Get expert advice
e.g. What is the best way to market my cleaning business on the Internet?
Ask question
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

Added by:
Please login or sign up to comment.
Jef LippiattCo-founder 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

Added by:
Richard Eastes Co-Founder at GreenSocks
Please login or sign up to comment.
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

Added by:
Please login or sign up to comment.
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

Please login or sign up to comment.
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

Added by:
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Questions

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

Asked by:
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.  
Please login or sign up to answer.
Outsourcing

To outsource your bookkeeping or diy

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

Added by:
Please login or sign up to comment.
Andrew OldhamOwner at Shoebooks
Very true Steven
Steven AbrahamOwner 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

Added by:
Allan Bennetto Founder at JMango
Please login or sign up to comment.
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

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Questions

Do you interview offshore "virtual" staff differently than you would domestic staff? If so, how?

Asked by:
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?  
Please login or sign up to answer.
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

Added by:
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
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

Added by:
Please login or sign up to comment.
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.
Questions

Are there better alternatives to oDesk?

Asked by:
David Mays
If you're looking to find skilled workers, then oDesk/Elance are not ideal as you probably know. Granted, there are some excellent contractors there, but you'll likely have to wade through quite a bit of less than ideal candidates to get to them. Take a look at Hubstaff - they have time tracking like oDesk but it's not an open job site for finding work. They only recommend contractors that they have retained in the past so you know you're getting quality
Alice Albert at Part Time Internet Marketer
I'm doing freelancing from last 3-4 years. For me, oDesk is ridiculous and insulting. The only freelance job boards worth considering are SEOClerks.com and If you need help getting started on these boards, let me know and I'll give you a hand.
Please login or sign up to answer.
Outsourcing

IP Protection is like playing Poker (mostly)

What I am really trying to say is when it comes to manufacturing offshore there is a lot to be said... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Outsourcing

Operational Considerations for Offshore Manufacturing

It is becoming a common fact of many first world countries that domestic manufacture is often an... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Outsourcing

Outsourcing Essentials 6 - Quality

The manufacturing industry has an uneasy history with outsourcing to Low Cost Countries for cost... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Brian MallyonOwner at Luckypole Limited
A good article I think which provides a good overview of things to consider which relate to the aspects of quality. I would however like to make a couple of comments:- 1. I don't quite agree that manufacturers in low cost countries adhere to a lot of the lean manufacturing and quality requirements that are spoken about. Of course there is no one definitive answer, and it varies depending on country, industry etc. I see that as one of the many reasons that they are low cost countries for manufacturing in the first place. I have often seen a lot of waste and inefficiency which can only be acceptable in places where there is a large workforce working for low wages. As an example of this, from memory I believe productivity in China for example, is about one eighth of that in the US, meaning it takes many more people to do the same job. (Happy to be corrected on that as the information is from memory and probably a little out of date.) 2. One thing that is rarely discussed when talking about quality issues is GREED. I am not talking about the concept of overseas outsourcing, as that is a legitimate business process of trying to minimize expenses. Lets be honest about it, every supplier is trying to maximize their profit, and every buyer is trying to minimize their costs, that is part of doing business, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am referring to the buyer who looks to chip away at every area of cost to the point where it is not viable to buy the product at the quality they expect, for the price they want to pay. This is an unfortunate position where the supplier will often not say anything, but accept the proposed price, then replace the materials with inferior ones , resulting in reduced quality. Whereas sometimes paying just a few cents more per piece would negate this, and possibly avoid a higher level of returns and damaged reputations. That's why it is important to know what is realistically achievable and work with your supplier on an outcome that works for everyone concerned.
Outsourcing

Outsourcing Essentials 5 - Logistics

Assuming you have succeeded in selecting a suitable supplier and transferring your documentation... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Outsourcing

Outsourcing Essentials 4 - Specifications

Once you have evaluated and selected a preferred supplier for your manufacturing requirements and... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Outsourcing

Outsourcing Essentials 3 - NDAs & Terms

You have found a supplier you feel is suitable for manufacturing your products and have undertaken... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment
Outsourcing

Outsourcing Essentials 2 - Supplier Selection

Lets assume you have thoroughly reviewed your products and processes as outlined in the preceding... read more

Added by:
Brian Le Mon Owner at GBOS
Please login or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment