Learn the Pros and Cons of Outsourcing
Outsourcing is seen as the golden ticket for small business owners. Today we take a balanced look at the realities of hiring help!
Starting a business is the act of spinning multiple plates on your own. You have to keep everything afloat to survive. So it’s totally understandable that you’re thinking of outsourcing a couple of tasks from your to-do list.
Hiring a virtual assistant or another freelancer can bolster your business in dramatic ways. If done incorrectly, it’s a costly mistake that can really set your progress back.
So today, let’s balance the scales. We’ll talk about both sides of the outsourcing coin. Our aim is to give you a well-rounded view of the realities of outsourcing. That way you can decide for yourself whether outsourcing is for you.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
What Are the Pros of Outsourcing?
1. You Can Dramatically Reduce Labour Costs
Hiring staff can be costly. Not only do you have regular salaries to cover, but you also have the extra taxes involved. As an employer, you have more responsibilities and bureaucracy to consider. For example, employee benefits are a large company expense. When you hire freelancers or agencies, there are no payroll taxes either, so this saves you money.
Outsourcing also tends to offer cheaper rates than traditional employment. A salary can cost you a lot per year. A freelance job can be priced per hour or as a project price which can save you money in the long run. You can also hire freelancers overseas that work at more favourable rates than local professionals.
2. You Can Employ Experts for Specific Tasks
Tired of creating your own branding items? A graphic designer can help set you up for success. Need a quick coding issue solved on your website? A web developer can help you in no time.
This means you don’t have to rely on your own skills to fight fires. You also don’t have to hire a permanent member of staff for small ad-hoc tasks.
3. You Can Get Your Time Back
This is the primary reason why so many of us small business owners turn to outsourcing. You feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work on your plate. So you turn to a freelancer to lighten the load on certain menial tasks. That way you can concentrate on driving the business forward with things only you can do.
What Are the Cons of Outsourcing?
1. You Forfeit Some Control Over Your Team
By not hiring permanent staff, you are trusting the freelancers you engage to do the work faithfully. It can be difficult to manage a remote virtual assistant for example as they require more autonomy than a hired personal assistant. The quality of your work can suffer too. That reduced level of control can be tough to adjust to in the beginning. You can combat this by offering training to your newest freelance staff members.
2. Communication Can Be Tricky
Another con of outsourcing is the communication aspect. With your own staff members, you can set the parameters of how you communicate. Outsourcing requires a bit of a learning curve. Key things to think about:
What is the preferred method of communication for your freelancer? Does it work with your daily workflow? Where are they going to work from? If offshore outsourcing, what is the time zone difference? What business hours will your outsourcing vendor be online to answer any questions? Will you have regular check-ins to make sure the project is going well? How much will these cost? How often will they be? If hiring freelancers from foreign countries, is there a foreign language barrier to consider?
Defining a method of communication early on is the best way to succeed.
3. You Can’t Create the Same Company Culture
One of the disadvantages of outsourcing is how hard it can be to create a positive work culture with disconnected teams. Company culture is nurtured and grown between team members and managers. It’s difficult to extend your philosophy and style to freelancers you outsource to. Why? Well, that freelancer is still autonomous and works for many different companies. They can’t adopt the company culture of every enterprise they work for. Likewise, they have no obligation to be part of your Christmas parties and team goals meetings. So they can feel disconnected from the company as a whole. This doesn't necessarily have a huge negative impact, but it depends on the atmosphere you want to create.
Overall, dare we say that outsourcing is generally a good thing for business. Employing experts for specific tasks can give your business a competitive edge. But it's worth keeping an eye on quality control and communication issues as you go forward.
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