How to outsource effectively, 9 tricks
Outsourcing can be an amazing resource and can cut your business expenses dramatically. The thing is, how do you know what you are getting will be as good as they say it will be? Sometimes outsourcing can cost your business more money than if you just did it at home. Where, and why, and how you outsource all make a difference. Larger companies even have departments that deal with outsourcing to keep it all under control. In many ways, outsourcing is like hiring temps. It has many of the same benefits and setbacks for this, though outsourcing is a little more wild west than temp agencies if you can believe that. We have thrown together some tips and tricks that you can use when you are considering outsourcing, and we hope it will help you wade through the mud to find the diamonds.
Does it make sense
First and foremost, figure out why you are outsourcing and ask yourself if it makes sense. Just because it’s cheaper doesn’t always mean that you should do it. Forget the romance of outsourcing and really look at the good and the bad, and what actually makes sense.
Don’t scare the employees
In a lot of companies, the threat of outsourcing is the same thing as telling people they are going to be losing their jobs. You don’t want to cause unrest in the company, you don’t want them to start thinking that they will be unemployed soon and start looking for a new job. Talk over your outsourcing as a good thing to help the company grow and ask their opinions (even if you don’t need their opinion), you want to make sure they are on board with it. Spin it as a way to make the company bigger and get them more secure in their jobs instead of the opposite.
You can ask an outsourcing company for clients they have worked with that you can talk to, and see if you can get a better feel of them, but that will only take you so far. You should give them a test period, and see if they can actually do the job, and how much stress it will put you under.
Get the names of the team
A trick that a lot of outsourcing companies do, is they put their A team on a new client, to get them hooked in, then slowly move the client over to the B team or even C team. You don’t know this, but you wonder why the work wasn’t as good as it used to be. Get the names of the team and everyone that will be working on your things, and ask to be informed of any changes in personnel. It will make a difference.
Where to outsource
It depends what you are outsourcing as to where you will outsource to. India, Philippines, Russia, China, are all big players. India is probably the most aggressive for outsourcing, and I am sure you have received many emails telling you they can build or do anything you want. The problem with a lot of these emails are it is often one or two guys that will take your work and then outsource it to another company so you never know what you will get. Russia is probably the best but also the most expensive these days. Hardcore programming, is probably China, but you need to have a good project manager as the workers won’t speak the language. Philippines is great for call centers, and anything artistic. India is good for all around things, but you really need a great project manager, and preferably someone Indian working for you at home, as the cultural differences in business can cause a huge nightmare if you do not understand them.
Hire the stars directly
If you can get the names, you can always try and hire any of the stars directly. Depending on the contract and the company, it might not be possible, but, very often, it is. When you find a gem of an overseas worker it is better for you and for them to turn them into a direct hire. You are not competing with anyone elses work at that point, and you can both get a better understanding of what needs to be done.
Make sure that you own everything
Never let the outsource company own anything, or be able to hold any of your assets against you. You want to be able to say no and move on to another company any time you are dissatisfied. Make sure all work is sent to you and updated regularly.
It’s a bit like making a deal with the devil, you need to make sure that your contract spells out everything you expect, and that they expect. In as much detail as possible, so there will be no misunderstandings or problems later. There are many good contracts online, and doing a search of outsourcing disasters and contracts will help you make a decent one that keeps everyone happy. Really though, where outsourcing contracts are concerned, there is no such thing as overkill or too much detail.
Stay on top of everything
It’s a good idea to have one person in the company act as the outsourcing manager that will make sure everything gets done. If you are small, then that is you, but just like anything, it isn’t just pay and go away. You have to be on top of them always, with set updates and milestones, as well as solid reports for what they are doing and when. Never assume that it’s getting done and they will be finished by the deadline, always connect with them every day and get an update as to where it is and how it’s going. Any failures in communication are yours, and not theirs.
Really outsourcing can be a great way to take your business to the next level, and let you hire people that you cannot afford at home. You just have to think about it logically and be very careful, or that outsourcing might turn into a nightmare and you will have your own outsourcing nightmare story for the internet. Just take it slow, small steps, be very detailed, and stay on top of them, and you will be fine. Welcome, to the big leagues.