Running a small business in Los Angeles is tough. Even if you operate within a specialized niche, there are a lot of competitors to battle against. Fortunately, there is one solution that can help a business improve and stand out from the crowd: outsourcing.
There are numerous benefits up for grabs when you select the right outsourcing provider. If you go down the wrong path when outsourcing services, you could end up throwing money into the void. No business wants to waste their budget, but this is particularly crucial for a small business in a competitive, expensive environment like LA. To avoid such a scenario, below are seven crucial mistakes to avoid when outsourcing for your small LA business.
Mistake #1: Failure to have a plan in place
There’s no point jumping into the world of outsourcing without any type of plan. Do this, and it may result in more harm than good for your company. It can lead to you spending more money than anticipated or getting your entire business strategy all muddled up.
Due to this, and before you even start looking at potential providers, put together a well-structured roadmap that details how outsourcing will support – and not hinder – your plans.
Begin by outlining what tasks you plan to outsource. Then it’s a case of determining a budget, how many individuals and teams you intend to hire, and how all of this outsourcing will line up with your goals and overall vision.
With the right plan, less money is wasted, and you know which route to take for outsourcing success.
Mistake #2: Outsourcing the wrong areas
Outsourcing supplies high-quality work while you can focus on other tasks, among other advantages. Yet plenty of business owners are blinded by these positive points. They simply jump into outsourcing, unable to fully understand how it will impact their company. Not only that, but they also don’t know which business areas to hand over to a provider.
Ultimately, not every task should be outsourced. You must be selective when distributing work to external outlets.
Think about which areas you require the most assistance with when outsourcing. For example, you might not have enough time to dedicate to cybersecurity or IT in-house. Conversely, your customer service department could be in tip-top shape, and it’s not necessary to even send out a small number of customer service-related tasks to an agency.
Outsourcing your security and IT to a local Los Angeles IT services will see you benefit in numerous ways. It saves significant time and money compared to setting up an in-house IT team and/or training staff. Plus, you benefit from the latest technology and solutions and receive round-the-clock support from experts. By going local with IT services, you also ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of time zones and language compatibility, and you can even meet in person for in-depth discussions and reports. A lot goes into getting a good IT and security setup that needs constant monitoring to keep it secure and up to date. Outsourcing IT makes sense if you are a business with little time and who wants to put more energy into perfecting its customer service.
Mistake #3: Prioritizing price over quality
Price is a major factor when opting to outsource. From IT services to online marketing, outsourcing these areas can help to significantly reduce the cost of doing it all in-house. However, there is a line you don’t want to cross, the one that sees you minimize expenditure as much as possible.
There is a temptation to go for the cheapest freelancers and agencies around. As a small business, resources are far from limitless and you want to skimp and save as much as possible. The issue is the cheapest providers are usually at that price for a reason. ‘You get what you pay for,’ as the saying goes. There is every chance that you hit a goldmine with your cheaper freelancer or agency, but there is a more substantial risk than reward.
Don’t focus entirely on price. While paying a little extra can sting at first when you see those bargain-basement prices, there is greater assurance you will receive service that is more reliable and at a higher standard. That saves you more money in the long run.
Mistake #4: Leaving your outsourced team without any guidance
It’s true: when you outsource, this leads to your business aligning with experts in their respective fields. They know what they are doing when it comes to the services they offer. Yet it’s not a case of simply letting them loose without any sort of guidance from your side.
Okay, you are not going to take a patronizing tone and tell them how to do their job. That’s not conducive to a healthy partnership. What you must do, however, is supply them with the right form of guidance with your business in mind. Outsourced workers understand their role. They don’t understand your business from the offset.
This is where guidance is necessary. If there isn’t alignment between their task execution and your output expectations, this may result in work that doesn’t fit your requirements. To avoid a situation like this, it is recommended you put together a manual or operational guide that details your standard operating procedures.
When remote workers understand your internal processes, they realize the bigger picture – and how their services fit in. The result: the possibility of mistakes and delays are minimized.
Mistake #5: Not measuring performance
How do you know if outsourced work is done effectively if you fail to track performance? While you could simply take the word of providers, it is important you put in your own performance tracking to ensure expectations and goals are being met.
This isn’t simply for the tasks done by freelancers and agencies, either. It is essential to measure performance across your business, including the work which is completed by your in-house team members. Ultimately, both remote and in-house teams have to maintain the same pace; otherwise, it will lead to inefficiency in the overall function of your company.
Another key reason to measure performance is to uncover which areas further require improvement. Do you need to strengthen efforts with outsourced tasks? Maybe your in-house teams are struggling to hit their targets and require assistance. Solving issues like these further boosts productivity and alignment between all teams.
Mistake #6: Not doing your research
A rule of thumb is not simply to select the first freelancer or agency you come across. It is highly recommended you put together a shortlist of possible candidates. Make sure to pay attention to their prices, stated capabilities and expertise, and portfolio. When you get in touch with a candidate, also ask to see if they have the time and resources to take on your project.
Remember to also verify providers by studying customer reviews. While providers will, understandably, pump up their ability and service, reviews offer valuable insight you cannot ignore.
Mistake #7: A lack of long-term foresight
Unless the plan is a one-time project that won’t last too long, you should be thinking long-term when outsourcing work. After all, you are effectively expanding your team when outsourcing, and the plan should be to work with your outsourced team for at least a couple of years.
There’s no reason why you should keep chopping and changing which outsourcing agency to work with for your business. This is why, as part of your long-term foresight, you must ensure there are no compatibility issues between you and the agency.
To do this successfully, think about future goals, their flexibility if you have to scale up operations, and what continuity plan they have for the next five or so years. Also, make sure to put together an exit strategy in case the relationship doesn’t work out.