Streamline Your Business: 7 Steps to Pain-Free Outsourcing

By Andrew Wilson

One way to streamline your business operations is to outsource. It gets rid of mundane tasks that bog down you and your staff and releases you from them, so that you can work on more essential tasks. 
There are seven steps in the process of outsourcing.

Define Your Objective

Start with deciding exactly what needs to be outsourced. Define how this task fits into your overall business. It's important to do this so that you can communicate it to the person you hire. They're outside of your business, so they need to know. For example, if you decide to outsource your blog creation, the person you hire needs to know that your blog is designed to drive traffic to your site.

Establish Your Budget

Decide how much you're willing to spend on the task. Look at your company's finances and research online to find out what the going rate is for the work you need done. You can offer more or less, but it's important to know what the going rate is. Don't set your budget too low and choose the cheapest worker possible or you'll compromise quality.

Research Service Providers

Look online at service providers and services that can handle the work. If possible, start with referrals from others. Ask other businesses who they've used and whether they can recommend anyone. Keep in mind that if a service provider offers their services too cheaply, there is probably a reason. Choose a few providers that are in your price range and potentially capable of doing the work.

Contact Potential Service Providers

Contact the few providers you've selected. Give them a run-down on what you need done to assess their abilities and whether it's a good match. Discuss price, timeline, and other conditions. Discuss how and when you'll communicate during the project. For example, you might schedule a weekly meeting over Skype.

Set up the First Job

Take the task you're going to outsource and document the process. Define the deliverables you need from the provider and when and how they'll be delivered. Give the service provider any material or resources they need, such as an example of what you'd like done. Set a deadline for the first project and set it a few days before you actually need it so that you can discuss if there are problems.

Measure the Results

Once the job is done, take a look at the results and analyze it in terms of cost. Did you get all that you expected and was it worth the price? Compare the cost savings to the cost of doing the work yourself in-house previously, and decide whether you'll hire the service provider on an ongoing basis or not. You might decide to keep it in-house or go back to step 3 and find another provider.

Follow up

After the job is finished, follow up with the service provider with your feedback. Set up the ongoing job and its conditions. For example, you could define a weekly batch of work, set up an ongoing payment, and so on.

Outsourcing is a great way to streamline your business but it needs to be done well. If done right, it can save you a great deal of time and headache.

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