Outsourcing provides many benefits. For starters, it’s cost-efficient. You will be hiring a team made up of mostly contractors. You can pay them by the hour or by the project. The responsibility of paying law-mandated benefits to employees on top of their basic salary package, as well as employment taxes, is removed from the equation. That means you can devote whatever limited budget you have to expand the seed of your business idea. That makes the arrangement perfect for a startup.
There’s labor flexibility to consider, too. An outsourced team will comprise people from all parts of the globe. And they will be amenable to adjust to your schedule or work in their own timezone. The latter would mean that while you are sleeping, your business still operates non-stop. Emails are answered. Meetings are set. Reports are written. When you wake up, all you need to do is follow up.
Yes, startups need to maximize outsourcing. To help you effectively build an outsourced staff, here’s what you need to know.
Choose Outsource-Ready Departments Wisely
When it comes to outsourcing, there are what you may call easy targets. These are departments covering duties that are, in essence, possible to be completed independently. Here are some of them.
- Human Resources – Maintaining an in-house HR staff is costly. A vastly cheaper alternative is working with an HR firm that can partner with you on a per-need basis. The scope of jobs these firms can do on your behalf includes recruitment, compensation and benefits, and employee file administration and management, among others.
- Customer Service – All types of businesses need a customer service support team. You can have a pool of outsourced people providing answers and guidance to interested, confused, or even irate customers round the clock.
- Data Entry and Processing – Repetitive tasks are best outsourced, especially those that are tedious and time-consuming. Think data encoding, data monitoring, data manipulation, data analysis, and content management.
- Bookkeeping Services – Unless you are a certified accountant and you can deal with your books accurately, or you have the money to include a full-time accountant in your payroll, your best option is to outsource bookkeeping. You can rest assured that a trained and accredited professional will do the job for you.
- Digital Marketing – This department covers multiple jobs. You have graphic artists, content writers, SEO experts, and social media managers, to name a few. You can outsource these jobs separately or hire a digital marketing firm that offers all the services you require. Either way, you can save money.
Choose an Outsourcing Company with Care
It’s important to hire carefully. Don’t get ahead of yourself and sign an agreement with the first outsourcing outfit that promises you everything you want to hear. Consider the following steps.
When looking for an outsourcing company, research is your best friend. There’s an embarrassment of riches out there. It’s easy to get lost and confused amid all your options. Best to zero in on companies that share your values and beliefs. And, of course, their scope of expertise should cover the jobs you need to get done.
2. Narrow Down Your Options
Make a shortlist of your preferred companies. Dig into their background a little deeper. This time, take your research from their respective websites to third-party review sites. Read client feedback. Refer to testimonials from ex-employees if you can find them. Your goal is to ensure that your shortlisted options are who they claim to be.
3. Make an Initial Contact
Reach out to your shortlist. Ask for a more comprehensive portfolio than what’s shown on their website. Inquire about their recruitment process. You need to be assured that they impose stringent standards when hiring candidates. At this stage, you may also request a quote. Gauge the pros and cons of each option.
4. Look into Client Support
Ideally, your hired outsourcing firm provides dynamic support. After all, you will be miles away. If you encounter any problem with the services provided, you need to be able to reach the relevant people ASAP. If not, your business might suffer.
5. Draft a Foolproof Agreement
The best way to ensure that you get the job you pay for is by drafting an agreement that details all the terms of the business partnership. Consult with your legal counsel, too.
Manage Your Outsourced Team Expertly
After hiring an outsourcing company, the next step is gathering your outsourced startup team. Don’t worry because you won’t be caught blindsided here. You’ll get to interview the candidates pooled for the jobs you offer. And you’ll have the last say as to which ones you want to work with.
Once you’ve made your choice, the ball is on your court. Here’s where your managerial skills will come into play. Here are some focus areas.
- Regular Communication – You do not want to micromanage. That’s the easiest way to burn out your staff. But you can’t afford to be hands-off as well. Balance is crucial. Schedule daily or weekly meetings to touch base with your outsourced staff. Choose convenient platforms such as Slack, Zoom, or Google suite.
- Clear Tasks – Remember that non-verbal cues are excluded from the dynamics of your communication with your remote staff. That means whatever verbal cues you use when discussing tasks should be clear as water. There’s no room for misinterpretation here, especially if you’re paying by the hour.
- A Trustful Atmosphere – Your outsourced staff should consider you as a business partner. So try building camaraderie from the get-go. Show them you trust that they’ll deliver. Provide positive feedback whenever your staff meets your expectations, too. These actions, in turn, will make them trust you.
Outsourcing is not just a trend but a business model that’s here to stay. That’s understandable given the multiple benefits it provides businesses. And those benefits are most pronounced for startups that may not have the resources to follow through with a business plan that involves establishing an office-based team from scratch.
But outsourcing is not just for startups either. Many large companies do it as part of their global expansion. That could only mean that the business model works. So long as you strategically choose which jobs to outsource, which outsourcing company to hire, and which style to follow when you manage your outsourced team, you’ll be in the right direction.