Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7 Tips You Need To Know When Outsourcing

April 28, 2010 by  
Filed under All Posts, Business Practices

We’re basically a two person operation. We started out working at it part time and have grown it into a 6 figure business over the course of five years, without incurring massive debt. We’ve been proud of seeing our business grow at a time when many around us are failing.

One of the reasons for that is that we have the skills and ability to do almost everything necessary to run our business. This is a strength and a weakness as well.

The problem with doing it all is that it keeps us from growing our business to its potential because we’re too focused on small details, which results in undue stress and information overload.

So for the past year and a half, we’ve been outsourcing more and more of our work in order to meet our goals and streamline our business practices.

The companies we use are eLance.com, oDesk.com and, believe it or not, Craigslist. We have used these companies for web design, graphics design and most recently, research. The people we’ve hired come from our local area, other US states and overseas.

What we like best is that we can go to these sites, ask for people to bid on our job and get responses within minutes. On one job I had 25 bids within a half an hour!

They are a very cost-effective solution. As much as we would like, we don’t have the business needs yet to hire someone on a full time basis. We found this to be an excellent solution for our graphic, web design and clerical needs.

Currently we have a wonderful, bright college student in the Phillipines compiling mailing lists for us. Our cost? $2.50 an hour. We’ve also found a fantastic graphic designer in Ohio and are now working with a skilled WordPress web designer in our local area.

Working with outsourcing companies isn’t that much different than working with other contractors or free-lancers. To get the best outcomes, communication is ESSENTIAL! I can’t stress that enough. If you’ve ever managed people, crew or team, you should know this. From my past experience in Human Resources, I am amazed at how many bright and talented adults still have trouble communicating with each other. Don’t let yourself fall into bad communication practices!

It is important to keep these things in mind when going through outsourcing companies:

  • Make sure the person you hire has a good grasp of English or the language in which you communicate best. The companies we mentioned usually have credentialing systems and give language and computer proficiency tests, so make sure you look at the scores on these. Then communicate with the individuals you are interested in via email to see how well they understand you and if you can understand them.
  • Be very, very clear what you need them to do and the skills and experience they should have. Put a lot of thought into this. Write out a clear job description and use appropriate terminology. Get detailed. For example, stating that you want the person to “do computer research” is not as clear as stating, “use the internet to research all companies in the XYZ industry and compile a list of addresses and contacts of those companies into an Excel spreadsheet.”
  • Make sure they have the experience you need. Be picky! On sites such as oDesk.com, you will be surprised at the number and quality of the individuals who will apply for your position. It will save you a lot of grief, and money, if you take your time and make sure they have the skills and experience to do what you NEED.
  • When you hire the individual, request that they send you back an email paraphrasing what it is they understand you want them to do in the job. If they can spend a little time on the task, have them send you what they have done so far. Don’t wait until they are well into the project to review their work!
  • As the project continues, check on them consistently and frequently. Have them send you status updates on a schedule you specify. oDesk and eLance have internal “meeting rooms” or message centers set up for this very thing.
  • Don’t be afraid to terminate a contract if the person is not performing what you want them to do. The sooner you do this the better. On the other hand, don’t allow the person to complete the job, only to let them know afterward that it wasn’t up to your standards. Even though you may never meet this person face-to-face, it is still imperative to treat them with respect and give them the opportunity to do the job right. Only if they can’t or won’t should you terminate their services. This is just plain good management practice. Besides, not only can you critique their work, they have the opportunity to give feedback on you!

If you take the time to train the person to do do exactly what you need, you may likely have given them a new job skill and created an even better employee for your virtual team.

Like I stated before, consistent communication is key in any working relationship. When this person is miles away from you, it is even more crucial.


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rick Smith. Rick Smith said: New Blog Post: 7 Tips You Need To Know When Outsourcing – We're basically a two person operation. We started out wo… http://ow.ly/17cUDC […]

  2. […] Outsource more: It’s been mentioned before and I’ll have plenty more tips in future posts, but you’ve got to help for your business. It […]


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