Outsourcing can be a means to reduce costs, improve service and gain a new perspective on best business practice. Outsourcing business functions and operations really is a cost effective way to bring fresh new ideas to problems and to compliment a company’s existing commercial know-how. It frees up valuable time and resources. Along the way, companies are able to reduce their fixed and variable costs while improving their bottom line. The best companies endorse a practice of working alongside their outsourcing partner to amalgamate each party’s best attributes. Outsourcing firms are then able to concentrate on bringing value, improving service and offering a counterbalance to ideas and approaches. Given the benefits of outsourcing, how can companies improve and build upon their long-term relationship?
Identify core competencies of the outsourcing firm Companies that decide to use an outsourcing firm must make sure to transfer ownership and responsibilities of the business function they choose to outsource. If the company chooses to use a marketing outsourcing firm, then it must be determined which functions the marketing firm will be responsible for. Will it be lead generation, sales, growing market share or something else? Identifying the core competencies of the outsourcing firm is the first step.
Don’t duplicate efforts and time The second important step is to ensure that the company never duplicates work. This involves the complete transfer of ownership of a given function. Again, outsourcing saves companies a tremendous amount of time and resources. This is only possible if the company ensures there is no duplicated work. Otherwise the savings will never be realized.
Measure results and build on progress Essential to improving the long-term relationship with the outsourcing firm is ensuring that both parties are made fully aware of how progress, or the lack thereof, will be measured. A good rule of thumb is to schedule performance appraisals and review periods where both parties can assess the results of given approaches and action plans.
Getting the most out of an outsourcing firm involves ensuring both parties are aware of their respective roles and responsibilities. Complimenting each party’s core competencies will further improve the long-term relationship. Finally, measuring results and building on progress allows both to have clearly defined goals.
Hiring lawyers can be expensive, but getting legal work done is essential to business. Small companies often don’t have in-house legal advisers, though that doesn’t mean that their need for legal documents is any less significant than that of larger businesses. To resolve this issue, many of these companies are turning to outsourcers to get the work done.
An outsourcing firm can produce the specific legal documents a company needs, despite not serving the company’s office directly or perhaps not even being located in the same country. These documents can be precisely created according to the company’s specific needs. Additionally, because many such documents are relatively uniform, their production can be quite quick. To minimize costs an outsourcing firm can provide you with a template to change as required, based on your needs. Therefore, the legal documents can be produced time and again, and specialized each time.
Whether you need documents to establish leases, trademarks or patents, or need incorporation products, establishing limited liability companies or partnerships, outsourcing firms can quickly and affordably provide you with suitable documentation.
Legal outsourcing firms permit small companies to create the legal documents they need to operate without the cost of retaining an attorney. The ease and affordability of these firms permits clients to operate legally and efficiently.
Reducing expenditures, freeing up valuable time and improving operations are often seen as the three most important benefits of outsourcing. One outsourced business function that can nearly always hit all three of these targets is the handling of customer service responsibilities.
Managing customer expectations is perhaps the single most important factor of business success. Understanding your customers’ business approach will ultimately improve your company’s customer relationships and drive sales. Ensuring your company is properly addressing your customers’ concerns is also essential to improving customer retention.
Outsourced customer service firms are experts in addressing issues, coming up with solutions and following them through to their successful conclusion. These firms will handle time intensive tasks such as answering calls, writing emails, documenting customer issues and providing written reports of the most pressing issues your business faces. If there is one prerequisite of a successful business, it’s to have a solid customer service team dedicated to communicating with customers.
Unfortunately, a large number of companies struggle with this most essential aspect of business management. Either they don’t have the internal resources to properly manage customer service, or lack the ability to properly track performance. Either way, outsourcing customer service to an outside firm can improve your company’s ability to retain customers and help to grow your company’s market share.
Being able to communicate in a foreign language can be a hugely valuable skill for anyone in business – and the learning process can be a very satisfying personal experience. Being able to communicate with clients and partners in their own language can push you ahead of the competition and ensure that you succeed. If you want to pursue a flexible course of learning you could always consider using a virtual assistant to help you. All you will need is an internet connection and perhaps a telephone.
Outsourcing firms can be found all over the world and nearly all of them will have bilingual staff able to communicate in their native tongue as well as in English – making them perfect language tutors. They may even be able to speak, and work, in more than two languages, should you decide to diversify your studies.
Working with your virtual assistant, you can follow tutorials via voice, video and email. The assistant could provide you with lists of practical vocabulary to learn, alongside the English equivalents, so you can practice, before they assist you with your pronunciation. Having helped you pick up basic vocabulary your assistant can then help you develop your conversational skills, while learning grammar. Reading materials can be provided as well, putting your skills to real life use, so you can become proficient in reading and writing in the new language. Your assistant could even direct you towards other media such as videos allowing you to view interactions between native speakers, also helping you to learn about the culture where the language is spoken.
Learning a foreign language can be difficult, but with the help of a virtual assistant, the learning process can be made easier. Virtual assistants can be available at all times of day, and can quickly respond to messages at other times. Learning a foreign language does not have to interfere with your work or other obligations. It can be done in your spare time or in your working hours. This means you will be able to optimize your work time and balance learning a foreign language with other responsibilities and your social life.
Having a personal tutor means that, with some practice, you can quickly pick up the essentials and immediately correct your mistakes. Being able to communicate effectively is an invaluable skill that you really can perfect with an outsourced tutor.
Image: Horia Varlan
Outsourcing is not a new concept in business: the practice has been used by large and small companies alike who are looking to cut costs and save money. Wherever you are in the world it is simply more cost effective to outsource certain tasks – such as the administrative functions of your company. This leaves the business more time to focus on activities that directly bring money into the company, such as sales, promotions, marketing and advertising. If your company struggles under its weight, outsourcing could free its energy to focus on the essentials of what really matters.
Outsourcing eliminates the need for hiring on-site employees, allotting more office space and taking on the taxes and expenses involved in expanding an in-house staff. In addition, companies that offer outsourced services such as inbound and outbound call centers, telemarketing and ordering often cost a fraction of the price of hiring one part time employee. Outsourcing companies can often set up a customized system for your business in a matter of days, allowing you to start enjoying the benefits quickly. In addition, many companies do not require long-term contracts or commitments, making outsourcing an attractive option for companies looking for extra help on a specific project.
To get started on an outsourcing project, contact a company that offers the services you are seeking. There are companies that offer outsourced accounting, marketing, finance and administrative functions. These companies offer a dedicated team to handle your small business needs and can be set up quickly. There is no need to spend tight funds on finding staff, conducting interviews and training. Outsourcing companies eliminate the expense and the hassle of taking on new employees, leaving your company with more time to focus on building the business and bringing in profits.