As a business leader, you have to delegate certain tasks in order to keep your perspective and generate ideas to grow the business – even if you run a small business. But when you don't have the talent in-house, should you hire or outsource? Many companies are finding great benefits from outsourcing.
Outsourcing isn't always about sending work to India or the Philippines. Many small and mid-sized businesses in the UK outsource functions such as human resources and telemarketing to companies in their own city. But what are the benefits of sticking close to home? And what should you outsource, and what should you keep in-house?
Outsourcing is not always a less expensive solution overall, but outsourcing can allow you to achieve your company goals. Sometimes you have to spend more money in order to focus on your core business. One of TCii's clients reports: "In both telemarketing and human resources, it's been worth it. With human resources, we've found that sometimes our own employees were more comfortable reporting an issue to an outside rep."
Tips for choosing an outsourcer
Selecting local outsourcing companies can help to improve communication and build longer lasting relationships through face-to-face contact. When you do meet with potential outsourcers and compare services, keep the following real-world advice in mind.
How will they do the outsourced job?
Ask the outsourcing company to walk you through how they will perform the outsourced function. When you solicit bids from outsourcers, make sure that the costs are broken down so that you're comparing apples with apples. Companies often fail to ask outsourcing candidates what sort of backup systems are in place in case something goes wrong – and inevitably something does.
Who will do the outsourced job?
You should know not only how the job you are outsourcing will be done, but also who is going to do it. Make sure you know whether the person performing the outsourced function will be an employee or an independent contractor. Find out who is really responsible for the end product, and check out that person's background and experience.
What will it cost to outsource the job?
When you're shopping for an outsourcer, also ask about hidden fees and insurance. If you will be paying your outsourcer a monthly retainer, enquire about when you might be charged above and beyond that. And in the human resources area, make sure they have errors and omissions insurance.
How to manage an outsourcer