Outsourcing - A Strategy for Achieving More with Less
Entrepreneurs and small businesses are always looking for creative ways to accomplish more of their business goals for less money. One strategy that can save time, money and frustration is to outsource to external service providers. Tips for outsourcing include:
Define the scope and schedule for your project
This might seem obvious, but any successful outsourced project always starts with a clear statement of what you are hoping to accomplish. Define your project requirements up front. Service providers need accurate, complete information to present you with realistic proposals and to quote you a reasonable price. Be specific about the deliverables you expect the vendor provide.
Evaluate the service provider
When you’re evaluating proposals from service providers, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just like hiring a full-time employee, selecting a vendor is a very subjective experience. Check their references and ask for feedback from other clients who have used their services.
Look for specific experience fit
The service provider you select will have specific experience with the type of project that you’re undertaking. You don’t want to be somebody’s “guinea pig.”
Don’t choose a vendor based solely on price
Though it might be tempting, never select a vendor based solely on price. Buyers report that their most successful projects are the ones where they felt the vendor offered a balance of good value and quality results.
Review portfolios and samples Examine the vendor’s previous work (their “portfolio”) and make sure that their previous work meets your expectations for quality and style.
When engaging with a service provider for the first time, start with a project that is relatively small and simple in scope. This will give you a better idea of the provider’s style and capabilities before you entrust a “mission critical” project to them.
Get it in writing
During the course of a service engagement, the scope of the project, deliverables and the agreed upon price. Similarly, keep a record of any agreement changes requested by the service provider and whether you accept or reject those modifications. Save copies of any email exchanges that you have.
Outsourcing can provide access to top-notch expertise any time you need it without the overhead of hiring full-time staff. By staying focused on your core competencies and hiring expert freelancers for your other needs, you can compete with the delivery capabilities of larger organizations while maintaining your independence.
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