Outsourcing refers to obtaining goods and/or services from parties outside your company on a contract basis. They may be subcontractors or other businesses. This a key skill for every entrepreneur to learn because it means that you don’t have to be an expert at everything yourself. You can work on your own particular specialty while getting others to do work that is not in your area of expertise. For example, you could learn how to graphically design images or make short animation videos, but it can often be a better option to outsource that work to a professional designer.
It seems simple in theory but if we don’t do it correctly, we can leave ourselves open to a lot of conflict and the risk of wasting time/money. To help you with this, here are some tips from our experience of outsourcing projects to individuals and businesses:
Clearly identify the goals of the project
List and clearly define the who, what, where, when, why and how of the project. What do you want to happen? Make sure to tell them what to do and equally what not to do so that they have a good understanding of what you’re looking for. Show the examples of other work that you have had done, or seen done and let them know how you would like your project to be similar/different. Then, agree on what is to be done.
Meet with different suppliers and discuss the goals
Different people will get on with some people more than others. Meet different suppliers to get a feel for them and ensure that you have a good working relationship from the start. Ask for quotes in writing for your reference and agree on the method and timeline of payments so that everyone is clear from the outset.
Factor in changes, alterations, adjustments and updates
Almost every project is going to have changes an updates from the way it was presented at the start. It’s important to allow time and money for this in an effort to minimise conflict with your subcontractors. Be sure to ask them for a timeline of results and agree on this from the start. Also, it can be a good idea to discuss what the consequences would be, in terms of time or money, if the expectations go unmet. That way, there will be no nasty surprises upon completion of the project.
Check out some useful outsourcing websites
www.fiverr.com and www.upwork.com are both well worth investigating if you’d like to find subcontractors online. They normally have ratings, feedback from previous clients, a detailed profile, a photo and everything you need to take into consideration for your project. You can either search for someone you’d like to work with or you could post your project, sit back and wait for the offers to come in. Then, pick your favourite one!
Finally, always remember the proverb “Let the buyer beware”!