Contrary to popular (outdated beliefs) it isn’t just large companies that can afford to outsource. The Internet and its associated technologies, such as VoIP (such as Skype) and email, means there is an array of professionals available across the world. You just have to know how to find them, what to ask them to do, and how to monitor their effectiveness.
What kind of jobs should be outsourced?
The rule of thumb is that your core business must remain in-house. Don’t let the important stuff disappear from your reach. Whatever makes your business special has to be ring-fenced so that your competitors don’t overtake you.
Everything else can be outsourced if necessary. The costs are better than hiring permanent staff, because you only outsource the tasks you need to.
Split up the tasks you think may have outsourcing potential into one of three groups: repetitive work, specialized work, and executive or highly skilled work. Admin isn’t just data entry and filing. It comes with many flavors and qualities, as diverse as a Chief Finance Officer, an accounts payable clerk, or a project manager.
How to track down the best outsourcing providers
There are a heap of companies out there, some specializing in admin experts, others that offer a range of professionals. Whether it’s an umbrella company such as http://crystalumbrella.com or a bidding website, you’ll have to sift through the chaff and find the grains of talent.
Don’t grab the first outsourcing company you see, and expect it to be a one-size-fits-all scenario. It might produce a couple of good virtual assistants, but its finance staff may not be up to much; the upper executive-level contractors might be amazing, but the executive assistants not so good.
Networking is a great tool for business. A Chambers of Commerce might not be able to recommend one company over another, but they can give you a list of providers. Trade organizations may be able to recommend providers to you. Asking your Linked In and Twitter networks should draw a variety of well-informed answers, leading you to an organization with which you can work. Don’t just take your chances with any outsourcing website – check out a few recommendations.
How to ensure the effectiveness of your outsourcing
To get outsourcing to work, implement effective communication and great processes.
Communication is a two-way process. It has to work at both ends. Don’t be under or over-wordy in your instructions regarding specific tasks. Details are great, and essential, but make sure you’re talking the same language as your workers.
A great way to get the two-way communication coming back is to ask your key workers to send you a quick email on a daily basis, detailing what they did, the challenges they faced, and whether they have any questions. That way you can get an idea of the productivity going on at the other end in less than five minutes.
If you have a bunch of people working outside for you, organize a weekly meeting for all of you, using video conferencing or Skype, and keep it short – no more than 30 minutes.
Communication is one of the hardest things to get right when outsourcing work and it’s crucial to ensure you get what you’re paying for.
Drive those processes! Processes are structures by which everyone can work, no matter what their job. The best way to do this one time only (and avoid having to train new people up every time) is to devise the processes in as straightforward and detailed as way as possible, using screenshots and video as necessary, and then make them all available in an online training repository.
Using a free blog platform such as WordPress can make this an easy job once you get started. Send your workers there whenever they need to learn a new process and make your outsourcing experience as smooth and effective as possible.