With outsourcing all the rage at the moment and most businesses using some form of outsourced services, it is important to understand the process of securing the right services for your business. The choices and variety out there are astounding and can be quite confusing for small to medium sized business as well as the bigger players out there. The following is a brief step-by-step guide as to how you can choose the right external service providers for professional outsourcing.
Be clear about what your business needs
Know what you need or failing this, know what you do not need. Be specific when it comes to allowing others into the business, but also be realistic and act early. If you cannot manage certain functions, such as HR or finance, then you need to be able to acknowledge this early and have the right risk mitigation actions in place. This may very well involve hiring a professional HR service provider. Identify the business needs based on clear business objectives and prior research and discussion within the business before you approach an external service provider.
Do your research and due diligence about the possible options
Finding the right business support services should not be seen as a process of requesting and receiving quotations and generic plans for the business. Ensure that you have done your research on the firms you approach to discuss an outsourcing option. Check reviews from other customers and see if you can speak to some of them. Once you have narrowed the field down you can approach the possible service solutions and discuss your needs and their pricing.
Have a clear contract as to the services being provided
After these initial discussions and planning, you should work in tandem with your prospective service provider draw up a clear contract for the work expected and agreed on. This is a critical step and no matter how much you trust them and want to partner with the firm, it is the contract that will determine how you interact. Make sure it’s done and you will have the protection a clear contract can provide should you have any issues.
Ensure that your company ethos is maintained
It is a common mistake to make – an external service provider comes into the business to run a specific business function and begins to change company culture. Be sure from the outset to insist on your brand being paramount and as such the existing culture to be maintained. Unless of course they are there for change management.
Monitor and improve constantly
Do not get tied into lengthy contracts as business in the current context is incredibly fluid and in constant flux. Be prepared to change with the times and the business’ needs.
As the business develops, some of the initial need for external service providers may become obsolete or capable of execution internally. Only through ongoing monitoring and evaluation will you be able to determine when this occurs and make the necessary changes.