When should you Outsource?

© by Damek

Outsourcing has been recently viewed as the cure-all for many business problems.

  • Costs too high?  Eliminate some of your jobs, and outsource the rest.
  • Is there a skill that you need but don’t have?  Don’t fret – outsource that aspect.
  • Is your job getting too time consuming?  Not a problem – outsource it, so you can sit on a beach and drink margaritas all day.

Obviously things aren’t so simple.  Before you start outsourcing your life away, I’d first take stock of a few areas.

What are you good at?

Obviously if there is something you are good at yourself, then it may not be something you need to outsource.  Then again, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you want to always do it yourself.  If it’s an area that you’re confident in, you can still benefit from outsourcing it out for a cheaper price.  You can then use your skills to make sure the quality of the outsourcing is up to your standard.

What are you not good at, but need done?

Here is where you have to make the decision on whether you prefer having someone in-house versus having it outsourced.  I would recommend someone in-house when:

  1. There is a lot of explanation required, that would benefit from face to face interaction.
  2. There is enough work available for a person to work full time on it, or have regular part time hours doing it.
  3. It is an important enough job that you’re willing to pay more for someone locally to have it done.

I would recommend outsourcing it when:

  1. The workload is inconsistent and is on a project by project basis, rather than regular hours.
  2. Quality control can be maintained from afar.
  3. You are comfortable using online tools for communication such as email, screen sharing tools, Skype and other chat clients.
  4. You are able to transfer your vision into a document that your outsourcing counterpart would understand.

Other factors to consider:

Create your own set of rules for what you want your business to look like.  For me, I wanted to be the face of the business and handle all customer service issues myself.  So that was one part I didn’t outsource.  Fortunately it was quite manageable.  If it wasn’t, then I would have been forced to reconsider.

Make your own set of rules for what you want to do yourself, what you want your in house staff to handle and finally what you’re willing to outsource.  Doing so will go a long way towards improving the efficiency of your organization.

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