Outsourcing is growing at a fast, steady pace with more companies recognizing the global workforce. This business solution, however, is not limited to big companies. Over the past years, small companies have been tapping offshore contract jobs to meet their business requirements. In fact, small businesses would benefit more from outsourcing because they are tapping into the global pool of highly skilled professionals without the hefty price tag.
In a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it showed that online jobs have billed a total of $360 million by the end of 2012. This shows that professionals taking on online jobs are increasing and business owners are seeing the great advantage of outsourcing them. This business solution is a multi-faceted platform that provides both the flexibility and precision that your company needs. To kick off this new blog series on outsourcing, we’ll look at the key factors that will help you succeed in this venture.
Forge a Strong Partnership with Your Provider
Before we jump into the elements that lead to successful outsourcing, we need to establish first the foundation of this business solution. Outsourcing is anchored on the strength and dependability of your relationship with your service provider.
Robert S. Huckman, professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, said that outsourcing should not be viewed as a mere commodity. He added that cultivating relationships with the vendor of outsourced services can help improve the efficiency and quality of the service they provide. For example, if you’re working with a virtual assistant (VA) or a virtual assistant firm, you need to nurture this business partnership because it translates to easier collaboration and efficient execution of projects.
Trust and accountability is built when you have a good relationship with your vendor. They earn your trust through their consistent excellent performance. They become accountable because they have developed a sense of ownership being a key contributor in your business. These things strengthen your partnership with your provider. Your success in outsourcing will even be more attainable when you imbibe other key factors.
Fortifying the Structure: The Four C’s
Now that we’ve got the cornerstone firmly placed, we need to start integrating the crucial components to your outsourcing efforts. These factors will help you get this endeavor right the first time and spare you from costly mistakes.
Credibility. Since your relationship with your provider is the most vital part in outsourcing, you need to prioritize credibility when screening vendors. Their company background and client list should show you their experience, expertise, and overall reliability. Credibility covers everything from keeping their word to responding on time, providing honest feedback, and honoring confidentiality terms you have agreed on. A credible provider values client relationships as much as you do.
Commitment. As a business owner, you can’t go into outsourcing half-heartedly. You need to be committed to this business solution. Just as your vendor is committed to giving you the best service and highest quality output possible, so should you in providing the support they need. Signing a contract is only one part of that commitment. The other half is being actively involved. This means you will put yourself in a position where you can help them succeed.
Communication. Effective communication is a game changer in the outsourcing industry. You need to establish an efficient communication system with your vendor to ensure accurate exchange of information. Most business owners outsource overseas and this involves different time zones. You have to set the best working hours where you can communicate with your provider. All forms of communication should be open during these hours like email, landline/mobile, instant messaging, etc.
Consistency. In order for you to have a strong relationship with your vendor, you need to continuously work with them. This means you need to look at long-term outsourcing. If you’re looking at this business solution as a mere commodity as mentioned by Huckman, shifting from one provider to another will put you at risk of getting defective “commodities” along the way. However, if you invest time working with your vendor for an extended period, you are looking at a partnership that will grow alongside your business.
Think of it as having a loyal employee in your company who’s been with you for years. That person knows the ins and outs of your business. You can trust her to do the job even if you’re not there. You are confident that she can deliver what you ask because you have trained her long enough in your business culture. Same goes with your vendor who has been working for you consistently for years. Despite the distance and time difference, they’ll be able to accomplish your tasks efficiently and with minimal supervision because they are already familiar with your business dynamics.
There’s More to Outsourcing
While there are still many factors that influence the success or failure of any outsourcing effort, the one thing that will steer you in the right direction is the quality of your relationship with your vendor. The credibility, commitment, communication, and consistency aspects you’re assimilating into it should lead to that end result—building a reliable and robust partnership with your service provider.
We have just explored the tip of the outsourcing iceberg. This multi-layered business solution offers a whole lot more and learning about it will help you make the best decision for your organization. Join us next week as we zero in on your business and guide you in evaluating if outsourcing is the right fit for you.
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About Pepper Virtual Assistants
Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.