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You have a business, and it is going well. One downside: the constant hassle of supporting elements of your business: keeping records, logistics, marketing, and managing IT services. You want to concentrate on the core business, not on administration; and you don’t want to hire staff to do it for you. One solution is to outsource one or more parts of your business process to a specialised company. How does that work?
What do you want to outsource?
Typically, businesses outsource logistics, accounting, marketing activities, or IT. These processes are both crucial and complex. You may hire the services of an accountant or an IT specialist to help you, but that still involves you doing a lot of the preparation – for instance, drafting quotations and preparing invoices. If your business involves a lot of accounting and bookkeeping, so much that you cannot do the preparations yourself and leave the rest to a hired accountant or IT specialist, outsourcing may be the solution for you.
Other services often outsourced are marketing activities and logistics. For instance, you can hire the services of a call center to deal with a large marketing communications campaign. Or, if you have an online shop, you may want to outsource the logistical process – warehousing, storage, shipping – to a specialised company. That way, you don’t have to rent a warehouse and arrange transport, with all that entails.
Find a reliable partner
Outsourcing can only be a good idea if the company you outsource work to is reliable. Don’t take the process of selecting a business partner too lightly; talk to other businesses, read reviews online, and find out the history of your chosen candidates. Also, be specific in what you want and negotiate a good contract with the party you choose.
Are you thinking of selecting an outsourcing partner in a different country, for instance India? Then take into account the time difference – is it a good idea to work closely on crucial business matters with a partner who is never available at the same time as yourself? Closely review the work you want the outsourcing company to take over: does it require personal contact with you, or is contact via email sufficient?
Also, don’t rely on your business partner too much. Make sure you know enough of the process you are going to outsource, to understand if the invoices you receive from prospective outsourcing partners are ticking the right boxes.
Prepare and manage the collaboration
When you enter into an outsourcing contract with a company, you have to be specific about what you do and do not want. Prepare well: which tasks does the outsourcing company take over? How do you want them to execute these tasks, communicate what they do, and report to you? How often do you have to meet for an evaluation? Manage your expectations and the other company’s carefully, to avoid disappointment. Draw up a contract that specifies, for instance, what training the outsourcing company’s employees have to have; if the chosen employees can be replaced without notice by the outsourcing company; what the hourly rate is; etc.
Outsourcing on-site vs remote
Instead of outsourcing work to a company that does the work from a different location, you can also outsource work on-site. That means that the company in question will second one or more of their staff to your offices or other business location. This is a method often used in business sectors like construction. Please read the article on outsourcing work in the Netherlands to find out about all the rules and regulations for this type of outsourcing. It is important that you make clear to the authorities that this is an outsourcing construction, and not an employment contract, to avoid having to pay wage and payroll taxes.