Outsourcing is getting more and more popular and has evolved a lot but people keep associating it with poor quality or frustrating calls with a customer support guy with a thick accent from halfway around the world.
Outsourcing is a skill that can be learned. Below are the deadly outsourcing sins that business owners commit when trying to outsource. Hopefully it will help you realize you are making some of these mistakes too and as they say, awareness is a step forward in the learning process…
Adding more cheap resources to a problem most likely won’t shorten the delivery of the solution, especially in the software development world. Replace poor performers with great performers, but do not simply keep adding more otherwise your management overhead will grow exponentially.
Outsourcing can be over-done. Once you have tasted the sweetness of outsourcing, you will be tempted to outsource more to the point that you will look for new areas in your business that could be outsourced. Your core business should not be outsourced. What if Zappos started outsourcing customer support?
Don’t pick the cheapest provider. As a business owner wanting to cut cost, you’ll be more tempted to hire the one offering the cheapest rate. When picking a provider don’t forget to take in account the risks of poor quality and the extra time it will cost of micro managing more junior providers.
Unfortunately, most outsourcing marketplaces have bidding systems that force providers to push their prices down. Don’t fall into the trap.
Outsourced work needs to be actively managed. Don’t give away your work and hope it will come back the way you want it done. People can’t read your mind and your own requirements might evolve. Although outsourcing does relieve you from a lot of work, stay involved with it. Monitor the progress, give feedback and set deadlines.
It is not rare that clients are disrespectful to the providers. Don’t forget the providers are human beings with flaws but also with feelings. If something wasn’t done the way you wanted, remember that you are partly responsible because you have hired the provider and you should have been managing them.
Stay respectful. It is not because the provider has a thick accent that he is stupid or less important than you are.
It is not because your entrepreneur friend has successfully outsourced the management of his social media presence that it means you should do it too. Depending on how much focus you want to put on your brand, outsourcing your online presence at the early stages might hurt your brand or might not fit the vision you had of your brand. Each business is different and tolerates different areas to be outsourced. Learn the different facets of your business before thinking of outsourcing some of them.
Don’t underestimate the effort required for a successful outsourced project. You need to be able to give away control, you need to be able to communicate with and understand people from different cultural background, you need to get used to different timezones and you need to be able to plan ahead to prepare your requirements. Outsourcing simply doesn’t work for certain people and if you are one of them, simply accept it or get better at it!
The 8th sin: Silence
Lack of communication is the greatest sin of all. Don’t let more than three days going without contact with your service provider. At taskarmy, the outsourcing platform I have developed, the service providers receive a *friendly* automated notification if they let more than three days pass. I also often require the providers working with me to send me daily emails with the things they worked on yesterday, the things they will do today, and any blockers I can help with.
Hopefully you found this article useful. I am Aymeric and I run theoutsourcing platform taskarmy (and sister website taskangels) that aims at simplifying outsourcing. We offer a free email course if you want to learn more about outsourcing and how to improve your website.