What to Watch Out for When You’re Outsourcing
Outsourcing routine tasks or special projects has become more common, especially among small and medium-sized businesses. They may not have the budget or enough work to hire full-time employees, but they need more assistance than what their current staff can provide.
This leads to the benefits of outsourcing, where you hire independent contractors to do the work for you and you only pay for the time they spend working or by the project. However, for the business new to outsourcing, there are several things you need to watch for to assure that you hire the best people for the job.
Outsourcing the Wrong Tasks to the Wrong People
You seldom find a do-it-all contractor unless they are part of a company that provides a wide variety of services. For instance, if you hire someone to design a website for you, they may be experts in the technical aspect but may not be as knowledgeable about producing quality content. Instead of hiring one person to do it all, you would be better to hire a person to handle the graphics and layout and an article writing service to produce the content.
Outsourcing the Wrong Tasks
Some things are perfect for being outsourced while others should be kept in-house. Routine tasks or special projects that require expert knowledge are better outsourced to others, but designing business strategy and managing staff are accomplished best when done by the owners and managers of the business.
Not Creating Clear Enough Instructions
When you are creating a proposal or project description for an outside contractor who is not familiar with your company, you need to be detailed in explaining exactly what you want. Do not expect them to know what you want; there are often several ways to accomplish one goal.
Start with what you aim to accomplish with the task so that they know your goal. Then include any specific details on what you want done and how you want it done. With the example of the article writing service, they can create content for you but you have to tell them the specifics. Do you want keywords used? Are you introducing a product or service or trying to sell to website visitors? When you give detailed instructions, you increase the likelihood that the contractor will be successful in meeting your goals.
Not Following Up
Out of sight, out of mind is often the mindset of businesses that outsource. They don’t think like this intentionally, but it can be too easy to work on the tasks in front of you and forget to check in with your contractor. While this may not be a big issue on short-term projects, it can be devastating for major projects that last over a span of several months. If you wait until the deadline to check in and find it’s not completed or the finished product doesn’t meet your expectations, it’s too late to make changes without repercussions.
It is essential that you follow-up with an outsourced project just like you would with one a staff employee was working on. You should set milestones and interim deadlines to make sure the job is staying on target.
Not Providing Feedback
When you don’t work face-to-face with someone, it can be hard to remember to let them know how they did on a project or how much you appreciate them. However, if you fail to do this, you may find yourself looking for another contractor.
If you have a quality contractor, you want to keep them in regular work and let them know you value their help. While they are doing this work for the income, any contractor who is working on their own is putting a lot of themselves into it. They are in a sense a business owner just like you and invest a lot of emotion and dedication to their career; they want to know that it makes a difference to you.
Outsourcing can solve a lot of problems for a business, but it can also create new ones if not handled correctly. If you are aware of things to watch for as you outsource, you will find that it can be a benefit for your company.