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Trying to do everything your store needs on your own is a surefire way to play an eternal game of catch-up. Meanwhile, you know you need help, but your revenues won’t support even a part-time employee. Happily, there is another alternative. Leveraging outsourced help to grow your company is a proven strategy—when approached carefully.
Here’s what you need to know.
A carefully curated outsourced team can provide quality work, experienced advice, and a much higher rate of production. Further, if your company is in the US and your outsourced team is in Asia, you can get work accomplished while you sleep and benefit from the lower cost of living on that continent.
How Outsourcing Works
Outsourcing is the act of contracting outside talent to accomplish peripheral tasks while you focus on core business activities. Doing this successfully requires you have a certain mindset. If you’re primarily interested in maintaining your business at a certain size, outsourcing might not make sense for you. However, if you’re interested in affordable growth, outsourcing is one of the most cost-effective methods of getting you there. In addition to multiplying your efforts you’ll enjoy reduced labor, facilities and production costs.
Viable Tasks for Outsourcing
Most repetitive tasks can be easily outsourced. This includes monitoring email, social feeds and posting to social networks. Consider the effort required to maintain a consistent content marketing situation. To manage your website and social media platforms you’ll need to create content, develop or locate graphic materials, create videos, and moderate comments. However, with careful direction, all of these tasks can be outsourced.
If you’re selling cost intensive merchandise, like you would if you start a furniture business or sell electronics online, you can employ drop-shipping or third-party logistics to reduce your costs and your physical efforts.
The best way to decide what should be outsourced is take stock of your capabilities. Wherever you find yourself weak or in need of added expertise, is usually a good place to start.
Managing an Outsourced Team
If you’re someone with a hands-on personality, working with people you can’t see might be cause for concern. However, you can make it work. First and foremost, you should have an intimate knowledge of the outsourced tasks, so you can communicate your requirements effectively. This will also make evaluating work product easier and more precise.
Put a robust organizational structure in place with a clearly defined chain of command and strict quality control. Training should be as thorough as possible, while leaving room for the hire to accomplish tasks by their own methodologies—as long as the product meets your requirements.
Make a list of all of the tasks required to effectively function in the position you decide to outsource. This will help you determine the types of skills and experience a candidate should possess. You’ll also be positioned to develop the training needed to ensure the hire is effective in the position.
Above all, institute strict guidelines and controls. Delegate tasks carefully, maintain open and regular communication and insist upon periodic reports.
Where to Find People
There are a number of siteson the net promoting people looking for “casual” work. Among the best known are eLance.com, Freelancer.com, Upwork.com and Guru.com.
While nuances differ slightly, the hiring process generally goes along these lines… You’ll post a job description upon which freelancers will bid. They’ll provide their profiles and qualifying credentials for you to consider. You’ll use this information to screen applicants. Once you’ve narrowed the field, conduct online interviews and make your choice. Payment terms are usually negotiable once you’ve decided an individual is the right fit.
Leveraging outsourcing to grow your company is a cost-effective way to scale. You’ll save on personnel expenses, get more work done (potentially around the clock) and your business will be more profitable.