Going global in search of specialist skills is a journey well worth making. Outsourcing is not just a cost-cutting exercise; it's a smart way to grow your business, through increased profitability and by offering a larger range of services to your clients.
Saving money on wages is one of the most obvious reasons to outsource aspects of your business. When demand dictates, you can employ a team without having to retain a team. Taking them on only when you need them is a temporary arrangement that can have a positive long-term affect.
By outsourcing, you're able to invest the money you save into a consolidated fund for the future, as well as pay for innovation which will keep your organisation relevant in the years ahead.
Competition from potential contractors is fierce, and you'll have no shortage of candidates as you outsource your project. As they vie for your business, you'll notice a rather pleasing phenomenon. Undercutting! As contractors try to win favour by offering their services at very reasonable prices, others are likely to enter the fray with even lower bids.
Before you know it, you might find you're saving even more than you bargained for. Of course, when bids reach rock bottom, you might start to wonder if you will get what you pay for. In other words, not much. Peanuts, monkeys and all that still apply in the wonderful world of outsourcing, if you're not careful.
You might use outsourced contractors, but it's your reputation on the line. Finding someone whose standards match yours is the prime challenge you will face when you decide to outsource. Websites like Elance, oDesk, freelancer.com and 99designs might present a huge field of candidates, but being able to verify their talent, credentials and experience is not always easy.
Editors note: I have used Elance and oDesk and have been very happy (so far) with the caliber of the candidates. Although I had more success with Elance I suspect different site focus on different capabilities, so it is a matter of checking them out. I am also reassured by the escrow payment system that these sites provide. Basically I put money in via PayPal and the funds are released based on negotiated waypoints.
Another approach is to use the power of networking, and choosing from a smaller but higher quality field, through sites such as LinkedIn. As a networking site for professionals, LinkedIn generally offers suitably qualified people with an authentic profile and a first rate portfolio. Thanks to the contacts you make on sites like LinkedIn, there is every likelihood that someone you know can even recommend a suitable contractor. Which is another reason why the quality of a networking site could be a better source of contractors than the quantity of a freelance site.
By outsourcing, you can focus on core aspects of your business while letting others handle tasks that take up a lot of time for little reward. Or, you can take on experts who offer talents beyond the current skill-set in your business; this gives you the ability to offer a wider range of services to more clients.
Outsourcing can take your business into this new and fertile territory. So, as you look for ways to grow your business, you should consider casting your net a little wider than the local talent pool. It could be time well spent, and precious money saved.
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