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Outsourcing

Outsourcing is For Winners

Admitting you can’t do it all alone or just don’t have the skillset for the task at hand is hard... read more

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Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
This was a very helpful read. Thanks for sharing. I'll definitely have to consider the PLCS moving forward.
Questions

Would you recommend employing cheaper offshore workers?

Has it produced good results for your business? read more

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Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
Depends. If you are willing to train and teach then it can work. If not it will not work. Also it depends on what you mean cheap. If you pay rock bottom prices then the chances are you are not going to get great quality out of them no matter how much you train.I have 3 staff overseas and have been outsourcing for a long time. One thing i have learnt is that you have to spend a lot of time training and then controlling the work they do for you. We go out to visit our team and we fly our team into Australia too - specifically for training. If they understand exactly what you expect from them they will get it right. You also have to be patient. It takes time for them to learn and understand you so do not expect to give out work and think it will get done. It won't. We have found that using an agency is best but home workers can work if you find the right one. The issue with homeworkers is control, cyber security and privacy.
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Do you prefer to start with a small project or jump straight in with a freelancer?

When starting to work with a new freelancer or consultant do you prefer to start with a small... read more

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Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown
Small projects are probably the best when using contractors for me.When you and your prospective colleague are both new to a relationship, small projects provide a low cost, low risk, time-bound opportunity for parties to clarify expectations, define boundaries and explore each other's strengths, weaknesses and expertise. Everyone has different styles and skills... it's just about finding someone who works well with yours. An employment relationship is no different to any other relationship.
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
Starting small as a test on skill, professionalism and attitude is the best first step. The whole probation (or prove your worth) thing applies to most new contractor experiences, as it would in the traditional word too.
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Is it illegal to not hand out a printed payslip every week?

My boss is a farmer and only fills in a time book (incorrect most of the time) and pays by bank... read more

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How do you know what you should outsource?

and how do you manage that risk when you first start outsourcing things or using contractors? read more

Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
Excellent question Nancy. I have been outsourcing since 2004 so if there is a mistake that can be made in outsourcing I have probably done it. I currently have three full time staff outsourced. One in Phillipines and 2 in Fiji. The first thing to note is that whatever issues you have with Australian staff you will have with outsourced staff. Now add in culture differences and the issue is a lot bigger. With contractors control is much harder and making them accountable to you is very hard. I have learnt for example that with contractors you take them on full time. If you have them part time they work for others and your work gets done last.Also the work you give out has to be controlled, systemised and procedurised. If this is not done your contractor will get lost no matter how good they are. If you can break the task down in little parts with full instructions you will do well. My admin team does a massive amount of work off shore but this is only possible because every task is either in a video or is a document. You need to talk to them regularly. Not only on email. Physically on the phone. We do it daily and they join in our Australian weekly meetings. You need to make them feel part of a team.We give access to our team to our server, they have passwords to websites and my administration person has a dedicated credit card as well. I have never had an issue with security. If you use an agent then you are quite safe. If a contractor you need to be careful at first but generally you should be OK. Trust your gut but yes be carefulWhen it comes to choosing someone do your research, try to get reviews or testimonials. Give a trial job, interview them. If using Upwork etc then make sure they have experience.
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How to recover Gmail password need Gmail Tech support Phone number toll free

What we do if you unable to recover your Gmail account? If you have not attached your Mobile and... read more

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Eliana Mark at Gmail customer support phone number toll free
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Outsourcing

Rise or Demise of Service Based Businesses

How Australians spent their money in 2014 I was reading the news the other day and came across the... read more

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Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Very interesting perspective and coverage, thanks.
Outsourcing

My outsourcing experiences so far

This is a list of experiences I’ve had from outsourcing so far. Outsourcing on odesk was best... read more

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Richard Eastes Co-Founder at GreenSocks
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Hi Richard, Inter Telecommunication Center is a newly opened Center for BPO business in the Philippines. We have highly trainable agents who can work with your business. We have 10 agents for start up but if the business requires more, we can expand to suite the needs. Feel free to see our webpage at intelecphilippines.wordpress.com
Kevin MallenOwner at Virtual Coworker
Hi Richard, have you tried using a recruitment agency for long-term positions? Odesk can be great but a lot of the time it's A) tough to find great people and B) tough to keep people around longterm as they are mostly freelancers
Outsourcing

Outsourcing, cruel in times of unemployment?

Outsourcing is sometimes faced with negative opinions of people. In times of recession there is... read more

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I admire the significant impact and contribution you have made to improve the lives of others, Patrick. May the rewards boomerang back to you in abundance.
Outsourcing

Top 3 tips to outsourcing on the home front

As a successful small business owner you know full well that time = money. And that means you... read more

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I agree - its al about working smarter!
Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
That's a great idea. I think outsourcing chores is def a must do for busy people!
Outsourcing

Your guide to outsourcing

Outsourcing explained Different businesses outsource for different reasons. We have found that,... read more

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What are your experiences with outsourcing the development of your digital platform offshore?

I am collecting information on the advantages, disadvantages and risks to help SMEs learn from... read more

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Hi Fleur, we've been outsourcing technology work overseas for several years. The experience differs depending on the type of project. I think the most important thing for successful outsourcing is to develop the policies & procedures *in-house* rather than outsourcing to a team and hoping for the best. There are people with success stories of outsourcing to a "company" overseas, but anecdotally I can tell you they're far outweighed by stories of heartbreak and misery. Basically, if you don't know how to do something (or at least know the basics of how it works), it's going to be very hard for you to consistently get good results when outsourcing. This is the value that a "local expert" can add - either as a consultant or a separate business - when getting your project outsourced. It's very easy for miscommunication to creep in, and for projects to seem on track when they're completely not on track. Hiring is hard to get right, but if you put in the yards you can get amazing people who deliver very high quality work consistently.
David BradburyOwner at Selector
I ran an RFP late last year with the mission to identify and engage with an offshore development company, we are now 5 months into the development of a Comparison Platform and the report card is as good as I could expect. So what did I learn from this process in terms of the key success factors: 1. As you would for an Australian RFP write a detailed document focusing on questions which are going to give clear relevant insights on the vendors. I found a 2 stage RFP to work best where I started with a list of about 10 who responded to a short RFP focused on their business, which I cut to a short list of 5 who then responded to specific questions about the project. 2. Use local associations as a means of selecting your initial RFP list for example, The Association of Ukrainian IT Outsourcing Companies 3. As part of the RFP ensure you ask tight questions on the processes and technologies they propose to use to overcome the challenges of managing a project remotely. If you are not familiar with the tools they are suggesting ask to see demos. These tools will be critical to keeping abreast of how the project is going, how the time you have booked with the vendor is being used and what the schedule looks like going forward. 4. Consider which universities the vendors are located close to, are these universities top tier for Software engineering? As it will be these institutions which will be feeding them the talent. Often looking at the regional as opposed to main city vendors will be rewarding. 5. Linked in is a great resource to cross check credentials and identify Vendors who operate in the same country/region, as you'll find the good ones tend to have employees who have worked across a number of the companies which allows you to gain a view of the landscape and breadth of companies available. 6. Once you have reached a short list interview the team by Skype, do not just speak with the New Business Manager/team, ensure you speak with the project manager who will be managing your project and the lead software engineer. This allows you to check English language ability and also their understanding of the project 1st hand. 7. Ask to speak with referees, if possible identify projects on their web site which have similarities to yours and request calls with those as opposed to the vendor feeding you whom they'd like you to speak with. 8. Once you have identified the winner of the RFP, award them a small test project, which maybe a small piece of the larger project. This approach will allow you to access how you work together, the quality of the work and if the vendor lives up to the RFP responses 9. Have the code developed during the test project audited by an onshore resource to ensure its up to scratch. Trust this helps.  
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Outsourcing

To outsource your bookkeeping or diy

Starting, running and growing a business is definitely more challenging than being an employee... read more

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Andrew OldhamOwner at Shoebooks
Very true Steven
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
Even if you do the books yourself, at a minimum you should have a book keeper check the integrity of your figures every few months, so there are no major surprises at tax time. Such surprises could cost you and your accountant a lot more to sort out.
Outsourcing

Is outsourcing for you?

Sometimes, it can be best for your business to let others do certain tasks for you.  These can... read more

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Allan Bennetto Founder at JMango
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Thanks Allan for a great article highlighting the benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing. While outsourcing may not be for everyone, it's clear that communication is the key. For any partnership to work, both parties need to understand each other, be able to communicate clearly, be comfortable in asking questions and be available for each other when needed. Working as a VA, I've definitely found that the easiest and often more rewarding Client relationships I have are with great communicators!
Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
I often find, outsourcing overseas is a huge change in mindset and everything. It will also increase your management time in the short term and lead to waste in resources too. Local outsourcing might be a better option for first time outsources, or have a middleman help you! Thanks for highlighting these key points, I've experienced most of these myself too :D
Outsourcing

Is outsourcing really offering you a competitive advantage?

I recently saw a topic post on LinkedIn promoting "Outsourcing as your competitive advantage"... read more

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Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
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Do you interview offshore "virtual" staff differently than you would domestic staff? If so, how?

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Wendy HuangFull Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes
Hi Kevin, It really depends on what kind of role you are trying to fill. I've interviewed staff for more data entry type roles and the best way to handle them, and these are tips I have gotten from friends that run their whole business on offshore assistants is to allocate a budget and a very specific task for them to do that is reflective of what you are hiring for. And this has to be SPECIFIC, as in allocate a due date, a process to handle questions about the task, a way to submit the task and also allocate a time bracket in which to complete the task. If you are not specific the following can occur: They may do a great job, but spend many hours on it costing you more money in the long run, if this is not disclosed from the outset you could be walking into a troublesome relationship They may take too long and not meet the scheduled date.  They may ask too many questions and not be proactive in finding solutions which ends up costing you more time managing. They may not submit the task in the right way. All the above issues need to be prevented and clearly stated so you can concentrate on finding candidates with the right skill set and not try and fish out ones that can follow basic instructions and processes. Hire 10-15 contracts at one time, and then evaluate the top candidates based on task performance. You may want to give an alternative task to complete before then hiring a team. It's also great to have some backups to contact in case your original hire goes astray. If it's your first time hiring I highly suggest you use an agency, this will ensure that if your staff is sick or away or leaves you won't need to spend time retraining or finding someone to fill in - you may pay more per hour but these are the little things that I think are worth paying for. Make sure you are clear with the Agency regarding what they look after and what they don't. At minimum they should cover training, sick leave management and replacements. I haven't had any experience remotely hiring higher level management type staff so I can't comment on that :) Perhaps someone else here may give that questions a shot?  
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Outsourcing

No time to answer your business telephone calls?

Many small businesses are a one man band. At times this almost certainly results with incoming... read more

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Outsourcing

No need to send your Telemarketing requirements Overseas!

Telemarketing is a very effective way to communicate with potential and existing clients. Although... read more

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Sandra WrightOwner at AdminWorthy
Thanks for your feedback John. Very true. We know from experience that overseas telemarketing can do more harm to your business than good.
John BelchamberOwner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results
Great points Sandra, another business service where saving on cost is often a false economy. We've all experienced the frustrations of dealing with an overseas customer service/telemarketer pretending to be here.