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That Evil Outsourcing Thing

That Evil Outsourcing Thing

Outsourcing developed a negative connotation decades ago when it came into the general vernacular in reference to technical support. Americans began to complain loudly about the fact that every time they dialed an 800 number to get help with something, there was an Indian man on the other end of the phone.

In our typical American-centric way, we began a more prominent discussion about jobs and unemployment. But let’s face it, our biggest issue was that we could not understand the person who was supposed to be helping us. The compound frustration of not being able to operate your newest electronic device and then being offered instructions in a language you do not understand is infuriating.

The take-away any future business owner would get from that is: outsourcing is bad.

Is it really outsourcing?

Outsourcing is not necessarily bad, though, and it does not have to involve people from foreign lands. Nothing against other cultures, but if you are running a small business in the US, outsourcing could be part of a responsible business plan and maybe accomplished with all Americans, if you desire it.

The idea of outsourcing simply means you do not do every part of your business yourself. The original form of outsourcing was hiring employees. Now, employees are technically part of your business, so whatever they do for you in in-house work, not outsourced. You get the idea, though.

Instead of hiring employees, if you choose to accomplish certain tasks with independent contractors, you are outsourcing. The difference is that an employee is part of your business, while a contractor works on your projects and similar projects for other companies. The legal and tax relationship is different, but that is another topic.

When is Outsourcing the Right Choice?

When you can set aside the erroneously based value judgements about outsourcing, you realize it may be a viable option for your business. Outsourcing can help you balance your resources more efficiently, and in business efficiency usually equates to growth.

Deciding to outsource certain tasks comes down to time versus money. When you do everything yourself, you tend to save money. The problem is that your time is limited. If you are already using all the hours in the day to run your business, growth can depend on outsourcing.

The next question is, which tasks do you outsource and which do you still handle yourself. Sometimes this is the trickiest part of the decision to outsource. If you make the right choices, the time you regain in your day will be more valuable than the money you spend on outsourcing.

One Immutable Rule

The one rule I always ask my clients to adhere to when it comes to outsourcing: do not outsource a task you do not understand. You must get an education, usually by attempting the task yourself, first.

SEO for online businesses is the best example of outsourcing gone wrong. Business owners hear about SEO and become convinced they need it for their website. (They are right, by the way.) Then, without any information about how it can be accomplished or measured, they hire someone to do this mystical procedure, and they start spending money.

Be sure you thoroughly understand the tasks you outsource. Hiring someone to do something you are not good at is a good use of your money and will save you hours of wasted time. Learn enough about the task, however, to be sure you are not good at it before outsourcing.

Smart business owners take advantage of outsourcing opportunities to grow their business and improve their bottom line. Are you one of those smart business owners?

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