Outsourcing is already widespread. There are many different models of how two companies (or a company and an independent provider) can efficiently cooperate. In case that you are new to services provision or to hiring extra specialists, it can be hard to control everything at once. However, there are some basic things you must take care of. In this article, we managed to gather 22 valuable tips for both clients and suppliers. As the first, we will outline the things you should keep on your radar if you decide to outsource the workforce. As the second, we will get to the features you should handle if you are a service provider. Go on reading to learn how exactly you can promote your career with outsourcing.
If you are a Customer
1. Define your aims
Any working process should start from setting objectives and goals. When you initiate something, you must know what you do it for. What exactly this project shall bring you? Why do you need extra workforce? Ask yourself these questions to receive the clear vision of the reasons for an outsourcing programme and understand your needs. Objectives provide those reasons and let you evaluate the efficiency of your business strategy. Goals actually measure your potential success: those are certain events and metrics by which you monitor the progress of your company.
2. Measure your expectations
Once you state your goals and objectives, evaluate whether those are realistic and complementary to your overall business development. Here, it comes to metric analysis again. Count all possible costs and uncover the benefits, as well as find out how much time those processes will take to complete. Now, specify the desired outcome. If your expectations are too high (i.e. unrealistic), there is a huge risk of failure. Make sure they correspond with your circumstances and opportunities.
3. Take all the costs into account
Your next step should be cost counting. Let’s assume you’ve conducted the comprehensive analysis and got the vision of all the necessary expenses. Now, it’s time to think about the hidden costs. What are those? For instance, you may not find a perfect provider at once. Organization may also take more time and money than you expect. In addition, you will probably have to deal with different time zones, cultural peculiarities, not to mention that your project may change a lot while being fulfilled.
4. Manage the risks
This step is directly linked to counting expenses. In fact, anything may go wrong anytime. To prevent big errors, you must make a complete list of possible risks. Moreover, your job is to work out possible solutions. Keep an eye on every process and monitor the subtotals. Don’t forget to set priorities either. Decide what risks are more crucial to your company and must be managed first, what is the probability for those issues to arise. Forecast how effective your preventive measures may be in various cases.
5. Understand the benefits
Just like costs and risks, benefits should be reflected in numbers as well. Make sure you study only the advantages you get from the outsourcer. Exclude all the rest factors impacting your business development. The core thing you need to figure out is how the potential benefits correlate to your expectations, probable expenses, and accidents. If you see that benefits don’t meet your expectations, your outsourcing strategy must be reconsidered.
6. Search for the cooperation model
Apart from your business model, you must work out an outsourcing model that would actually complement the general development strategy. Take into account that your suppliers (if this is quite a large company) may also have their own model. Therefore, both parties should agree on how to manage different tasks accordingly to those standards. Don’t neglect this step! It is obligatory to pre-arrange your partnership in all aspects. There is no a universal recipe, every team adjusts some widely accepted principles to their exclusive needs.
7. Make out a plan
Establishing a company, you create a business plan reflecting the big picture of your activity. When it comes to hiring workforce overseas, you need a comprehensive plan either. You have already set your goals and priorities, measured the risks and costs, and found the outsourcing model that fits you. Now, include all those factors to your plan for an outsourcing programme. Build a timeline: arrange all the procedures and events to the particular moment. Put the tasks and deadlines; specify what must be done in the case of a delay. Of course, you and your partner should agree on any feature of this plan.
8. Choose the right supplier
This is really not so easy to find a partner matching your aims and principles. To solve a particular task, we usually hire specialists who are more proficient in this area. And this is totally right. On the other hand, you should also have a strong understanding of a problem you are going to work on. There are many factors on which the success of your cooperation depends: proper communication between parties, cultural fit, relevant experience, corresponding business strategies etc.
9. Develop gradually
There’s no need to move forward too quickly. Define what must be managed first and what can wait. Divide the entire programme into stages. Before the project kicks off, make sure you chose a compatible business partner who is committed to work. If there is a necessity to make some changes to your plan, don’t be afraid of taking a time-out. Especially, this refers to long-term projects. The cooperation must bring the mutual benefits like experience, resources, and connections.
10. Monitor your growth
Never let your enterprise run its own course. As the project starts, it’s important to track any changes in your company development. Evaluate all the metrics required to predict the result; this is what must be done at every stage. State those metrics in the partnership agreement and make sure you and your vendor are in unison. Define who is responsible for each metric measurement, how exactly to analyze and report on this.
11. Handle the external relations
The contract should be commercially favorable to all the participants involved. Bother to think about its volume – the document must be all-inclusive and not overly large. Mind its flexibility – the world isn’t stable, neither the situation in your industry is. So be ready to add or remove certain details accordingly to the circumstances. Naturally, all the alterations must be conveyed to your provider. Likewise, track the changes your partner company goes through.
If you are an Outsourcer
1. Measure your worth
Since you decided to become an independent provider or to found an outsourcing company, you must clearly state what kind of services you can provide. It basically depends on your individual and team competence. Undoubtedly, the provider must be a real expert in his area and understand the market needs and trends. As a private individual or a small firm, you can’t specialize in everything; choose something you do the best and focus on it.
2. Pick the right client
There is a popular opinion you should get as many customers as possible. Yet quality must always outweigh quantity – in this case only, you will constantly gain from your work. It is okay not to chase after a so-called “high calibre” client (be it an individual or a company) in the beginning of your career. On the other hand, you may earn a vast audience in the course of time. What is really significant is building long-term connections with your customers – repeat clients will stably provide you with the workload and salary.
3. Understand his wish
Having a strong understanding of your professional area is necessary, but you must be completely aware of what your client wants to get from you. Compatibility matters a lot when it comes to relationships between a customer and a supplier. Study your client’s requirements carefully and arrange all the issues before getting to work. If you make out valuable solutions for his business, your efforts won’t remain unrewarded.
4. Create your own brand
Reputation is one of the core factors for successful professional life. And you must build it on your own by organizing your enterprise properly. The modern world gives you a plenty opportunities – create your website and keep it up to date, as well as your social media accounts. Performing successfully, you may gather the feedback from your clients and ask them to spread a word about your activity. If you own an outsourcing company, bother to define functions and responsibilities of its members.
5. Work on your outreach marketing
Outreach marketing is actually the very basic form of marketing. It implies people tell each other about some things, goods, or services. That’s why nothing can be more effective than making your customers recommend their friends using your help. After a while, your client base will definitely boost and your business will go to the next level. Just make sure you provide really excellent services that are worth advertising.
6. Create an outstanding proposal
The project proposal is the main document telling your prospective customers about the benefits your work may bring. When it comes to hiring a provider or a distant team of workers, companies usually have to choose from quite a large number. The way you make your proposal defines whether you will be chosen or not. How can you actually fulfill this? For instance, you may try some free courses or ask professionals for assistance.
7. Take care of customer service
Maintaining business on your own, you must handle your communication with people. The more pleasant your cooperation is the more respect, clients, and money you get. Great if you have kind of a PR manager at your company, yet if not, this becomes your job. Even if your performance quality is incredible, people won’t be totally satisfied with it unless you are polite, organized, punctual, and open to development.
8. Know how to set prices
The best services aren’t always the most expensive. Track the market progress in order to set adequate prices for your work. In addition, it’s essential to show the prospective consumers that your pricing is the most favorable in the segment. The price refers to the time and stuff you spend performing a particular kind of work, as well as your reward. Specifying it to a client, don’t describe your expenses, but concentrate on the values your job brings.
9. Learn and develop
To grow professionally, you must become a continuous learner. Follow your industry development and open new horizons. Ideally, you should progress from year to year. Good if you increase the range of services available. Since your job becomes better with time, more and more clients will contact you in search of a solution. Combining the perfect customer service, good prices, and self-progress, you will be able to achieve the highest result.
10. Set yourself up for success
You know, everyone has certain problems with his self-esteem. But when you become an independent entrepreneur, it’s essential to feel secure about yourself and your capacities. That doesn’t mean you should overestimate your strong points and pretend to be someone more skilled. It’s you who is responsible for running successful introductions and negotiations. Even if you don’t think you may be good in such things, never give up. Experience comes with time, and you should always learn how to present your business in the right way.
Now, let’s get to the most important factor for your success – communication between you and your client. In fact, poor communication may ruin the entire image of your firm. A customer, in his turn, should also convey his aims, needs, and preferences to you. Not to mention that any cooperation must be based on a transparent agreement. Don’t hesitate to discuss any matters that occur during your working process and inform your buyer about possible delays. Maintaining the contact, you will be able to efficiently solve any issue.