Outsourcing – How Do You Begin?
When I first came online more experienced online entrepreneurs talked about the benefits of outsourcing. I was not familiar with the term in 2006 but was anxious to learn more. Over the years I have developed relationships with some of the most amazing and talented people from around the world. They are part of my virtual team and know that I have deep gratitude and appreciation for them and could not have the business I now have without their help.
Outsourcing is definitely the wave of the future. You could pick up the phone in the United States and talk to a customer service representative in India. Alright, that probably won’t happen with your small business but you get the picture. But whenever outsourcing is viable, it will be employed.
Before looking to outsource any of your business work, think about what jobs you can outsource. There are several considerations that are included in that decision. The last thing you want is to compromise the trust of your customers by making a wrong decision.
Whenever you are dealing with a business, there are confidentiality issues. Your clients trust you with both their personal and financial information. Anyone working for you must have that same level of commitment to the clients that you have. Outsourcing work that will include this and other sensitive information about your business needs to be placed in the right hands.
Draw up a confidentiality contract. Anyone who wants to work for you, whether they are an employee or an independent contractor must sign this contract stating that they will not reveal any information that they are given to a third party. Also, any work that they do for you is proprietary, meaning it belongs to you and not them. No one wants any breach of confidence but if there is one, you have a legal right to sue for damages with a signed contract.
Working with someone who is in the same time zone has its perks. You can communicate in the same time and that person can answer you back directly when you call, message, or email them. It is like being in the same room.
On the other hand, a person working in another time zone presents a delay in getting some projects finished. You wouldn’t outsource a job with time constraints on deliverables if your contractor was half a world away. Communication would be challenging to say the least if you needed answers right away. Everything depends on your type of business and how you feel comfortable working.
I personally love the idea that my business can run 24/7/365 because of automation and outsourcing. This just makes sense in our global economy on the internet.
Now, let’s down to the nitty-gritty. What jobs will you outsource to others? Here is a short list of possible outsourcing opportunities:
- Website content
- Graphics and design
- Email marketing
- Customer service
- Website design
- Other marketing responsibilities
You’ll notice that some of these jobs don’t involve any sensitive information. The ones that do require it need someone with the utmost of discretion.
Having multiple websites is important for an online business. Your website is where people will find you, get answers to their questions and buy your goods and services. Static pages, old content and faulty buttons are not going to win you any new customers. A website designer can handle the job of fixing website problems and making it search engine friendly. On your own, it takes a while to learn the ins and outs of setting up a website and keeping it up. Outsourcing to someone with these skills is a good idea especially if you know little or nothing about websites.
Outsourcing involves giving your work to qualified professionals for the benefit of your business enterprise. Large corporations have been doing it for a few years now with great success to their bottom line. These companies outsource jobs to other countries where they can be done just as efficiently for less cost. People get jobs and the company wins on all fronts.
This concept is not just for the big companies. Small business enterprises can use outsourcing to their benefit as well and that doesn’t mean you need to set up a call center in India or even hire outside your country, if you don’t want to. Whether you are running a small business out of your home or online, it takes work to keep everything running smoothly. There do not seem to be enough hours in the day to get all of the work done and if you look at it, not outsourcing is probably increasing your stress and, unfortunately, decreasing your profit potential.
Consider outsourcing as a means of boosting your bottom line and lightening your load a bit. With an online enterprise, usually you are the “everything person.” You function as the bookkeeper, web designer, content writer, Internet marketer, customer service representative and the executive assistant. It could take the better part of a day to respond to all of your business emails or to handle bills at the end of the month.
If you need help, there are affordable choices for small businesses. For you, outsourcing in the virtual world is a great option. People with certain expertise can help your business to grow. The trouble is finding these people and more specifically, the right people to handle your business needs.
Outsourcing works best when you know what jobs you can outsource and which ones are best left in-house. Also, learning the benefits of outsourcing makes you more confident and knowledgeable when looking for an individual or company to contract with.
Once you decide to outsource, you’ll need to know how to find who you are looking for. Creating an application and interview process gives you tools to determine who will be the best fit for the jobs you want to outsource. Virtual assistants are putting a new face on the process of outsourcing and proving themselves to be a great asset.
Is your small online business growing faster than you can handle? It may be time to get some help. Small businesses can benefit from outsourcing just like the larger corporations. Letting someone else handle the day to day tasks frees you up to concentrate on activities that will increase your business profits.
Much of the work that is outsourced is done by professionals called virtual assistants. They are not glorified clerical workers but individuals with a wealth of knowledge that they are turning into a business venture of their own. A virtual assistant with experience over many areas is more valuable to you because of their varied skill set.
Know all the facts before hiring a virtual assistant. This person will be trusted with sensitive client information and has to observe confidentiality issues. Take your time finding just the right person to work with you. Ask questions, interview them and compare applications. Offer a trial period to evaluate their work before any decision about permanency is made.
I’m author and online marketing strategist Connie Ragen Green. I work with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of online income and would love to connect with you. Download my Online Entrepreneur’s Blueprint and get started right away.