Determining What Parts of Your Business to Outsource

Tue, Mar 6, 2012


Though often controversial in the business world, outsourcing has become a necessary way for struggling businesses to stay vital and competitive. However, if you have never outsourced before, you should understand how the process works in order to prevent mistakes that could ultimately damage your business. Here are five tips you can consider before you dive in.

Planning. Before you even begin looking for a provider, it is crucial to the success of the project you want to outsource that you sit down and make a detailed plan. Who else in your business is necessary to the decision making process? Create a team consisting of everyone you think should be involved and sit down with them to initiate a plan. Ask them to brainstorm, listing the places in the business that require outsourcing. After you have come to some consensus, draw up an outline describing the requirements for each particular project. You should also consider your exact expectations for the potential provider, what problems you want them to address, how much time will be necessary to complete the project, and a close approximation of the budget required.

Consultants. If no one on your team feels that they are capable of handling your search for a provider, you may want to hire an outsourcing consultant. These people are highly capable of negotiating terms between you and your provider. They are also knowledgeable regarding who to hire, as they usually know who is a stable provider and who will prove to be problematic. This will save you time and money.

Patience. You are probably looking to outsource because you want to save money. However, you should keep in mind that you won’t necessarily see savings immediately. Three to five years is the routine length of a contract. Consider the big picture: outsourcing will save you money, but it will also allow you to see that a part of your business that isn’t your main concern is strengthened or maintained. You may even learn more about those areas than you did before.

The provider is also your employee. Remember this tip when conducting an interview with any potential candidates. You should thoroughly inspect their background as you would anyone else you plan to hire. Create a list of questions to pose. You may be working with this person for many years to come. Scout out potential problems before they arise so you can act accordingly.

Start out small. You may not want to rush into outsourcing a huge project with great importance right away, especially if you have never worked with a provider before. Even if you start out small, you can still utilize the above suggestions. That way, if you are nervous or if you make any mistakes, any damage accrued won’t be as substantial. Starting out small also gives you the opportunity to practice a bit so you will be prepared for bigger projects in the future.

Outsourcing continues to grow in popularity as a business strategy. Make sure to plan carefully before your first time to avoid problems that may crop up down the road.

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