May 18, 2016 | 5-minute read (821 words)
This is a guest post from Dimitri Zakharov, CEO of Impact Enterprises.
Outsourcing seems like a daunting strategy. In addition to giving up some control of your company’s operations, outsourcing can seem to be a quality and safety risk as well as expensive up-front to implement. But with proper research and planning, your startup can benefit immensely from outsourcing non-critical functions of the business.
Let’s talk about how a startup can streamline operations by working with an outsourcing provider. Most importantly, we’ll see how outsourcing your projects isn’t just a boost to the bottom line but can have immense benefits to the top line.
Most obvious, operational costs can be lowered by outsourcing work rather than hiring within. In addition to removing the non-salary related costs (benefits, office space, etc.), outsourcing partners can provide solutions based on your budget.
Just as important as saving money, you gain efficiencies by delegating tasks to a larger team. Choosing the right outsourced provider means bringing in the expertise to get a project moving quickly rather than reinventing the wheel.
Focus on Core Business
You do what you do best. Your sales team should be selling, not researching prospects. Your analysts should be evaluating your data, not fixing discrepancies. Your developers should be building new products, not fixing bugs.
Reduced workload means better reaction time to market disruptions and new client demands. You and your team become better positioned to innovate, not administrate, and stay ahead of the competition.
New Revenue Streams
Outsourcing can help your product scale immensely beyond your current capacity. The right outsourced provider can help to expand your sales team’s reach, by tapping new sales channels via social media, content development, public relations and customer outreach.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Generate organic growth through better customer support. Being timely, friendly and personalized can be a boon for sales. Did you know that 59% of consumers are more likely to buy when brands answer the phone in under one minute? Using an outside provider for your customer support can help you adapt to customer needs on the fly.
Access to Global Talent
With many outsourced providers, you can immediately tap into a worldwide selection of qualified individuals. This provides fantastic selection of support whether you are looking for coverage over multiple time zones, looking for a team that understands a particular foreign market, or just being budget conscious.
Growing means dealing with logistics such as hiring, training, and HR. Working with outsourced providers eases the burden of managing tasks and scaling the team to handle growth.
WHERE DO I START WITH OUTSOURCING?
Finding the right provider can be a detail-oriented process, and if not done right can end up costing more than it’s worth. Here’s the best way to make sure you’re finding the right fit.
Start by looking at yourself
Look at your core team and capabilities - the competitive advantage your company has that can’t be duplicated. Choose what stays in-house, particularly in relation to your goals, so you realize where your gaps are.
Determine your outsourcing needs
Decide what specific value you want from an outsourcing provider. Remember how you can see benefits on both the top-line and bottom-line.
Find providers that compliment you
Just like hiring a new employee, the provider should fill the gaps. Determine what makes them unique and also their limitations. Does the company have experience with the tasks you wish to outsource? What services does the company avoid? Is their physical location an advantage or problem?
Be prepared to scale
Understand the trade-off between upfront cost and long-term growth. Hiring ad-hoc individuals who are cost-effective may not be feasible if your project scales. However, working with a provider that can support volume can be costly in the short term. Match your goals with a formalized management structure so they can grow their project team and oversee the workflow.
Evaluate their standards
Know their history. Check reviews for freelancers and case studies and references for companies.
Know their operations. Does the company have a well-defined training program? How will projects be reviewed for accuracy? How does the company incentivize its employees? Does the company provide development programs to strengthen its managers?
Look at the social impact
With so much selection these days, dig into the impact the provider has on its employees. Specialty “impact sourcing” providers focus on bringing sustainable employment to underserved communities. Companies that invest in their employees will invest in their projects, so see how the provider can enhance your own business’ corporate social responsibility.
An effective partnership should feel like a mutual relationship. The provider should really be an extension of your team. And just like any addition to your team, choosing the right outsourced provider means doing your research both internally and externally to determine how outsourcing fits into your startup strategy.