The ever-changing conditions of business landscapes, no matter the industry, make every company vulnerable to abrupt transformations. As technologies revolutionize processes, as customers shift their behaviors, and as markets remain dynamic, scaling a business becomes a constant challenge.
For businesses, aiming for development, growth, or expansion connotes necessary procedures in improving operations, processes, and services. Are these achievable? Yes, if you have the means, skills, capabilities, and the budget. No, if you don’t have the yesses.
However, companies today are fortunate to have a viable option in managing their business—through outsourcing.
Outsourcing has become an integral part of management since the 1980s as businesses decide to focus on their core strategies while contracting non-core functions to a partner company. At present, still, outsourcing benefits many companies needing solutions to realize their critical missions. It allows businesses to delve more into their main competencies and strategies while keeping non-critical processes stable.
That’s why more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon, hence, allowing the industry to maintain an increased market growth for years. For instance, Statista projects that business process outsourcing will have an annual growth rate of 6.26%, resulting in a market volume of USD381 million by 2025. This optimistic projection only proves that after years of helping several businesses thrive, the outsourcing industry established a reputation of being a driver of business growth, innovation, and efficiency, until the present.
Knowing when to outsource
While you may already be convinced that you need to outsource your business functions to an outsourcing company, you may hold that thought for a moment.
Outsourcing tasks doesn’t guarantee benefits right away. Like any other strategy, you need to determine if an activity is necessary, feasible, or if it simply fits your goals and objectives.
Start with asking yourself these:
Are we efficient enough, and can we do better by outsourcing?
Evaluate your current processes or functions, and find out if there are things that need improvement.
Can your team take care of it? Can your team do away with any help from external sources? Do you think your in-house members can develop a more effective approach in dealing with such concerns?
If most of your answers are “No,” chances are you may need to consider outsourcing to help streamline your operations and processes.
Know if the tasks assigned to your employees match their skill sets.
For example, does your graphic designer write copies, too? Are your back office staff also engaging with front office customer service? Are they overwhelmed and overloaded with tasks? Do you need additional employees specializing in certain functions?
Outsourcing can help you sustain a healthy, productive, and proficient workforce that can contribute to the efficiency of your services and operations.
Is it time to put something new to the table through outsourcing?
Analyze the existing ideas and plans you created with your team.
Do you feel like there are better ideas out there your team can’t seem to grasp? Are your plans and strategies too repetitive? Do your actual campaigns and projects impact your customers and your goals?
Consider hiring an outsourced team or professional to bring in fresh perspectives for a project. A new blood can tap, influence, and help fulfill parked strategies and future game plans.
Is there a need for innovation through outsourcing?
Consider your short-term and long-term goals and identify if innovation is required.
Do we need to transform the way we do things? Do we need to update our resources like technology or state-of-the-art infrastructure? Can we actualize these things by maximizing our in-house capacities?
If it’s necessary for external resources, outsourcing may be an excellent option to go.
Once you have confirmed the need for outsourcing, the next step is to find your outsourcing provider. There are many factors that you need to consider carefully before investing in an outsourcing partnership, such as these:
1. Describe your needs and goals.
What exactly do you need? Saying that you want to “improve customer service,” “streamline processes,” or “reduce operational costs” is too vague and will not help you in easily finding the right outsourcing partner. It is important to specify your requirements while providing concrete and clear direction for your goals.
2. Determine your budget.
There is money involved in outsourcing. Finding out your partner options will also depend on the budget you have or willing to spend. If you think budget isn’t an ‘issue,’ then go ahead and look for outsourcing companies within the mid-sized and large enterprise range.
If the budget is tight, there are small teams of professionals also that you can count on that won’t break your bank. Make sure that the size of your project will be accordingly and realistically managed by your outsourcing partner.
3. Identify the type of outsourcing that fits your requirements.
You can start at your preferred location. Would it be ideal for you to outsource from a foreign country (offshore), a neighboring country (nearshore), or within the same country (onshore)? Of course, there are pros and cons to this, but it’s for you to evaluate.
Then, pinpoint the particular services you need like back office, customer support, e-commerce, merchant customer service support, etc. This step will narrow down your outsourcing provider options that match your needs.
4. Evaluate the expertise or skills involved.
Once you have identified the service you’ll outsource, ensure that the outsourcing company has the capacity, knowledge, and skills to perform it. You may ask them about their technical expertise, skill sets, resources, experiences, clients, and other related matters that you think will help you discern their capabilities. This is crucial because you don’t want to partner with a company that will only limit your accomplishments and derail your set goals.
5. Consider the reputation of the outsourcing company.
The simplest and quickest way to gauge a company’s reputation is to find out what their clients have to say about them. Just like how you choose products as a customer, you can discover a company’s quality through testimonials, reviews, or checking their previous clients. You can always explore their website to check their history, profile, services, clients, and sometimes their success stories.
6. Assess the culture and values of the outsourcing company.
Possessing industry expertise may not be a sufficient basis to partner with a company. You would also want to work with an outsourcing company that shares your values and culture. It doesn’t have to be perfectly aligned, but it helps if your partner company cares about your success, values, and vision.
7. Find an outsourcing partner that is flexible and agile.
There are always going to be changes, issues, or disruptions that will hamper the progress of a project. In such cases, it’s going to matter if your outsourcing partner can quickly adapt to unfavorable circumstances like project problems, team issues, change of plans, and others. Make sure that your outsourcing company is flexible and uses agile methods to accommodate any changing requirements.
8. Ensure that the outsourcing company implements data security.
It is inarguable that today’s digital era makes our data more vulnerable to security risks. As an organization, you have vital assets to protect—your crucial business data and your customer information.
Outsourcing is known to be one of the technologically advanced industries. Thus, data privacy and security remain to be the top concerns. So, when you look for an outsourcing company, don’t miss out on checking their data security measures like conducting network or security audits or data privacy practices.
Selecting your match
Finding out your best match is almost as close as pooling job applicants. Gather all the potential candidates, then narrow down your closest picks according to the factors mentioned above. If you’re unsure of what to watch out for, learn about the red flags to avoid when looking for an outsourcing company.
What matters most in this journey is realizing your goals and ensuring that your outsourcing company of choice would significantly contribute to achieving those goals. These tips are essential, but your critical thinking attribute as a business leader will determine the best outsourcing company to help you scale your business.