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To Outsource or Not — That Is the Question (Pt. 1)

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As business owners, we want to bring our A-game to the table each day, so it’s important to surround ourselves with the right people. Knowing when and who to delegate to is key to growing a successful business, but how do you know what type of employee to hire? Today’s post will take a closer look at the pros and cons of outsourcing. So before you start wading through the talent pool, take a look at whether this might be the best strategic solution for you.

For many, the word outsourcing can conjure up negative images and emotions. This is likely due to equating outsourcing with offshoring, a term used when companies end up “getting work done in a different country, usually to leverage cost advantages.” This generally means that jobs that would be found at home are being transferred to foreign countries instead. While certainly not illegal, many consumers are not fans of offshoring jobs and it may affect your bottom line anyway.

Outsourcing simply means finding a third-party you can buy services from (ie. contract work). Your business can still save money when you choose this model, especially if your needs are short-term.

Hiring Takes Less Time & Red Tape

Need someone ASAP? Then skip right over traditional hiring and go directly to contract worker. If you’ve ever gone through the interview process, you know how long this can take. Posting up ads, sifting through resumes — you’ll have to do that anyway. But interviews and negotiations, perhaps not. Glassdoor studied the length of the job interview process around the world and it averages out to 23.7 days. If you’re in Brazil or France, tack on another 15-16 days. You could’ve hired a contract worker and been halfway through your project in that time! If time is a factor, outsourcing is your best bet. You’ll save yourself time and energy, not to mention next to no training period, which always equates to money.

You Don’t Have to Pay Benefits

This is a big one for many. We all think about salaries we need to pay out to employees but what many people forget about is benefits. The two costs together can make or break your business, especially when you consider you’re making these payments every month. This tends to make freelancers look much more attractive. Just think about how much less paperwork you’ll have to do too!

Freelancers Aren’t Hard to Find

Finding talent amongst freelancers is much easier to do thanks to sites like Upwork and Freelancer. You might think, well how do I find what I’m looking for? Freelancers are usually specialised and have one area of expertise. This means that if you have a specific need, like someone to design and set-up your website, it’s as simple as typing “web design” into their search bars. Chances are, when starting out, you don’t need a full-time web designer so outsourcing that work is a great way to keep yourself in business while getting the work done.

What About the Downsides?

Outsourcing to a third party is a great way for startups and growing companies to smartify their business. Instead of doing everything yourself, delegate work while keeping the cost of staffing down. Here’s the thing though — it’s not all sunshine and roses, there are some downsides. For one, taking on a freelancer or contract worker means they may not have any knowledge or expertise in your field. Even in creative industries, it’s not a one-size-fits-all; not all photographers or designers are alike. For instance, a food blogger may not have the skills to write a blog post on blockchains for your website, so you get what you pay for in these situations. Beyond that, they may not share your values either, if that’s important to you and your business. And, if you’re an eco-warrior looking to disrupt the clothing industry, you might want to find people aligned with your mission.

So, if the downsides don’t bother business owners like you in the slightest, then it’s time to see how outsourcing can smartify your business. But if you still have questions, check back next month for our Part Two on the pros and cons of in-house hiring.

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