Outsourcing— A Wellspring For Any Business (Part 2)

In our last blog we assessed the benefits of outsourcing non-core areas of your business –convinced? Now to put the idea into practice. How best to go about this and what pitfalls to avoid?

How do you manage an outsourcing contract?
How do you build a strong relationship?
How do you address confidentiality issues?

We’ve already identified outsourcing works for non-core parts of your business – HR, IT, finance for example.

Once you’ve decided on the areas of business you wish to outsource, you have to find the necessary expertise. Just as you would expect to get more than one quote for any work you have carried out at home, we recommend you contact at least two, preferably three suppliers. Take time to define very clearly your requirements and set out the level of integration you want and how you will interact with your potential outsourcer. Look closely not just at the price but at the services they can offer and, crucially, how well they ‘fit’ your business – you will be building a relationship with them so you have to feel comfortable with them.

Look at their ethos and commitment to you and other clients. Talk to other clients and if the supplier won’t give you references then do you want to go further with them?

At this stage, make sure that all your staff affected by setting up an outsourced company buy into the appointment – disgruntled employees will only be a hindrance to the smooth transition and running of your business.

Having selected your vendor, have a concise contract drawn – including an exit plan – and have a Service Level Agreement in place based on clear objectives and deliverables.

Once the outsourced vendor is in place, let them do the job! Sounds self-evident but one of the reasons often cited for failure of a relationship is interference from the very people who wanted to outsource. Establish early on good lines of communication, set targets, measure results and let them get on with it.

Finally, never forget that the outsourcing company is there to help you further your goals. Use those lines of communication established early on to keep your employees, your outsourced vendor and your clients and customers as happy as possible.

So there you have it, outsourcing in a nutshell. Follow these simple rules and you will find yourself free once more to focus on your core business, knowing that the more repetitive or specialised tasks are being taken care of.

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