Outsourcing is when a company chooses to hire another business or individual professional to complete a task, project, or deliver a particular service. It is a practical solution form many but there are some things that must be considered beforehand.

You need to decide on who to outsource too, what type of project they will carry out, where to outsource to, when the best time to outsource is, and why you need to outsource…effectively, the 5Ws. Let’s take a closer look at each:

Why should you outsource

One of the principal reasons is because it can greatly reduce your company’s outgoings. Harvard Business Review stated that 97% of companies outsource in order to reduce their costs. At the same time, you can experience increased sales and performance. Outsourcing allows your current staff to focus on other areas of the company.

Other reasons include the increased flexibility, innovation, and the ability to access amazing talent that you may not otherwise be able to find in your area. If you outsource, you can also save on spending additional money on infrastructure and resources.

Who to outsource to

Deciding on who should carry out your task will depend on the size of the project. You may find that a single freelancer is more than enough. Freelancers tend to have a particular area of expertise, for example, graphic design, accounting, and web design. If your project is larger, you might want to consider a team.

Try not to just choose the first freelance or outsourcing company you like. It is worth having a list of 10 potential candidates. After extensive research, you can narrow down the list. These 3 ideas could help your investigations:

Look at their website

A website gives you a good understanding of the service they provide as well as the experience they have. There may be reviews from happy clients or testimonials. It’s important that the person you choose has a solid reputation. Don’t just rely on a website. Confirm your findings by cross-referencing with social media sites. Most people have at least on account with Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Make sure they have knowledge of your industry

Having knowledge of the field you are in will help them to complete the task to the highest quality. It will also help if you are bound by certain laws or regulations. Check if their website has any certificates from industry bodies as this will confirm their expertise.

Contact references

It’s not always enough to go by what you see online. It is always worth getting in touch with the candidate’s references to confirm the quality of their service. Ask about working to deadlines, if they were easy to contact and communicate with as well as the quality of their work.

What should you Outsource

More often than not, when you hire people to work for your company it’s because they match a certain set of skills that are necessary to the business. Sometimes, however, there will be a task that is outside the skill sets that your staff have.

These projects or tasks are the ones that you should consider outsourcing. You need to weigh up the costs of hiring someone in-house compared with the costs associated with outsourcing. Legal outsourcing is often outsourced because it reduces the risk of errors from the company

IT is one field that is frequently outsourced is IT. IT is developing so quickly it is difficult for your staff to be constantly up to date. Outsourcing IT can improve your data security at save you having to invest in hardware, as the outsourcer will have their own. In many cases, you will be able to contract monthly or even hourly specialists and therefore reduce your costs further.

Outsourcing is not a case of handing over a project and forgetting about it. It is still a key part of your business and you should maintain contact with the outsourcing company.

When should you outsource

It’s a good time to consider outsourcing if your company is having financial difficulties, or even when there is a financial crisis in your country. Outsourcing is a good solution to reducing your operating costs. At the same time, as much as 90% of companies now outsource because it is a major part of their growth strategy.  In 2016, the CGS survey stated that the principal reasons for outsourcing were to improve efficiency, to develop IT systems, enhancing the customer experience, and allowing staff to focus on other key capabilities.

Where should you outsource

You will be able to outsource your project to a specialist anywhere in the world, whether they are in an office or working from home. They won’t necessarily be in the same time zone as you.

You are more likely to be able to find English-speaking developers in Eastern Europe they also have more global outsourcing reach, expanding the UK and the US.

Eastern Europe is definitely on the rise. These countries have a very high level of education and English. They are skilled and they know how to handle innovation.

How to Outsource

It’s important that you choose an outsourcing partner that is capable of matching your needs as well as fitting in with the culture of your company. Consider these three things:

  • Outsource tasks that require equipment you don’t have or those that need expert skills
  • Don’t outsource tasks that are essential to your business
  • Start off by outsourcing a small task first. That way you can test the waters to see if the partnership will work

How to find an outsourcing partner

This is a much easier job if you know exactly what you are looking for and set some parameters before the search begins. Make sure you have a good understanding of the qualifications your partner needs. If working overseas, it’s worth choosing an agency. The same as you would for anybody joining your team, hold an interview, even if it’s just by phone or Skype.

Once you have narrowed down your options, send out a formal request for a proposal. Enquire about the cost and previous work experience in the relevant field. Outline the project. Choose the partner based on the lowest rates that match the quality of the work you need.

A contract is necessary. The contract should include a description of the services, the time frame or deadlines, and the amount and method of payment.

Finally, discuss a preferred method of contact with your outsourced partner so that you can easily get in contact with each other.