Balancing quality with low cost is important for a business to be successful. For example, can the current staff successfully handle the workload or will quality be sacrificed if new employees are not hired? Is there a need for experts to handle certain tasks, but not enough to justify full-time employees? Should these tasks be outsourced or added to the workload of current employees to avoid the need for new hires?
In the past, outsourcing was typically limited to data entry, low-level tech support, and telemarketing. Today, business owners outsource significantly more from back office tasks to CEO's. Billing, accounting, payroll, and human resources are commonly outsourced. There is a gap between these functions and the primary business which introduces a level of comfort to the business owner. By outsourcing, there is little risk of trade secrets being revealed and numerous benefits of having professionals do the jobs. Outsourcing functions that are more closely tied to the primary business is becoming more common. For example, CEO's and CFO's can be brought in to help guide the business or help make key decisions.
Choosing the provider to whom you will outsource should be done with care as they will have an impact on your business. Here are some factors to consider:
- In a version of "what comes first, the chicken or the egg", you can consider hiring an outsourcing consultant. They will help decide which functions you will outsource and supply referrals to outsourcing providers.
- Be sure the contract for services is specific and clear. Detail exactly what tasks will be provided as opposed to general terms like "back office" to avoid any misunderstandings.
- Consider having a lawyer review the contract prior to signing. Typically, the service provider writes the contract and a lawyer can assure that you will not be at a disadvantage.
- Have a plan in place to monitor the services performed by the outsourced workers.