So, you want to try outsourcing because you want to stop wasting your time and money on tasks that do not bring much value to your business but are essential to running your operations smoothly. Good for you! Outsourcing has been a dirty word lately, so much so that its advantageous have been buried under a ton of fearful assumptions and misconceptions.
Outsourcing is your saving grace to avoid being stuck in doing certain tasks. These tasks include those that you hate doing each day, those that you really don’t know how to do in the first place, and those that a business owner or top-level manager should not be doing at all. But, where do you start with outsourcing? Do you just call some random outsourcing company and ask for a quote?
Start with a Plan
Don’t jump into the bandwagon just yet. With everything you do, always start with a good plan. Make sure you’ve laid out a strategy on how to assign the work, how it’s going to be monitored, and what your KPIs are to indicate you’ve reached your goals. You should also include measures to reduce risks, such as using encrypted cloud storage to keep your files secure.
Seek and Ye Shall Find
Today’s marketplace of choice by companies looking to outsource or those who have some experience in outsourcing is the online world. You can get a nice list of outsourcing companies from around the world when you type “outsourcing companies” into a search engine like Google or Bing. Just type the words into the blank field at the top of your browser, and you’ll immediately see the results. You’ll find links to the websites of outsourcing firms from India, Dubai, and the Philippines, among others.
Remember the article written about how to choose the right outsourcing partner for your business? Deciding on where you’ll be outsourcing work will help you narrow down the list. Looking for outsourcing companies in the Philippines? You can add “Philippines” to the words you typed into the search box. So, you’ll be searching for “outsourcing companies Philippines.”
If you haven’t chosen your outsourcing destination, then gather a good list of companies that come from different countries. Choose those that seem reputable. You’ll know whether they have a good or bad reputation when you dig deep into web research to find reviews and message threads in forums about that company. No secret or trivial stuff can be hidden on the web.
But, don’t stop there! Try to find a contact number or an email address to send your inquiries and a request for more information or RFI. Legitimate businesses will have registered to their country’s government agency or regulating body, such as the Better Business Bureau in the United States.
What is an RFI? A request for information (RFI) is a standard business process whose purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. Normally it follows a format that can be used for comparative purposes.
Ask Your Friends, Colleagues or Business Experts
If you wanted a reliable source of information about outsourcing, then approach someone who has had experience in that business activity or who knows somebody who did it. People you trust are less likely to embellish their stories. If there weren’t people in your circle who had the knowledge or experience in outsourcing, then ask the experts. Email or call them, send a message through Facebook or Twitter, or send snail mail. It’s important that you get them to answer your questions. Don’t be shy or afraid to ask; part of learning is questioning.
Talk to Someone from the Company
Most of the time, companies looking to outsource don’t spend a lot of time researching on the web or looking up a firm in BBB. It’s best that you go to the source and ask someone from the outsourcing company your questions in a straightforward manner. The salesperson will try to make you say “yes” without looking further into your other choices. That’s to be expected.
Talking to someone face-to-face will give you a good sense of whether that person can be trusted or not. Observe his or her body movements, the tone of voice, and microexpressions you may know about. Thirty minutes of talking candidly with someone are enough to establish camaraderie between you and the other person.
Formalize Your Partnership
Don’t take chances with verbal agreements. Put everything into writing. Make sure the terms are clear and everybody agrees on the what happens when someone does not follow the terms of the contract. Consider what the laws are in the country where you’re outsourcing work to and include provisions that will not only protect your business but also prevent any misunderstanding between you, the outsourcing company and your staff.
While these tips can help you, they’re not the only ones. As mentioned above, seek the advice of those who knew a lot about outsourcing and the changing landscape of the global economy.
Notwithstanding anti-outsourcing rhetoric in the news, you don’t need to search far and wide for credible interviews with prominent economists and academic researchers. Many of the business articles that support outsourcing provide valuable insights into how it can be of great use to a certain extent to small and medium-sized businesses.