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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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5 Tips for Outsourcing Smartly as a Small Business

 

Small business owners are always looking for creative ways to spur growth and accomplish goals at a lower cost. One strategy that has become increasingly popular in recent years is to outsource certain tasks to skilled and affordable service providers. If you’ve tried it before, you’re probably aware of the risk involved.

Putting key parts of your business in the hands of distant strangers can be unnerving. But while it may seem like a gamble, there’s no better time to leverage the power of outsourcing. Doing it successfully is largely a matter of knowing which steps to take and what to avoid. With this in mind, consider the following five tips for outsourcing smartly.

 

Know What to Outsource

It’s wise to start by defining exactly what should be outsourced, and what’s better kept in-house. Some tasks, such as those that make your business unique or require a personal touch, might fall into the latter category. It’s usually what you lack the time, resources or expertise for that should be handed over to a contractor.

Remember that, these days, outsourcing isn’t limited to web development and graphic design. You can get assistance with marketing, customer service, social media management and even starting your business. Provided you make sure to use a trusted service, you can have a professional handle all the complicated aspects of establishing your company.

 

Choose a Platform

Sticking to a single platform for your outsourcing activities will help you save time and keep things organized. There are a number of websites to choose from, including Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr, SolidGigs and many others. It’s best to use one that offers safety and security features to ensure that you always get what you pay for.

While you’ll probably want a platform that accommodates a range of different services, it’s worth noting that niche websites can help you find better contractors for certain jobs. For instance, the likes of Contena and Journalism Jobs are home to professional writers, while skilled artists are more likely to be found on 99Designs and Design Crowd.

 

Provide Clear Descriptions

Your project descriptions are critical to attracting the right people. By clearly explaining the work you need completing, contractors can determine whether the project is a good fit for their skills and provide a more accurate quote.

Having an unclear description can deter bidders and cause miscommunication. Be sure to include details such as your expectations, deadlines and terms when it comes to the ownership of the work being done.

 

Consider Reviews and Feedback

It’s always a good idea to stick to contractors who have a visible work history. This can include reviews, references, testimonials and other forms of feedback. A portfolio is also something to look out for. Analyze these carefully and take them into account when choosing between different contractors.

A more expensive one with tons of positive feedback is likely a better choice than a cheaper contractor with negative reviews or no feedback at all. If you conduct an interview, be sure to pay attention to the way they handle things. Aversion to feedback, negative attitude or disregard for deadlines are red flags that warrant looking elsewhere.

 

Communicate

Your contractor relies on clear and detailed instructions to do their job right. This will help avoid missteps and ensure that the end result is more in-line with your expectations. Consider setting up milestones and deadlines to help keep them on track and get work in when you need it. Be sure to provide detailed feedback as well.

 

Conclusion

Outsourcing is an effective way to save money and reduce your workload. Approached carefully, you can find great success with using this method to move your business forward.

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