Outsourcing your work

There will be times when you feel exhausted and overworked. At other times you will look at your routine tasks and notice one or several tasks whose profitability will seem elusive and get to think like you can drop them altogether. Several times you try to reassign the tasks to different people within your firm but you still get no improvements. After several trials, you may be tempted to drop the task and concentrate on the more profitable ones. What if the task is essential to your cause? You do not want your competitors to get an edge over you for one essential task you dropped. You are left with one alternative: Outsourcing your work.

Outsourcing your work simply means getting somebody outside your firm to do tasks that should otherwise be done by you or your employees. It is about the expertise that can help improve your financial position and sometimes your competitive advantage. There are several ways to outsource including directly hiring a freelancer, contacting an independent firm, or acquiring software.

One controversial question that arises when you decide to outsource concerns which tasks you should outsource without compromising the quality of your products and services. And when should you outsource rather than hire a new employee? Essentially, you should only outsource tasks that you are not good at, tasks that are performing poorly when done within your business. While sometimes the cost of outsourcing may be enticing, some other time it will be higher than you expect to depend on the nature of the task at hand. Before seeking outsourcing services, you need to evaluate the performance of your various tasks. As a rule of thumb, do not try to outsource the tasks that your business thrives in.

The final decision on what tasks to outsource, when, and how to get it done is dependent on several factors some of which are discussed below.

         1. The motivation

This is a question of why you need to outsource and can take one or several answers. One of the most common reasons for businesses to turn to outsource is the unavailability of appropriate talent in the business. Say, for example, a manager requires legal advice on matters relating to the business. In this case, it would be more logical to outsource than to hire a lawyer permanently. In different scenarios, you will want to save on time and reduce delivery time for your project or you generally want to get high quality to specialist firms. For situations where you are often stressed and overworked outsourcing a personal assistant to whom you can offload some of your work may be a perfect solution where you only pay for work done.

         2. The benefit vs the cost

The ultimate goal of outsourcing should generally be tied to the benefits you get by outsourcing. Will you be more profitable while saving on time? What is the quality of the services you get? You do not have to compromise quality over time or finance. Generally, the cost of outsourcing should be relative to the benefits you get. Note that hiring talent through freelance sites will open your reach to contractors who can deliver quality work at a lower price compared to local talent.

        3. How to outsource

Depending on the nature of the task at hand, you will have several ways to choose from. You should consider which method best serves the task delivering desirable results. There are scenarios where software outsourcing will outshine other methods. A good case is when you are dealing with a simple repetitive task like sending bulk marketing emails. However, software outsourcing even though inexpensive may not be viable for all scenarios. Some services would be better provided by individuals compared to firms and vice versa.

Tips to get the best outsourcing provider

  • Take time reviewing your project and decide on a reasonable price
  • Evaluate freelancers based on feedback from clients they have worked for and experience related to your kind of task
  • Make your project requirements and instructions easy to read and follow
  • Cheap is not always good

The challenges

Outsourcing has both benefits and challenges. Some people are enticed by the benefits only to be haunted by the challenges when they are already in a contract. You should always asses any challenges you may face before committing to a contract. Some of the general challenges include:

  • Privacy of data – Outsourcing means you will be working with someone who is not governed by your institution’s rules and regulations. How will you trust them to handle client data? According to Jonathan Gossels, you should only provide outsourced assistants with the absolute minimum data required for the accomplishment of a task.
  • Time – You will often be working with people in different time zones. You need to find a way to be in sync with them for communication purposes. The best way to do this is to find at least one to two hours when your service provider will be available to relay information and assign new tasks. As far as the productivity of the provider is concerned, results should be the basis of the pay. The hours worked do not always match up the quality of the results.
  • Language – This is one of the difficult challenges you can face. In any case, you should avoid working with people who cannot communicate in your language unless you are ready to hire an interpreter to bridge the gap.

Bottom line

While the possibility of outsourcing will be inevitable at times, it is important to consider the ultimate benefits it gives you. The quality of your goods and services should always be a priority and outsourcing the tasks that your business identifies with should be avoided as much as possible. Nobody wants to give their competitors a lead in their core business activities. Different tasks are best served by different outsourcing methods. Always make necessary considerations before outsourcing your work to ensure you get the best results without compromising quality and profitability.

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