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What you need to know about outsourcing

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Now a fully established industry, business owners can outsource everything from their HR departments to their IT. One of the reasons outsourcing has proven to be popular is because of the many benefits that it provides for business owners. It is important to note, however, that there are also some pitfalls to outsourcing that could have long-term repercussions for your business.

If you are considering outsourcing it is important to look at the bigger picture and ask yourself: how will it benefit your business in the long-term? Cost is obviously a main concern, but there are also a number of things you need to take into account when considering outsourcing.

Will it be cost effective? 

One of the most popular reasons for business owners to outsource is to cut costs, but if this is your reason you need to be certain that outsourcing will be cost-effective in the long run. There is no point in outsourcing to a company that is the cheapest option, only to find the quality and reliability of the work to be poor. This can result in you either having to spend time and money on rectifying the work, or you losing customers and clients who start to view your services and products as sub-standard. Alternatively, if you spend a substantial amount on a highly reputable outsourcing company, you need to make sure that it wouldn’t be cheaper overall for you to do the work in-house.

Independent vs firm 

Once you start looking for outsourcing options it doesn’t take long to realise that there are many independent contractors as well as firms that offer outsourcing services; but which is the best choice for you? There are many things to take into account when deciding whether to go for an independent contractor or a firm, including the size and type of your business.

An independent contractor will be likely to provide a more personal service, perhaps even being able to visit your business in person on a regular basis. They would often be more suited to small businesses, where all their clients are of a similar size. A firm, on the other hand, will probably have more resources and staff. However, if you are a small business you might find your work being pushed aside to make room for their bigger clients.

How will the outsourced work merge with your in-house work? 

Some outsourcing is easy to keep separate from your in-house work. Virtual receptionists, for example, will generally not have much of an impact on how your employees work or on your customers. Other forms of outsourcing, especially if it is projects, can have a massive impact on your employees and customers.

If the aspects of your business you’re planning to outsource will have an impact on your employees and customers, you need to have systems in place to ensure that the outsourced work and the work done in-house complement one another. You will also need to ensure that someone in your company takes responsibility for overseeing the outsourcing. This can either be you or a member of staff, but someone should be in charge of making sure the outsourced work is done efficiently and to a high standard, while also taking care of practical elements such as payment.

Lastly, research is key 

As with all business ventures, research is key to ensuring that your outsourcing is successful. It is important to research the company you are planning to use for your outsourcing requirements, as this will help you to know what you can expect from them and the work they will produce for you. If possible, find out what types of businesses they normally provide services for and where your company will fit into this. You will also need to thoroughly look into what the costs are and whether outsourcing will have the long-term required benefits you are looking for.

Derin Clark is a writer, editor and blogger.

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