Outsourcing is becoming integral to many more businesses these days. As everyone battles to find a specialist niche in order to survive and thrive, things like marketing, IT and HR are increasingly taken on by - guess who? - other specialist business to business companies.
But before you outsource your IT support or HR or marketing, you should think about what you are looking for in a business partner and, therefore, what you are looking for in an outsourcing service provider. There are 3 key areas to consider:
Most companies will have some sort of portfolio showing off their services and successes. In fact, some companies will also list some of their most prestigious clients to tempt you in. But while this might look very impressive, you need to be looking for something a little more specific: experience in the area you need to cover.
However, this doesn’t mean that the company has to have done exactly the same thing before. Instead, split your project into its constituent parts and then do a bit of research to check that what you are being offered is, in fact, what you need. So, looking at different marketing methods will give you a good idea of what you would like; comparing how different companies use each method should give you an inclination one way or another.
Even when a business clearly has a talented team who come up with all kinds of incredible solutions and ideas, if they can’t communicate with you, this is all moot. Offering you an incredible solution for a problem you don’t have is a bit silly really! Communication in business is vital if you plan to work together.
You will know from your first phone call with a company whether they are good at communication or not. If they are able to listen to you, take in the problem and then come up with a solution that works for everyone, you’ve found a keeper. If you find that you keep being diverted to ideas that aren’t relevant or are clearly well out of your budget then steer clear.
Understanding of Your Business
Most businesses have an excellent understanding of what they do and how they help others solve problems. But unfortunately, not all businesses are able to translate this into an understanding of your specific needs. What’s worse, is that many businesses simply accept this.
Having a true understanding of your business should be your outsourcing service provider’s top priority. They need to know exactly what your problems are and then come up with suitable solutions to fix them. If you want to find out whether an outsourcing service provider knows your business, ask them a few questions in your first meeting. Don’t forget that hiring a company to solve a problem is much like hiring a person to solve a problem - you still get to interview them and they should be interviewing you too!
Outsourcing might feel risky but when you know what you want and where to get it, it isn’t risky at all.