Aside from liquid assets, time is probably the most precious commodity for a small business owner. About a third of small business owners clock in around 50 hours a week, and many put in more. Under those conditions, anything that promises a little bit of saved time looks like a godsend.
Enter outsourcing. One of the main benefits of outsourcing is that it reduces the time spent on non-critical processes. That promised benefit often leads a business owner into one of many outsourcing mistakes.
Before you leap into a contract, keep reading for five common mistakes that small businesses make with outsourcing.
1. Poorly Defined Goals
Whether you outsource a project or a business function, you need clearly defined goals from the get-go.
Let’s say that you outsource a custom-built website project to replace your WordPress site. You must provide a crystal clear picture of the look and functionality of the site you want. Otherwise, the developer will deliver a site that doesn’t meet your needs or expectations.
2. Outsourcing Customer-Facing Functions
Many big businesses can weather the backlash from things like bad customer service. That’s because they routinely offer a unique service that customers can’t easily replace. Small businesses rarely enjoy the same luxury.
Whenever you outsource a customer-facing function, you trust your customer goodwill to a third-party. No matter how well-intentioned that third-party, they’ll never replicate your level of commitment to happy customers.
3. Not Getting Professionals
Spotting an amateur proves easier with some outsourced services than others. A managed IT service provider with a bad web website? Probably an amateur outfit.
What if you run a small law firm and you’re working a big case? You need professional legal outsourcing for your legal firm or you might risk the case.
Always dig into the service to make sure they can deliver what they promise at a professional level
4. Not Enough Communication
You guide your in-house employees, right? Many small business owners don’t provide guidance for projects or tools for outsourced teams.
If the company you outsource to doesn’t know what’s working and what isn’t, they can’t fix problems. Only you can tell them what isn’t working.
5. No Exit Strategy
Outsourcing relationships can go sour the same way that any business relationship can go sour.
Too many small businesses use an outsourcing company with no clear path to leave that service. Make sure you get clear terms in the contract that define when and how you can sever that business agreement.
Dodging Outsourcing Mistakes
Dodging outsourcing mistakes depends on taking a reasoned approach to the process.
You must research the companies and pick one with a solid reputation. Set clear goals for the outsourced project or service. Maintain communication, so the service provider knows what’s working.
It also means that you set up a way to exit the outsourcing arrangement in a practical way.
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