Web Site Marketing – Outsourcing; The Path To Profit?
Working from home, and trying to get ahead? It’s a challenge. I remember when I started my business and worked out of my home office. It’s now been a few years since I last worked from home, but I remember it quite vividly; there were certainly rewards, but also a myriad of challenges to overcome. People would ask me; “so do you work a 40 hour week?” I was aghast; it was more like 65!
The experience of working from home taught me a lot. One of the most important things was innovative ways to improve efficiencies. Perhaps the most important for our company today was when to do work ourselves and when to outsource. Today, I’m an owner of a business that companies outsource to.
I realized long ago that no one builds a successful business all by themselves. There’s no such thing as a “self-made man.” Successful people have a lot of help, from a lot of people. Most of that help comes from friends, family, and colleagues but some of it comes from elsewhere. Regardless of where it comes from, at its most basic, turning to others for help is the simplest form of outsourcing.
Today, most businesses are trying to keep lean, and improve operating efficiencies. One way businesses are improving their efficiencies is by outsourcing all non core areas of their business.
Outsourcing makes good business sense; it’s more cost and time efficient. Outsourcing to a specialist allows you to concentrate on the parts of the business you are best at, the ones that set your business apart, and ultimately make it successful. That’s why outsourcing can work for your business too.
If certain aspects of your business are not mission critical,’ why is your firm spending money hiring specialists to deal with non essential tasks? What do you do when the tasks are complete? Do you still pay them to do other jobs they are less suited to, but are mission critical to your business?
Outsourcing, whether across the street, or across the continent, is most successful when the focus is on delivering significant business value over the long haul, not just on cutting costs in the short term. Think about it. Done properly, outsourcing is healthy for the entire company: It allows for the company to ensure that everyone internal to the company is a specialist on core issues. Overall efficiency is up, teamwork is improved, (everyone is working on the same projects), and distractions are down. Let’s face it, outsourcing of non core jobs will ultimately create new entrepreneurial opportunities inside your company, just by staff being able to focus all their time and thoughts on internal projects. The more repetitive jobs will be outsourced, because it will be more cost effective and higher value to do so. The result is that the less repetitive jobs will stay, thus increasing morale!
So how do companies successfully outsource non mission critical tasks?
Start by identifying what you want to keep internal, and what you do not. For example, many firms outsource their payrolls. For a small company that may not be economical, but for a medium sized business, it is. There are a myriad of tasks which generally are better to outsource. If you manufacture widgets, you probably will want to outsource your web design, your marketing, your advertising, etc. If you are a one man operation, you become the coordinator of all these activities. If your business is larger, someone in the company becomes the coordinator.
Personal interaction with the companies to which you choose to outsource is extremely critical to the success of any arrangement, and will be most challenging during the ramp-up phase. After all, this is the time that someone in your organization will need to let go of certain responsibilities, they will see that as threatening. You need to believe that these threats should be seen as opportunities; if you are convinced they will be too.
To be successful you need to trust the specialists you have contracted. It’s like going to the Doctor. You chose your physician because you had faith in them; let them do their job!
This is also a challenging period for the company chosen for the outsourced work. In order for them to be effective as an extension of your business, they must understand what you do. They don’t just have to learn about your business, they need to understand the internal relationships in your organization, and how to fit in most effectively. Companies that provide services are keenly aware that every part of the enterprise, and despite differences in customs or cultures, must understand the company’s corporate culture and core values and deliver services to match them. So while no two organizations are alike, any company providing you services needs to fit in seamlessly.
Just as regular communication with customers about their expectations builds successful long-term relationships, so too does regular contact with account managers from outsourced service providers. Regardless of the service outsourced, the benefit of close relationships with providers is somewhat like to having a business partner willing and able to step in to help fill the void when your company needs help.
A commitment to quality on the part of outsourcers sets high standards. After all they are specialists in niche areas of business. But the rewards for their standards include highly satisfied customers, repeat business and a solid reputation.
Quality of delivered services is also always the chief concern when organizations look to outsourcing. The frequency and impact of business and technology advances do not allow organizations or their service providers to remain static; companies must continue to innovate or they lose their ability to compete. Innovations in technology, processes and services will help any company ensure their value over the long haul.
Companies choose to outsource because each area attached to running an organization continues to become more and more specialized. A company which tries to do it all ends up doing nothing particularly well. Therefore, in an era where the most efficient survive and prosper, outsourcing may be the correct course of action.