It’s great to have your own company. You get to do things in your own way. You choose how much you want to work and how much you want to earn. You are your own boss and can take the day off when you need. There are also many business advantages to being a one-person company, like getting a small bank loan.
It’s a perfect scenario…until disaster strikes.
What do you do if you have computer problems you don’t know how to solve, legal problems that you don’t know how to handle, and accounting issues way above your head?
Despite what appears to be a disaster, the solution is simple — outsource the work.
If your computer network goes down and you have no idea what to do, you can contact a local service. If, for instance, you live in Ottawa you can contact IT services in Ottawa for on-site support.
Similarly, if you have legal problems, contact a local lawyer; or if you have accounting issues, contact a local accountant.
Outsourcing is an effective solution when you have more work than you can handle or have no idea how to do some work that you need to run your business. You can get the help you need without having to take on a full-time employee.
What’s more, even if you do have employees, you can still outsource when you need more help or expertise than you have available.
All about Outsourcing
When outsourcing, there are three things you should consider—where to outsource, how to assign tasks to outsourced providers, and what to do to outsource effectively.
Let’s take a closer look at these three factors:
1. Where to outsource?
Naturally, where to outsource depends on your situation. Still, here are some ideas on how to find the right person or company.
- Decide whether you need someone in the office or if they can do it from home. If, for instance, you need to have someone fix your server, you need someone to come in and take a look at it. On the other hand, if you need someone to design an application to help you with your business, then locality is not an issue, and you can even outsource to someone in another city or country.
- If you can, get a reference from other businesses like yours. This will save you the frustration of hiring someone who is not as good as they claim. If you don’t know anyone to ask, then do an online search. After you find their website and like what they do, then see if you can get any reviews about their work.
- Outsource small jobs at first. Even if you have a ton of work to get done, test the outsource provider by providing smaller jobs. See how well they do the work. If you are satisfied, then you can give them more work. What you don’t want to do is dump all your work on them, find that they don’t follow through as promised, and end up paying a lot of money for mediocre talent.
2. How to assign work to outsource providers
Only outsource what you need done, with the bulk of the work remaining in-house. The idea is to outsource the work that you can’t handle rather than find someone to do ALL your work.
There are two reasons for making sure that you keep your finger on the pulse of your business:
Firstly, if you outsource all your work, then you will slowly lose touch with your business. As new technology evolves and best practices change, you will start to fall behind emerging trends.
Secondly, another reason is that you can push the pace if you stay in control. Once you outsource all your work, then you have little control over how quickly it gets done. You also have little quality control.
For your business to grow at an effective rate, you have to know what is going on at all times.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should review the outsourced work with the same vigilance that you would if someone were to work in your office. Just because you’re outsourcing, doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards of how quickly and efficiently the work gets done.
3. What to do to outsource effectively
When you outsource, stay in touch with the person doing the work, even if you are working with an outsourcing company. You can do this by getting an email contact address. This will allow you to communicate back and forth about what is expected. The outsource provider, too, will benefit because they can always ask questions as they work on your project.
Only share limited access to your computer system rather than letting someone have unlimited access to your entire database. If someone needs to use an external third party account for a temporary period, say, access a hosting account to set up your WordPress blog, then be sure to change the passwords after they have completed the work.
Finally, be clear on the payment arrangements. This will prevent confusion and conflict later on.
Like Hiring An Employee
Steve Mezak, an outsourcing expert says: “Hiring an outsourcing vendor is like hiring employees […] Think of the offshore team as your own, one that you carefully hire and manage over time to get excellent results.”