How to Get the Best from Outsourcing

There’s a great little article on the back pages of the UK’s leading management magazine, Management Today each month. It’s a spoof (at least I think it is!) about some fictitious key player in a fictitious organisation. For January, it’s about Ken, who’s a ‘Facilities Manager’.Now Ken has seen it all and truly worked his way up from the bottom to the top. Until, that is, a couple of years ago when new MBA-armed suits took over and decide to slash Ken’s department (until now, running very, very smoothly under Ken’s watchful eye) and Ken himself. Of course it all goes pear-shaped and the top dog has to come grovelling back to Ken, offer him loads of money and a big car, basically to ensure that the toilets aren’t ‘backing up’ any more!This is in direct contrast to Michael Gerber, in his fascinating book The E-Myth Revisited. There he talks about working ‘on’ the business and ‘in’ the business, making it clear that if you do too much of the grindstone not-my-expertise stuff yourself, you lose track of what you are really good at, and what you went into business for.In a past life, I too experienced challenging outsourcing. At one time I had a great little local cleaner who I trusted (he even opened the store up for me – hmmm, that was a long time ago!). He did an excellent job and was on hand for emergencies. Then a new senior director decided to consolidate and outsource, for ‘economy and consistency’. It was cheap – but the service was awful. Each time I got a new ‘centrally sourced’ cleaning company, they came with great intentions for the first 3 months and then dribbled off (with our money!) until it became unsustainable and another ‘excellent contractor’ came along.The moment of truth for me, was when the director for one of these contractors, came along for the first time in a brand new £60K Merc (and it’s a few years ago now). Then I knew where my money would be going. I went through 6 contractors in 5 years, even though my hands were tied by ‘Head Office’ contracts!To solve this problem? There needs to be strong leadership at the start. Very clear standards required from outside contractors and severe penalties (yes, stop paying them even!) for under achievement. Corporate central contracts agreed there, but implemented and managed locally, leave a lot of space for waste.And yes, in a small business, don’t even think of doing the bookkeeping yourself as soon as you can afford not to – do what you do best, value it and get on with creating the business you love, not like struggling Sarah in the book. But, get someone who you trust and who will deliver. Chris Barrow, of Million Dollar Coaching Practice fame, suggests that the very first thing anyone going into a consulting business should do, is get a PA. And that modern day evolution, a VA (virtual assistant) has made this a real, low cost possibility for many.Moral of the story?If you are going to outsource, especially if your business is big enough, where it’s not only the fashion, but it can have economic and logistic value, take the following steps:-

  1. Find the best on the market, not the cheapest.
  2. Set the standards yourself, and don’t take theirs.
  3. Be very clear on expectations and outcomes if standards aren’t met.
  4. Keep in very business-like, however much you like/know/are related to them.
  5. Have clear timescales for regular review.
  6. Have a named and senior contact in the organisation for whom there will be pain if they lose the contract.
  7. Keep contract length manageable.
  8. If things start going wrong tackle them early, before too much money is wasted.
  9. If ‘Head Office’ agrees the contract, don’t chase your own tail over non-delivery – get someone from there down as soon as there is a problem – you have enough to do.
  10. Don’t get involved in the problems any local operatives might have – refer them back.

How to Choose a Best Software Outsourcing Company

The internet has radically altered the manner in which business is conducted and has significantly reformed the expenses routinely incurred by a business as well and this is most profound in the context of outsourcing services which have grown to be a niche industry seemingly overnight. There is a danger that a business owner becomes complacent and over-confident about the actual benefits that outsourcing services may have to offer and therefore they do not take the time to ensure that they perform the necessary background checks to ensure that they choose the most cost effective company. The end result is that they pay a heavy price for their apathy and carelessness in that they pay over the odds for a low quality service and often times, have to spend additional money to rectify the poor performance provided by the provider.

If you are contemplating relying upon outsourcing services, make sure that you take the time to shop around and acquire a quote from several different software outsourcing providers in order to get a better appreciation as to the average price for the service required.

This is not only a money saving exercise (as it means you will reduce the risk of being charged over inflated prices for a minimal standard of work) it also means that you can gauge the relative worth of each of the prospective service providers. If a particular service provider is offering a service which is significantly low below the current market value, then this maybe an issue worthy of investigation. Remember, you are trying to find the most cost effective company rather than the cheapest company.

Many business owners pose the question:

“How many different software outsourcing service providers should I acquire a quote from?”

The simple answer to this is: as many as you can possibly manage with the only limitations being both time and money. The more quotes you acquire, the more precise and reliable your information will be. However, as a bare minimum, three to five different service providers is a good baseline to begin with.

Don’t be too taken in by the sales pitch provided by the marketing division of the company, make sure that you take the time to actually ask probing questions so as to get a better appreciation as to the level of experience, skill and ability of the staff. Indeed, when it comes to how much, you may find that experience is reflected in the price charged for the service(s) provided, although this is not always the case.

There are also a number of software outsourcing websites available on the internet, whereby a buyer will upload their requirements to the website in a central location and then wait for a response from prospective coders/software development companies. The benefit with this approach is that the business owner is left with less paperwork and less of a logistical headache in that they do not need to wade through quite as much information.

Outsource Article Writing – Announcing 3 Creative Steps to Finding the Best Ghostwriters Online

Outsourcing is a very convenient way to get your articles done but only if you work with a ghostwriter who is not only talented but reliable as well. In this article, I wish to help you find the best service providers for your copies so you’ll get exactly what you expect.

1. First thing to do is to find the most reputable freelancing sites. Right now, there are so many freelancing sites in the online arena. I suggest that you join those that have proven track record and those that have been in the business for quite sometime. Don’t forget to compare their charges for commissions and their features.

2. Post a writing project. The next thing that you need to do is to post a writing project that ghostwriters can bid on. Help these people gauge how much they’ll charge by giving them all the information that they need to know. These include the number of articles you need, the required amount of research, minimum word count, SEO techniques to be used, and writing format. Keep your project open for at least 48 hours so you can maximize the number of bids.

3. Choose the best bidder. Take all the time that you need when reviewing all the bids that you have received. You would want to focus your attention on those freelancers who have proven track record and those who charge fairly. Before you choose the winning bidder, verify their skills first. Ask them to write sample articles and take a good look at their online portfolio. These steps are very important in making well-informed decision.