Outsourcing has become one of the most effective tried-and-tested models for profitable business operations. In fact, it has been acknowledged as a successful competitive strategy that enterprises can use on a long-term basis. Outsourcing and offshoring can help companies concentrate more on their core business while simultaneously controlling expenses.
Outsourcing Definition: It can be defined as the process that allows a business to integrate third parties into the organization in order to fulfil one or more aspects of the business. Most of the time, this third party is equipped with the necessary expertise specific to the company’s requirements, and undertakes the full responsibility of the function on behalf of the company.
What Makes Outsourcing So Popular?
Reasons for outsourcing mainly include lowering a company’s costs, reducing the investments of an enterprise in capital expenditures, reducing the need for in-house staff training, and generally improving the utilization of a company’s resources.
The following benefits explain in greater detail why outsourcing has become more in demand in recent years.
Whenever a business opts to outsource certain areas like marketing or accounting, the company looks for assistance from experts that have superior knowledge and experience in these fields. These resources are built on providing specialized assistance and because it’s their core offering they’re often better situated to deliver a higher quality service. It’s their business to ensure that the requirement of the company is fulfilled in the best possible way.
Effectively Controls The Cost Of Operations:
One huge advantage that offshore resources have to offer, is their cost-effectiveness. The majority of offshore service providers are based in developing nations such as India and Philippines where labour costs are comparatively low. Outsourcing services to any of these countries helps a company financially, as the company can get high quality work done at lower rates. Moreover, a company can also make financial savings from operational costs as they don’t have the associated costs of administration, payroll, rentals, HR, and utilities. For this reason, there are cost efficiencies to be had simply by outsourcing to more specialised operations locally. While the savings aren’t as dramatic, they can still be worthwhile.
Less distraction from Core Business:
Once the less important tasks are assigned to other service providers, the company does not need to fragment the attention of its personnel over so many diverse areas. This allows more time and energy for concentrating on the most important business matters of the company, its core competencies. The external resources provide on-time delivery, and updates, which allows the business to run more smoothly, as crucial matters gain priority and full attention of the company.
Improvements in Communication Technology make it viable:
Improvements in Communication Technology mean distance is no longer an issue and quality can be managed and maintained. Companies can easily provide detailed information of the required task as well as monitor the progress of their assigned tasks to the outsourced service provider through emails, voice and video conferencing and other online facilities that are cheap yet crucial for strong communication between the company and the offshore resource. In this way, companies can ensure that the job gets done the right way without spending a fortune on communicating with the offshore service provider.
Ensures Reduction In Infrastructure Investments:
With tasks such as voice processing and IT related projects being handled by an outsourced service provider; the company does not need to invest in expensive infrastructure for their in-house facility. The cost for a company to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure including IT systems, technical helpdesks, call centres for customer support, among others, can be prohibitive. Alternatively, this cost can all be avoided by simply outsourcing these requirements to externalised service providers.
Frees Internal Staff:
Another benefit from opting for external assistance is that the company’s in-house staff are relieved from the pressure of multi-tasking or focussing their attention on insignificant functions. The core team can then dedicate their time and energy towards accomplishing mission-critical activities. For instance, getting tasks like billing, transcription, claims processing and other less important jobs outsourced, can help health care practices focus on crucial matters like taking care of patients.
Results That Can Be Measured:
The best part of outsourcing is that the company that outsources can plan ahead of time its exact requirements and then hand over the responsibility to the external service provider to get it done within a given time frame. This allows the company to be in control over the task and incorporate it according to the business strategy of the organization. This ability to measure the results helps a company to set realistic goals, which proves highly beneficial for the growth of the company.
Makes Way For Flexibility:
Rolling contracts are common when it comes to outsourcing services. Providing everything works according to the company’s requirements, the particular service provider can be re-hired for more work; however, if the company faces either a financial crunch, a change of requirements, or they simply aren’t satisfied with the quality of the deliverables, then it can easily refrain from renewing its service contract. This allows the company to be more adaptable, being able to move into a better position more quickly when circumstances change. It also means significant savings in both time and cost, when compared to the processes involved in hiring and firing staff.
Useful In Surviving Seasonal Workflow:
Since the majority of companies that look for offshore resources are based in developed countries, some of these companies are subjected to staff shortages because of seasonal workflow. Such fluctuations occur during off-seasons and holidays when the attendance of in-house staff runs low. External resources can help a company deal with workload during such times and that too, in a cost-effective way.
Gives Access To Newer Technologies:
Not only does a company get access to experts when it opts for external resources, but the company also profits from the new technologies incorporated by these specialized outfits. These technological advancements come with minimum downtime as well as increased quality and productivity. Outsourcing helps companies get access to advanced infrastructure and capabilities. Dedicated teams with experience in required functions work to offer improved operational efficiencies.
Helps In Overcoming Talent Shortage:
At times, countries face acute shortages of talent, which results in higher demand for a skilled workforce. With the advantage of outsourcing and offshoring these requirements for qualified and experienced professionals, companies can avert situations that could otherwise result in significant losses.
Freedom From Stringent Rules For In-House Employees:
Most developed nations have stringent rules for management of in-house employees such as paid leave, superannuation, penalty rates, dismissal laws, and so on. When a company chooses to outsource some of its tasks to other businesses, those businesses are responsible for the management of whatever employee regulations that are applicable.
Distance has become less and less of an issue in today’s fast-progressing world, especially with the availability of online resources. Micro companies can now expand into the global marketplace with relative ease, something which used to require a business to be well established and gargantuan, before they could seriously entertain a global expansion initiative. The advances and cost reductions in communication technologies are at the heart of this shift. Working with offshore resources can also be part of this global expansion initiative, as companies then have people with feet on the ground and local knowledge, in more diverse and strategic locations.
Gives A Competitive Edge:
There’s no doubt that the cost savings and the streamlined business operations that come out of outsourcing, can give an advantage to the companies that are among the first to embrace it. As more and more companies implement the strategy of utilising offshore resources, it creates pressure on those companies that don’t. For some businesses, indeed some industries, the need to remain viable and competitive has forced them to resort to cheaper workforce options, even if they would have preferred to employ locally. So the competitive edge is relative and gives way to necessity, as outsourcing becomes the norm.
Outsourcing has been subject to various controversies, but with the overwhelming benefits associated with this strategic move, it is hard to deny the popularity of external resource providers. Many new companies are coming up with plans to have their work outsourced to various offshore locations. And most companies chalk out their overall business strategy around the functioning of external resources and service providers. Some experts have also come to the conclusion that outsourcing is beyond cost cutting, and has become a successful business model in itself. No wonder its demand is growing by the day.
Running a small business on a tight budget can make you want to do everything yourself. Many small business owners find themselves in a steep learning curve, having to learn a multitude of tasks to meet the many demands of running a business. Most people think that by doing many tasks themselves, they can avoid additional expenses, and in that way save money when money is tight. But avoiding expenses and being cost effective are not necessarily the same thing. In the end you have to ask; do all the extra hours put in to handle these tasks yourself or even delegating them to your employees to save a few dollars actually allow you to be more productive and profitable?
The fact is, most business owners who try to do everything by themselves don’t save money, they just get bogged down in doing things that are not the core competencies of their business. By falling into the trap of believing that doing everything themselves can save them money, they spread themselves too thin, and this can become a costly mistake for them and their business. In many cases, they are far better off outsourcing some of the most basic needs of the business. Outsourcing enables the focus to be on core competencies, allowing you to deliver the most value to your customers.
How to identify the core competencies of a business
Today, companies have more pressure to provide superior quality services than ever for their clients. This is why it is important that a business owner is able to differentiate between “core competencies” versus “context”.
Core competencies are the things that separate your business from others in the industry.
Context refers to the basics of all businesses and has no differentiation from what the other companies in the industry are offering.
It makes sense, that for your business to grow and prosper, you need to invest primarily in its core competencies. By identifying some of the context parts of your business you can outsource, you are maximizing the potential in your business to allow room for growth and also getting the most from the money you are spending. In addition, you will have created a work environment for you and your employees, that is happier and more productive.
How does outsourcing enable you to focus on the core competencies of your business?
Core area focus:
Outsourcing will allow you to concentrate on the essential functions of your business. By letting your staff focus on their core competencies, it gives them time to work on and grow their strengths, which is the main reason you hired them, thereby giving you the best results for your business, now and into the future. It means you’re utilizing the resources for your business where it counts most.
Whenever you outsource, you bring in a specialist, which means faster execution. This could take one of your staff an entire day to learn as they struggle through the task, whereas an expert may take an hour or two at most. If you are going to invest in the cost of training your staff it is going to be most valuable if that training is targetted at making them better in their main roles and not a distraction. By outsourcing non-core tasks, you save time and money that would have gone into finance a learning curve. By hiring a professional not only do they complete the project in a reasonable timeframe, it’s less of a headache for you and your staff to worry about.
Value for money:
Outsourcing enables you to benefit from industry expertise. The level of training, knowledge and experience you can acquire instantly through outsourcing can pay for itself. A good example is outsourcing an online marketing professional. They will create polished and optimized articles that will enable your business to rank higher in search engines, resulting in higher click-through rates. Their competent services will pay off in the long run for your business.
What services you can outsource?
Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. Outsource tasks that are impeding your ability to scale.
Here are some good areas that can be outsourced effectively that are worth considering;
Branding and design:
Outsourcing branding and design from a professional is crucial. They have the necessary technology and training that is needed to make your brand stand out. They will be sure to create memorable visuals to use on your business cards, logos, posters and other marketing collateral.
While there is a growing plethora of resources and tools out there that can enable you to put up a website without spending a dime, each one of them takes time to learn and there are many pitfalls. You may not have all the skills required to create an impressive and user-friendly website. A professional web developer will not only create a slick and attractive site but will also ensure it functions on all browsers seamlessly. Also, they will create a website that is easy to update with current content.
Content is King. Even with some writing skills, professiona
l copywriting involves strategy, language, and SEO to deliver its intended purpose. To make your content count amidst the thousands on the internet, you need to invest in the services of a skilled writer. They will create web content and material that will increase readership, which in the long run will pay dividends for your business.
Taxes and payroll:
Although you are able to handle your business finances, business taxes and accounting involve a lot of complex rules that only an expert can successfully navigate. These professionals are up-to-date with the current rules, regulations, and changes in tax rates. A skilled accountant may find advantages and savings for your company that you had no idea existed.
As a business owner, you should evaluate your technical skills without bias. Even if you have the ability to write code, this skill may not be sufficient to build an IT infrastructure that can beat the test of time. You
do not want to deal with outages as they will cost you lost sales and productivity. Investing in an IT expert is prudent. They will create IT infrastructure that will grow along with your company to ensure you never experience an outage.
The core competencies of a business are activities that bring in revenue. Giving your in-house employees the task of keeping your business premises clean, hygienic and attractive may not be the best use of your staff or the most reliable way of maintaining high cleaning standards. Outsourcing your cleaning requirements will make your company more efficient, time and money wise. It is an immediate reduction and stabilization of costs.
Outsourcing is meant to simplify your workload while providing superior quality products or services. It impacts on your business positively by eliminating inefficiencies and reducing business costs. Smart outsourcing will enable you to get your startup business off the ground while you concentrate your effort on your core competencies. This will enable you to channel your efforts to create unique features in areas that matter to your customers.
Regardless of if you are a pro or you’re just starting out with your business, you will always need professional help from someone who can view your business from a different perspective. A professional business advisor is able to guide you in order
to keep you moving into the right path. However, knowing when and how you should choose a business advisor for your business is very important. Here is everything you need to know about:
When should I hire a business advisor?
There are actually a lot of reasons for you to hire one. If you are planning to achieve a goal in a certain amount of time, a business advisor can help you to develop an effective strategy to reach your goal. Aside from that, you can rest assured that you will be able to submit your business on the industry regulations. Contracts that are hard to negotiate are also done with the help of a business advisor and other complex files that need careful analysis in order to decrease the level of risks that you’ll be dealing with.
Now, in hiring a business advisor, here are the questions that you need to consider in order to make sure that you only get to hire the best and appropriate business advisor for your company.
Qualifications and experience
Qualification and experience are very important because most of your decisions are influenced by your business advisor. Therefore, they should know exactly what they are talking about. As much as possible, choose a business advisor who prides themselves with a business degree in order to make sure that they are able to attend to all of your needs. A business advisor who had their fair share of experience is also important because you can rest assured that they are able to handle any situations at hand.
A reputable business advisor is what you need the most. If they have done a pretty good job with their past clients, then there’s no doubt that you can get the same treatment, too. During the interview, ask for references from your potential candidate. If they are confident then they wouldn’t mind you keeping in touch with their past clients in order to ask for their service or what they think about them.
A business advisor must be passionate. While it cannot be denied that in the suggestions and explanations that they offer, there is a part where they incorporate their own desires and aspirations. However, they should also consider your decisions, goals, and dreams too. A good business advisor is able to balance it out because of their passion for what they are doing. If your business advisor seems to be doing it just because they wanted to earn good money, then you should look for other business advisors out there who speaks passion and goals in every word they say.
Since you two will be working together, it is very important that your personality goes along with him/her very well. Your business advisor should appear friendly and approachable, and you should not hold back or oppose politely to his/her opinions and suggestions if you have a better one in mind. You’ll be talking with him all the time, therefore, you should be comfortable working with him otherwise it will just make the situation more complicated.
Now that you know the factors that you need to consider when it comes to choosing the right business advisor for you, you should be able to trim it down because it could be one of the most crucial decisions that you could ever make.
Starting a business despite the risks and challenges that you might face brings you one step closer towards success. However, it’s just the beginning. Before you finally step a foot in the business world, here are the top business advice that is proven effective for first time business owners:
Set a goal and focus on it
Make sure that you have a clear goal in mind and focus on it as you go along the process. There is no need for you to grab every opportunity that you have because sometimes it can introduce new problems. Sidetracks are always present in businesses, therefore, you should avoid them at all costs. Multiple ventures are not that advisable because it can limit your creativity and productivity. Focus on one goal first, before you most into the next one. It’s okay if you don’t stick with your original concept as you go along the process but just make sure that you had already analyzed it carefully before you plan to make a move.
Know exactly what you are doing
If you aren’t exactly sure what you are doing then you will never achieve your desired results. With that being said, you should make sure that you love what you are doing and you have the skills or talents to manage it properly. If you are good in painting and you suddenly plan to open a bar then that’s just too risky especially if you know nothing about the said industry. It’d be better if you stick or at least get involve of something that you are good at in order to get a better understanding of your business rather than exploring something you know next to nothing about.
Prepare a short speech
In order to attract potential customers or convince a potential investor, you should be able to prepare a speech that will only last for 30 seconds. If you can’t keep it in 30 seconds then do not try to tell them at all. It is very important that your speech is brief but meaty, something that is very remarkable and will remain in their minds. Use powerful yet simple and convincing words.
Seek out help
Always seek help from the professionals. Mentors, business advisors, and co-investors are the ones who can give you powerful advice when it comes to business. Therefore, it is highly advisable that you surround yourself with people who can help you. If you are a first-time business owner, then you can consider hiring a business advisor who can guide you into the right path and help you make better decisions.
These tips can help you get started with your business and set you off on the right path. Just keep these tips in mind and rest assured that you will be able to achieve your goal in business. Of course, equipping yourself with an open mind, passion, perseverance, and a risk-taker personality is what will make you to the top.