A good man, or woman, is hard to find. The same can be said for the perfect outsourcing partner.
And the frustrating thing about this is most of the time, it’s nobody’s fault and everybody’s fault.
It’s nobody’s fault because of the most part entrepreneurs and outsourcing vendors can work together and have great working relationships. It’s everybody fault because working together isn’t as easy as most people think.
Like any relationship, communication, chemistry, and timing are key factors that would determine the success or failure of an outsourcing venture. And the sooner you know about this, the faster and easier it would be for you to find the right outsourcing partner for your business.
Reason #1: There’s no such thing as a perfect partner
Before you even start thinking of outsourcing, you have to accept right off the bat that there’s no such thing as a perfect outsourcing vendor. The perfect mate doesn’t exist, so why do we expect perfection from outsourcing vendors. All outsourcing vendors have “flaws”. Some of them would not have the skills or proficiency you’re looking for. Some of them work fast but they can’t perform complicated tasks well. While some vendors do fantastic work but they can’t deliver as fast as you would want.
Most outsourcing providers don’t have these flaws because they’re incompetent. Like any business, there are certain trade-offs and limitations. Some outsourcing vendors may want to focus on one service over the other; which is why they only offer limited services. There are providers that might opt for speed over quality because of the amount of work they’re handling. While some outsourcing firms may have longer turn-around times because they don’t have enough staff or they’re trying be thorough.
When outsourcing, you have to figure out what’s important to you and what you can let go. Is speed so important to you that you’re willing to overlook a few errors? Are you willing to wait longer in exchange for quality? Assess what your outsourcing values are to give you a better picture of what you ideal partner would be. Your outsourcing partner will never be perfect, but if you both share the same core values, you’ll find it easier to work and achieve more goals together.
Reason #2: Looking in the wrong place
When dating, most of us start out looking for what we want. We want someone attractive, charming, and great in the sack. But as we grow up and know ourselves better, we start to understand that what we want isn’t exactly what we need. We start to look for qualities like honesty, compassion and kindness. So we start looking for love in other places because now we have a better idea of what we really value in a relationship.
When looking for the right outsourcing partner for your business, it’s best to identify what you need first. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the services and promises offered from different outsourcing providers. As an entrepreneur, if you don’t know exactly what you want to outsource and you don’t have clear expectations of the product, you might end up looking for vendors in the wrong places. This means identifying the gaps within your business structure and determining how you can use outsourcing to bridge those gaps.
Take note that outsourcing vendors often have their own niches where they’re most effective. Some specialize on local search engine optimization while others provide more creative services like graphic design. And within those niches, there sometimes would even be sub-specializations. If you can target exactly what you need for your business, the easier it would be to find the right outsourcing firm for your needs.
A common example of entrepreneurs looking for outsourcing partners in the wrong places is with social media for business. Almost all businesses want to get social media optimization services because everybody is on social media and there is a market out there if you know how to reach them.
But if you don’t have a good landing page that converts customers well or your website doesn’t rank well for your keywords, your social media team might have a hard time achieving its goal. So wouldn’t it better to invest in website development first to make sure that your website is up and running? If your website is already working, you might want to get content development or SEO first so your social media team would have something to work with.
Reason #3: Not ready for that type of relationship
Going into outsourcing is a process. Some business owners feel comfortable outsourcing on the first try while some may find it harder to delegate tasks to people outside of their business.
The reason for this is because outsourcing successfully takes commitment. And we’re not just talking about committing to working with an outsourcing vendor or committing to include outsourcing in your business model.
When outsourcing, you have to learn to trust your partner. Most entrepreneurs would find it hard to trust their vendors first time they outsource and that’s okay. But in order to for your outsourcing partner to do their jobs, there has to be some degree of trust. Because if you can’t trust the people you’re working with you’ll just end up micromanaging every part of the process. This just gives you more work instead of lessening your burden.
Another reason why entrepreneurs fail at outsourcing is that they don’t make the commitment to learn the skills they need to maintain a working relationship. Skills like:
– Project Management
– Process systematization
– Effective business communication
These are skills that every entrepreneur needs to know. But they’re especially important when outsourcing because of the distance, time and cultural barriers these relationships often have. If a business owner can’t commit to doing all of these, they may not be ready to go into an outsourcing relationship.
Reason #4: Great partner but no chemistry or not the right fit
Cultural differences can be a factor especially if you’re outsourcing vendor really can’t relate to your business or target market. An outsourcing provider used to working for B2B companies might find it hard to relate to an online business that sells organic lifestyle products. A content outsourcing firm that specializes in creating videos for artists and celebrities may have difficulties working with businesses that sells medical equipment.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect fit when you’re outsourcing but it is important to find common ground. If their portfolio or test project shows that they do have skills to do the job then go for it. But if your outsourcing provider finds it difficult to finish the project even with all the resources and support, it may be time to move on and look for someone better.
Reason #5: Right partner wrong time.
On paper, this outsourcing vendor is the closest thing to perfection. You’ve talked to them and you’ve seen them work. You know you can work with them and that they’ll be a great addition for your businesses. It would have been perfect except for the timing. Maybe they can’t take in more clients at this point. Or you’re at that point in your business where you can’t afford their service or you simply have nothing to outsource to them.
The best thing to do would be to stay in touch with your ideal outsourcing provider even if you can’t work with them yet. One way to establish goodwill is to provide referrals to other business who could use their services.
If you want to outsource but can’t afford it yet, work with that vendor on delegating smaller tasks or asking for discounted rates in exchange for referrals. That way, you still get some work done at a price your business can afford.