Outsourcing has grown in popularity as a result of the technology and companies at our disposal. It is now possible to outsource anything from digital marketing and payroll, to client service and accounting.
Outsourcing helps you save tremendously on costs and time and can benefit SMEs in other ways too. Think consistency and quality of services.
If you have decided to take this direction with your business, you’ll be looking for ways to ensure the transition goes swiftly and problem-free.
Put simply; outsourcing is giving your work to someone else outside of your actual business.
This could be achieved through by merely hiring a virtual assistant, or even hiring another company to handle certain aspects of your business.
For most SME owners, however, this simply means having someone outside the business do routine tasks remotely.
Primarily, outsourcing should help you make more money and save you time. If it’s not doing either of those, then there’s no point.
We’ve put together a quick yet practical guide on outsourcing which will help you get started. Let’s jump in!
What Aren’t You Good At?
By looking at domains where you or your current employees don’t shine, you will quickly be able to see what you should be outsourcing.
This is also beneficial because you will now have experts covering these segments of your business, which means fewer errors. If there are any, you’ll be refunded in more time.
Outsourcing certain aspects of your business also make it more scalable.
Think about it; if you need your digital marketing to be covered by an external company, you will pay-per-hour for a full team of professionals – a content writer, an ads specialist, a graphic designer and videographer. You won’t have to hire all these professionals individually, and they’re all going to be exceptional at what they do.
Another plus? Outsourcing allows you the time to focus on what’s most important to you.
Clarify Specifications & Expectations
Now that you know what and why you’re outsourcing, you need to outline project specifications and expectations.
From doing it yourself or having previous employees handle specific projects, you will have a good idea of how long individual projects take and what they entail.
For example, digital marketing campaigns could be a one-off for pushing a new product or service, the same as designing a website. On the other hand, things like bookkeeping or payroll will be on-going.
For one-off projects, you should approach outsourcing with a deadline in mind. Always make sure to clarify these deadlines and the importance of them when outsourcing.
Once you have agreed on a deadline, specify the following expectations through an extensive brief which must include the following:
- Project duration
Is it a one-off task, or is it re-occurring/on-going?
- The exact deliverables you expect on deadline day
Be very specific here. Outline every detail of what you expect delivered from the word go to avoid any he said/she said further down the line.
- Expertise required to complete the task
Who will be involved in the project and is there any specific information they need to know?
- How involved you will be
Are you going to be involved every step of the way, or will you simply take a backseat and review?
Keep A Paper Trail
Ok, so it’s 2020 now, and you technically shouldn’t be using any paper at all. Not only is it a waste of time and money, but deforestation causes more climate change emissions than transport worldwide.
Anyways, there are incredible platforms for project management now. When working with an outsourced service provider, you will need to keep track of all correspondence and work delivered. Online apps such as Trello, Basecamp and even Google will help you keep track of all communication and completed work between you and the company/individual you outsource to.
Making use of online collaboration tools is imperative to outsource segments of your business successfully. This way, you can reach your collaborators wherever they are in the world, and most of the tools available include everything you need to bring any project to life.
The most important step a business owner can take to protect their data is to only provide the outsourced service provider with the absolute minimum data necessary for the provider to do their work.
There are useful tools like LastPass, which allow you to share passwords with your new service providers without disclosing what they actually are.
You’re going to be sharing private data with your collaborators, so it is up to you take the necessary steps to protect it.
Finding Outsourced Service Providers
Arguably the best tool available for this is Upwork. They connect professionals and agencies to businesses seeking specialised talent. Hooray for technology!
Here, you can post a job with all the necessary specifics from categories and sub-categories to job descriptions and attachments. So, you shouldn’t have any problem finding the right service providers for you.
If you’re based in the UK, we recommend checking out our services first to see if we offer solutions to your needs. At AVirtual, we cover everything from business administration to digital marketing, and our employees are based in Cape Town, meaning they cost 55% less than what you’ll find in the UK. Explore our packages and services here.