9 Best Practices for Startups When it Comes to Outsourcing
1. Choosing the Right Outsourcing Company
It can be challenging for startups to choose the right outsourcing company. Before making a decision, think about what you want from the outsourcing company. When shortlisting companies, look for factors such as industry experience, technology expertise, strengths and weaknesses, ability to use the latest technology and tools, references, a dedicated team of specialists, easy communication, customer support model, and confidentiality and security practices.
2. Outsourcing these Five Key Areas
The decision to outsource any type of work by startups is entirely dependent on the business requirements. Software development companies, for example, may be pioneers in technology and innovation but may not have the same marketing and financial expertise.
Businesses can streamline their operations by outsourcing these functions. While every company has different core competencies and areas of focus, almost all startups will benefit from outsourcing these 5 key areas:
- Customer Support
Startups often outsource customer service functions due to resource constraints. In an ideal situation, customers should be able to access support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of their location. Customer support cannot always be available online. Rather than hiring new customer service representatives, it is better to outsource the task.
If you are a startup that primarily deals with customers over the phone or via email, outsourcing customer service to a call center or chat service would be advantageous. Outsourced teams are available 24 hours a day. As a result, queries will be resolved more quickly and customer service will be improved.
The majority of startups do not require a full-time accounting department to manage their accounting and bookkeeping needs. These functions can be outsourced to an external accounting firm to allow your talent pool to focus on core business functions.
With the right accounting firm, you can plan your financial strategy and manage your cash more effectively. Additionally, it will ensure compliance with all financial regulations. Outsourced teams will assist you in preparing various financial documents, such as accounts receivables, accounts payables, and tax filings.
With their expertise in the financial industry, the accounting firm will ensure that the startup stays on top of the financial reports.
- Human Resources
Any startup’s growth depends heavily on its human resources. By finding the right talent, providing them with the best compensation and benefits, and promoting a positive work environment, the HR department ensures the success of the team.
You might consider hiring an outsourced HR team if the HR workload of your startup is minimal. Outsourced HR teams help you hire the right talent and ensure employee engagement and retention.
In addition to designing HR policies, the outsourced HR team will also create a unique employee handbook. Outsourced HR can help you build and scale your dream team by maintaining contracts, employee documents, and performance reports.
- Social Media Marketing
It is no longer enough to create a social media account and post content on a regular basis to conduct social media marketing. Social media marketing is successful when it reaches out to the target audience and promotes products or services.
Utilize a third-party agency with expertise and knowledge of various social media channels for outsourcing the project of social media marketing. With the right content, you can target the right audience. An excellent social media strategy will build a good brand reputation for better lead generation and customer satisfaction.
- SEO and Content Marketing
The right content attracts the right prospects to the business. In order to appeal to target audiences’ interests, you need to publish high-quality content that provides solutions to their problems. SEO is the next driving factor that plays a large role in content marketing.
If you are a startup having difficulty creating and marketing content, outsourcing it to a content marketing agency makes sense. They can draft effective content strategies for your business based on their expertise in content marketing. You can attract the best leads to your business with the help of content marketing specialists.
3. Create a Project Requirement Document
Provide the outsourcing companies with a detailed description of your project and its components. Assessment, prioritization, and shortlisting outsourcing companies will be made easier with this document.
Documenting your project requirements concisely will help you as well as outsourcing companies understand the nature of the work. It provides outsourcing companies with accurate information about your project and your expectations. These service providers can use it to propose timelines and prices.
Additionally, you will be able to determine whether these companies are trustworthy for your project. Overview and background, project goals, target audience, and project details comprise an effective project requirement document.
4. Establish standards for design and content
Your business’ success depends on its design, content, and aesthetics. Therefore, uniform design standards are essential. In addition to contributing to good visuals, it also keeps the outsourced team in the loop.
All design guidelines should be outlined in your design documentation in clear and comprehensive language. To make your requirements more specific, you can provide some examples. Moreover, you might be able to share some examples of completed projects with us.
The content documentation should also include writing guidelines. Documentation helps keep internal and outsourced teams on the same page, regardless of whether you want them to write in a conversational tone or using a formal tone.
By describing the voice and tone of the content, this document will assist businesses in achieving consistent content across all platforms. Additionally, businesses can provide short guides for writing various types of content.
A conversational tone can be used in the email newsletters for onboarding new users, while a formal tone can be used in the emails about product updates.
5. Take advantage of new tools to improve your results
Sign up for new tools and software that will benefit your partnership. By using these tools, the outsourced team will be able to speed up their processes and deliver quality work. As a result, results will be better and faster.
Look into a project management tool to assign and manage tasks, chat and communication tools for real-time communication, meeting software to regularly share updates, and a time tracking tool to keep the time spent on tasks in check.
6. Track Work
Include all assigned tasks and their deadlines in a work tracking document. Keep checking this document with your internal team. By doing so, you can monitor the progress of the work and its results.
You can also sign up for a project management tool, such as Trello, Basecamp, Jira, or any other tool that helps you keep track of tasks.
7. Meet with both teams to discuss status
Meet regularly with your outsourced team to discuss current projects. During these meetings, you can also discuss any additional requirements or projects you may have with the outsourced team. The best time for resolving doubts and sharing new ideas will be during such meetings.
8. Describe how to handle scope changes for projects
When a project progresses, some additional tasks need to be added to the scope of work or the scope of work needs to be updated. You may need to make changes to your outsourced team’s scope to accommodate such changes.
An ad-hoc invoice or payment agreement would be the best way to plan out an additional scope of work. In this way, additional work will be completed on time while your project remains on track.
9. Bridging the Cultural Gap
Cultural differences can come with outsourcing a team overseas. While this can pose a challenge at first, overcoming them can strengthen your partnership.
Build a connection with the team by having an open conversation.
It is always a good idea to start with small tasks and then scale up once you are familiar with their working style. Make sure you communicate your requirements clearly to the team and impart the necessary knowledge on time. Be sure to provide constructive feedback and make sure it is well received.
By asking them their opinions, you will make them feel more valued as you make important decisions for the project. Encourage team growth and build trust for a healthy professional relationship.
Startups can certainly gain success by outsourcing business functions. It is important to remember, however, that startups may face some challenges when outsourcing. Take advantage of the best practices mentioned in this blog to overcome these obstacles.
When done right, outsourcing sparks startup success, increases the chance for thriving, and clears the path toward sustainable and guaranteed growth. Let us help you find top talents in IT, technical support, digital marketing, and cloud services so you can leverage all the benefits of outsourcing in the new normal. Request a FREE copy of the e-book on Third Wave Outsourcing .