When you are looking to get a business up and running, there is no doubt that outsourcing will be an essential part of your early efforts. In the beginning, when you are trying your hardest to break through, you’ll often try to do everything yourself. That, however, is a risky strategy, as it can lead to burnout and crucial mistakes – so outsourcing is a necessity.
With that said, outsourcing in and of itself is like any other tool you can use in a business – it’s about more than just having it to call upon; how you use it also matters, and so does the quality of the service you are getting. In other words, there is no point simply deciding to outsource your accounting, the legal side of things or marketing without first asking a few questions about what you’ll be getting for the (often substantial) money you spend on it.
1. Do you trust the people who will be handling the task?
It’s all very well and good to know what you can and can’t do, and in truth it’s not knowing that which often stymies startups’ chances of success. Just as importantly, though, you need to consider what you might be getting when you put your IT services or marketing in the hands of another business. It’s essential that you meet them and find out not only what they say they can do for you (secure your network against hackers, or deliver a higher market share for your business), but how they plan to do it.
If they can show you figures, and demonstrate past success, then they are worth your trust when it comes to boosting your business.
2. Will they take the lead on the project?
If you outsource an aspect of your business to another company, then you will want to know that you can leave things in their hands and get on with what you’re good at. They’re not just there to give you a hand, after all, they’re essential in freeing you up for other tasks – but that won’t be the case if you constantly have to field questions from them and correct their work. Ideally, you should be able to compile a plan of what you need, then let them action it.
Often, experienced service providers will be the best ones to work with here – an occasional catch-up will be all that is needed to stay on the straight and narrow – but don’t rule out someone new with a convincing and detailed plan.
3. Will they answer your calls?
Arguably the most important factor when choosing a company to outsource any part of your business to is communication. As we’ve noted above, you don’t want them to constantly be asking you for more information, but equally it’s important to know that they’ll be reachable when you need to ask for a change or a progress report.
What’s ideal in this situation is to ensure that someone within the external company takes personal ownership of your task and oversees it to conclusion. When you have a specific contact you can always reach, you can be more confident of the work being done promptly and well.
Outsourcing is a thoroughly sensible way to ensure your business runs smoothly and you can focus on your strengths; just make sure you don’t saddle yourself with a few extra headaches when you do it.
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