Sometimes the decision to outsource your work is fairly easy for a small to medium-sized business owner. It’s easy to work out if you and/or your staff are working too hard and long on work that others more qualified should do. It’s also fairly easy to calculate that it is less expensive to outsource laborious admin, IT, data management and processing tasks compared to the hourly rate of you and your staff or hiring a new employee.
What is less easy is to work out is who on earth you can trust with your business process outsourcing requirements.
We’ve all heard of nightmare experiences. A business owner finally lets go of some work and the result is terrible. Ask someone of their experience of global freelancer platforms and it’s a hit or miss approach with no real way to hedge your bets on quality output.
And when you get a bad result, not only have you lost the ROI argument to stakeholders, but it’s extra time that you can little afford to re-do the work yourself.
But, if done well and to your business’ standard, outsourcing can be your ticket to taking the next level in business growth. And you definitely want that.
So how can you hedge your bets when it comes to business process outsourcing? Here are six tips to increase your success in choosing the right person for your business’ work requirements.
1. Take control with risk management
I’d love to tell you that you can trust everyone, but that’s not realistic. So with this in mind, you need to manage your business’ risk from you end. (At least at the start of your outsourcing journey.) When deciding on your first outsourcing work project, choose something small that isn’t dependent on it being perfect within a certain deadline. Also, choose work that is for in-house processes – in the early stages, don’t risk your business’ reputation on a freelancer doing work for one of your clients.
Just like any HR situation, interview prospects and take your time to find the right person/s to do your work. Also consider cultural fit for your organisation as you will be spending time communicating with them detailing your work needs – it’s easier if you get along. Don’t rush into choosing a candidate either; there are many wanting to work with you, so take your time to find the best freelancer for your project. Remember also, you can interview via written messages or Skype, so don’t let the global economy stop this process.
3. Look at testimonials
It’s natural to want to help someone out and give them their first job, but be mindful of the risk. Best to stick with people who have a long list of testimonials and can showcase their previous work. This will minimise the risk of receiving work that doesn’t meet your business’ standards and is unusable.
4. Set clear objectives
Don’t forget you are “employing” someone, even if it’s for a one hour project. Therefore, it is important to set clear objectives for your ''away team''. This limits the possibility of things going wrong and having to pay for unfinished work. If you can, set milestone achievements to pay against so you can test their work at a very early stage; if work is not to standard, you have a better chance to end the contract early.
5. Outline the long-term possibilities
Your outsourcing goal should be to have a long-term relationship with person/s you trust to do consistent, quality work at a moment’s notice. The longer the relationship, the more likely this will occur. Outline in your first interview that you would like to work with someone long-term for your outsourcing requirements and ask if they would be interested. Some only want one-off projects or certain types of work, so best to make an informed decision at the hiring stage.
6. Review their work honestly
Help other SME owners with their outsourcing decision-making and review the work you received from your away team honestly. This step also helps the outsourcer, if you deliver constructive feedback. And, you know what it’s like – receive positive feedback and you’re usually more excited to keep working with that person and continue to do good work (reward and recognition).
These tips are actually quite common sense, I know. But you’ll be amazed how people don’t take the time to respect the entire outsourcing decision-making process. In the end, it is the output of the person you hire that will make your decision to outsource the right one.
We at SBA believe we manage all the above for business owners to ensure your outsourcing requirements are met every time. Our quality control process ensures we match staff who do great work and have all the skillsets required for your business’ needs. The bonus is you get to meet their bosses before you hire – ultimately it is our business’ reputation on the line with every contract. Our people aren’t freelancers; they are our staff who can become a part your team.
But, of course, this is easy for me to say. And regardless of my (biased) opinion, you should still do your due diligence and manage your risk for Business Process Outsourcing as above, even with us!