Outside the Box


The word “outsourcing” sometimes conjures up images of entire departments shut down and moved overseas; yet, for brand-new, or small but growing businesses, hiring freelancers and remote workers is often the best way to grow the business when time and resources are limited. Outsourcing can be a smart business decision if done correctly, but it can also be detrimental to business if used for the wrong reasons, to the wrong person(s), or at the wrong time.

For some tasks, outsourcing to a specialist is not only easier, but also necessary. It is highly likely there are multiple facets of a certain business where the available in-house skills are not the best for the job. Hiring an external party that is better at these tasks is a great way to ensure the job is done quickly and well. For business owners, responsibilities evolve regularly; a key element of good leadership is to know when to step up and when to step out. As a business grows, core areas will require more focus; outsourcing less-important tasks makes this possible.

In reality, hiring full-time staff members does not always make sense, as there could be one or more jobs that amount to a few hours per week; not quite enough to be a part-time position either. Outsourcing can be paid for on an hourly rate or a fixed price for a completed task; either way, it can often be far more financially effective than hiring full-time staff.

On the other hand, the time spent on hiring and training when outsourcing is a factor worth considering. Outsourcing requires additional time spent explaining the vision, systems, and routines of business, as well as creating and maintaining project deadlines. While clear communication is crucial for a successful relationship with outsourced worker(s), a much bigger factor is trust. If you outsource a task, then spend all your energy micromanaging it, it negates any time savings you might have achieved. When outsourcing, take your time and make sure you hire the right person for the job to ensure this does not happen.

The key to successful outsourcing is documentation; if you teach something to a freelancer, document it. There is a good opportunity you will need to outsource more than once or hire multiple freelancers; if you have documented your instructions, you can easily pass them on to future freelancers.

There are certainly “wrong” reasons for outsourcing. Relinquishing responsibility of a task or project simply because one does not want to do it can disrupt progress. Outsourcing has to be done selectively and with careful consideration; it must not be limited to tasks one does not enjoy!

One of the best places to start looking for suitable outsourcing is one’s personal network; if it does not prove fruitful, there are several online platforms for that purpose. In a virtual, global work marketplace, anyone around the globe with a device and Internet service should be able to access low and high skilled work; this may create more competition, as well as new opportunities.



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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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