Thinking about handing off business tasks to a third-party vendor? Here’s a look at seven quick tips for successful outsourcing:
Focus on faster growth.
A growing number of companies outsource routine business tasks to free-up internal resources. “This allows your own employees to focus on other, more important, responsibilities without getting tied up with extra work that can be done more efficiently and inexpensively by other professionals.” (Udemy) To make the best of outsourcing, entrepreneurs can delegate secondary and low-value tasks.
Create a clear outsourcing plan.
First, decide what you are planning to get from outsourcing routine business activities. Any successful project, especially outsourced projects, begins with clearly defined requirements and a clear picture of the final result. The more information you can provide to an outsourcing company about what you are hoping to achieve – the higher your chances are for satisfaction. However, be critical about your scheduling and lead time requirements because it can impact overall costs.
Look at an outsourcing partners’ portfolio.
For example, if you are looking to outsource software development, ask to review previous projects of current and past clients – along with references. This can ease hesitation about working with a company that isn’t local. If you are still unsure of their capabilities, assign a smaller “test” task. If the vendor wants to collaborate with you they will make an effort to meet your needs – big or small. But remember, “test” work is limited as most high-quality professionals don’t work for free.
Set up project milestones.
Creating a precise project plan with time-bound milestones is the best way to develop a productive working relationship. Ideally, you will review the project checkpoints and make associated payments tied to each completed milestone. This is an essential planning tip if you want your project to meet requirements, and receive timely revisions, if needed.
Keep thorough project records.
Everything may change during the process of your collaboration. Make sure you and your service provider have come to an agreement on the scope of the project, the working schedule and payment. Most importantly, make sure you have done all of this in writing. Also, keep a change log or record of all adjustments that take place and save copies of email exchanges.
How well does your new outsourcing partner communicate? Do they offer a key project point of contact or are you dealing with multiple members of their staff? It is crucial that employees of an outsourced vendor can effectively communicate with you and your team. When outsourcing globally, the professionalism and command of the English language should be checked prior to hire. Also, ensure their readiness to troubleshoot ongoing issues and quickly respond to new tasks and modifications.
Opt for the expertise you need.
Outsourced projects are often technically sophisticated projects. For instance, global outsourcing reports suggest “43% of the IT sector was outsourced, 26% of distribution is now taken care of offshore, 12% of call center jobs are found overseas, and 38% of research and development (R&D) is taken care of by workers outside of the country.” This requires special skill sets and expertise. Choose partners with verifiable experience on projects similar to yours. This is help you sleep easier at night.
This article has been edited and condensed.