improving performance, avoiding recruiting headaches, and more. Despite the obvious benefits, many businesses are unsure how to get started with outsourcing and may be hesitant to proceed.
However, when you choose the right outsourcing partner, you can affordably streamline your business processes and operate more efficiently. Outsourcing can also provide your company with personnel who have specialized skills that would be too cost-prohibitive to maintain with an in-house employee.
We’ll explore how outsourcing works and how you can successfully outsource specific functions so you can focus on engaging customers and growing your business.
Outsourcing involves hiring an outside company or independent contractor to perform tasks an in-house team member would otherwise perform.
Typically, successfully outsourced tasks are low impact and repeatable while consuming significant time and resources, such as:
However, some companies choose to outsource more critical tasks, including human resources, customer service, payroll, and IT.
If you’re considering beginning the outsourcing process, follow these five steps:
Your first step is deciding which workflows to outsource and which to keep in-house. Businesses typically consider the following:
Outsourcing works best when you have specific goals and structured processes and know precisely what functions you want to offload. Take time to prepare to ensure the partnership succeeds.
Create a detailed write-up of the precise functions you want the outsourcing company or independent contractor to perform. This project description will help you:
Post your job or project description on freelance sites such as Upwork, Outsourcely, or Fiverr or create a request for proposal (RFP) and send it to selected companies. When you include all your expectations and requirements in the job description, many less-qualified companies won’t apply, saving you time sorting through and assessing applications.
Once you post your job description or disseminate an RFP, you’ll start getting responses. Responses may be as simple as a Fiverr candidate sending a description of their capabilities and prices or as detailed as a custom proposal from an established company.
When assessing your responses consider the following factors:
After reviewing applications and proposals, choose the company you feel is the best fit.
Designate a point person to interact with the outsourced resource. At first, this will involve setting expectations and familiarizing the resource with the company’s people and processes.
Depending on the task, you may need to consider giving the outsourced company access to parts of your computer network. If so, set up restricted user names on your network for security reasons. Other outsourced partners may only need to send in their work via email or tie their phone system into your customer service system.
To stay on top of project timelines and costs, request outsourcing companies use time-tracking software you can access. They should track their time for each specific task to give you an idea of their time and monetary efficiency.
Tracking tasks and expenses can help you realize when more communication is needed and whether outsourcing with this particular company is working out.
Outsourcing allows companies to focus on their customers and leverage internal resources for growth. Here are a few ways outsourcing can help grow your business:
Every company outsources differently. Use these six tips to customize your strategy.
If your goal is to evolve and expand, imagine how helpful it would be to function with leanness and agility. By engaging with an outsourcing provider, you’ll work with high-caliber professionals for reduced costs. Outsourcing is a big decision and an endeavor you must approach with careful consideration and planning. However, in the end, many companies find the results are 100 percent worth it.
David Lesniak contributed to the reporting and writing of this article.