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Outsourcing is an extremely common practice in today’s cost-conscious environment. Outsourcing occurs when you subcontract a particular task or project to a company that specializes in that task rather than employing people in your company to complete the task or project.
No matter how large or small your business is you can use outsourcing to your advantage. If you have a very small online business or even if you are a one-man (or woman) show you can utilize the services of an outsourcing company. Outsourcing can be used when you have little or no expertise in a particular area, for example, if you are not a computer programmer you can outsource software development. Another way to use outsourcing is for the mundane tasks that you can train anyone to do, such, as commenting on blogs or forums and other traffic generating activities. If you are not a writer then you can outsource your article writing and if you can’t make videos then you can outsource this too. The key to successful outsourcing is to know exactly what you want and have an extremely specific set of criteria for the outsourcing project. It’s not good to get a surprise when you receive the finished product.
There are many advantages to outsourcing but also there are many potential hurdles that have to be jumped as well. Once you are experienced at choosing the right outsourcer or you have developed a relationship with a select few trusted outsourcers then outsourcing strategy becomes far easier. There are also educational courses that teach you how to choose a good outsourcer saving you valuable time and money and speeding up your learning curve.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing
As with anything where there is good there is also bad. Outsourcing has its disadvantages as well as its advantages.
1. Loss of Control
When you outsource a project you now are relying on a third party to deliver on time. This means that you are no longer in total control of your project! You have to rely on other people and sometimes they take on more work than they really have time to do. They can overestimate their ability and underestimate the time something might take.
2. Quality vs Cost
Even if you get samples of a particular outsourcer’s previous work there is no guarantee that the work that they produce for you will be of sufficient quality or standard. Poor quality work will cost you more in both time and money.If you are not satisfied with the work they have produced you have lost in two ways. You have lost time and you have probably added extra expense to the bottom line. You may have to contract the same job out to a new outsourcer or you may have to do it yourself.
3. Difficulty in Communications
People living in places like the Philippines, India and China have much lower living expenses than those who live in Western countries so they can afford to be paid at low hourly rates. The downside is that English is not their first language and communication will be difficult and time consuming. You may not be able to specify exactly what you require due to a language barrier.
These disadvantages of outsourcing: loss of control, poor quality and difficulties with communication can increase your hidden costs in both time and money. If a project takes three times as long to complete because your outsourcer is of poor standard then you have lost the potential sales that you may have made using a better quality outsourcing service.
The best way to learn more about outsourcing is to get experience with outsourcing yourself. Start with a small project to test a person’s capabilities before you outsource a task that is critical for your business’ survival. Build relationships with your outsourcers and train them gradually as to your exact methods. Systems work really well to ensure consistent results.