3 Strategies to Choose the Right Outsourcing Partner
Let’s talk trust. As in, trusting someone to come into your business and pick up those tasks you don’t have time to take care of anymore. It’s a scary idea, isn’t it? Giving someone the keys to your very carefully and personally created kingdom. After all, someone else isn’t going to know your product or service as intimately as you, nor will they know your brand, your audience, or the way you do things.
Here’s the thing though: it’s your business, which means you get to source, interview, and train the person or people who you are going to outsource your work to. You get to make sure that you are completely comfortable with whoever you hire and you get to make sure that they are properly educated on you and your business.
How to Find Help
Referrals are, in our opinion, the best way to source help. Tap into your network and share what areas you are seeking help in and ask if anyone can make recommendations. Failing that, the internet provides a plethora of people, whether you are asking on social media platforms or doing a simple Google search.
What to consider:
- Location. Do you require this person to be local, or will a virtual relationship work? Consider both the scope of work AND acknowledge how you work best with someone (ie having the ability to have in-person meetings or will a remote relationship work).
- Expertise. Depending on the kind of work you are outsourcing, you may require someone who has very specific knowledge and education. You may also prefer to work with someone who is familiar with your industry.
- Experience. We’re all for giving people who are in the beginning stages of their business a chance to prove themselves. That said, you need to do the due diligence to ensure this person knows their sh*t and has related experience and/or education to back themselves up. It’s ok to hire someone just starting out, and it’s ok to hire someone whose been doing it for 20 years. You just need to take the time to establish the credibility of their experience. References are key.
How to Decide Who To Contract
While you don’t have to craft a full interview strategy like you would when hiring employees, you still need to create a process to help make sure you are asking the right questions, setting expectations, and properly evaluating your options.
What to consider:
- Asking The Right Questions: Referencing the points above, you need to uncover the expertise and experience of the person or firm you are looking to outsource your work to. This means asking questions about their background, seeking specific examples of how they handle different situations, what their approach to work is, and what they do well.
- Setting Expectations: It’s your job to educate them on what you need. If they don’t fully understand what you need them to do, you can’t expect them to do it. Be clear about the work they will be doing, the schedule and time frame you work on, communication styles and strategy, and anything else that is relevant.
- Evaluating Your Options: Someone might have told you to ‘go with your gut’. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With that in mind, review the information you have gathered about each contract candidate and look at them objectively. Who is going to do the job you need best and meet your criteria?
How to Train Someone On Your Business
This deserves its own post, as it’s a pretty in depth topic. In fact, if you were to Google this, you’d get endless articles and blogs on this very topic. But we’re going to break it down simply here.
Areas To Focus On:
- The Value of Your Business: You do something very specific, and you do it in a particular way that adds value. Your brand, your reputation, and your integrity are woven into the value of your business. Anyone that you contract out to needs to have a solid understanding not just of what you do, but why what you do is valuable.
- Who Your Audience is and How You Interact with Them: It doesn’t matter if you are outsourcing someone to do your books or someone to do your social media. They should know who you serve and how you connect with them. If there is ever a chance that this person will interact with your audience, you need to be confident that they will carry forth the brand and culture of your business.
- How You Operate Your Business: You do things a certain way. Some of those things might be pretty standard while other things might be pretty unique. Getting your contracted help on board with your processes means that you will be happier with their performance. Be open to listening to ideas and processes they have (after all, they are more likely the expert in that area than you), but don’t be afraid to say ‘this is what I do.’
Trust takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you put more effort into how you source, interview, and onboard the people you outsource your work to, the easier it will be. You will have set the foundation for trust to grow.