Online outsourcing is the practice of hiring third party vendors to provide services for your business via the internet. Without a doubt, online outsourcing can add value to your business. However, there are numerous vendors to choose from and it can be difficult to find the right outsourcing partner. Here are some outsourcing tips that small businesses might find useful.
1. Know what to outsource
Generally, you don’t want to outsource anything that is a core competency of your business. If something gives you a competitive edge, you need to keep that in-house. Outsourcing works well for tasks that must be completed but are not central to the core functioning of your business. Bookkeeping, data entry, website development, and accounting are all examples of commonly outsourced tasks.
2. Evaluate different outsourcing websites
There are many online outsourcing websites to choose from such as oDesk, Elance and Guru. Pick a website that makes its easier for you to evaluate vendors and better manage your project. For example, some websites offer features such as skill assessment tests, progress monitoring, flexible fee structures, and past performance ratings.
3. Start small
When you’re choosing to outsource someone for the first time, make sure that you’re not starting with a large project. Unfortunately not everyone you hire will be up to par. Just like in the “real” world, you will encounter employees who can’t get the job done to your standards. Start small and test your vendors. This enables you to see how well they perform and you can be more confident in hiring them for larger projects in the future.
4. Look for teams over individuals
Some vendors work alone, while others are part of a larger team. We’ve found that teams are more reliable and efficient than individuals. For example, if an individual vendor falls sick or isn’t able to do your job, then you’re stuck. Teams have members that can usually step in and complete your tasks. Teams are also able to complete your job quicker than individuals. Naturally, the more people you have working on a project the faster it can be completed. If you find the right team, you’ll generally see better results than outsourcing to an individual.
5. Communicate frequently
Keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your vendor. Setup weekly meetings to track progress and answer questions. This ensures that there are no surprises at the end of your project and you’re able to better manage the project.
Hope this helps and happy outsourcing!