When you’re working with a good outsourcing provider, there’s a big chance that a lot of businesses would want to work with them. And if they’re really good, there’s always a possibility that your partner could also be working with your competition.
No need to panic. If you’re working with a trustworthy vendor, there’s really nothing to worry about. In fact, knowing that you and your competitor are using the same outsourcing services can be a good thing. And if you play your cards right, you may even be able to use it to your advantage.
But First Things First
Make sure you have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that protects your business. It should cover any deliverables, information exchanged, and any processes that are exclusive to your project. Even if you’re working with a verified vendor, having an NDA should be standard practice every time you outsource.
Think of your outsourcing NDA as insurance. You’re not expecting anything bad to happen. It’s unlikely anything bad would happen. But it’s good to have one in the event that something bad would happen.
Now that we have that out of the way, remember that if you’re working with a good outsourcing provider chances are that they have an NDA with all their clients. So don’t even think of asking. They know it’s bad for business if they betray any of their clients’ trust. The chances of you getting any inside information about your competition from your offshore team is minimal.
And in the event that they offer insider information on your competitors, you should be wary. Because if they can do that to one client that means they can easily do this to all their clients. So if that outsourcing company makes that kind of offer, best to break ties and look for a more trustworthy partner.
I know at first glance this doesn’t look like a good situation. But knowing that you and your competition are working with the same outsourcing provider is actually a good thing. If you have a good idea of what services they’re also getting, this will give you some insight on how your competition works and use it to your advantage.
So how do you gather information about your competitor without asking your outsourcing partner to break their NDA.
First, do some reconnaissance on your competition. If you’re pretty sure that they also offshore to a virtual assistant to manage social media, check out their social media accounts. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Are they using the same strategy your social media marketing firm is using with you? Or are they using something different?
- Does it look like you’re using the same social media management packages or are they using something else?
- Is that strategy working better for them than with your account? In what ways are they succeeding?
- Is there anything lacking in their strategy? What can you do to avoid or eliminate it?
- Is there anything in their strategy that you can use for your social media accounts?
- Or is there something you can use to stand out from the competition?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of their social media campaign?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your campaign?
Take note of your answers and check which information you can use to improve your strategy. From there you can either work with your social media virtual assistant in creating better social media marketing plan for your business or look at other services your offshore team has that you can use to your advantage.
But keep in mind that it takes time for changes to take effect, especially if the strategy change is pretty drastic. And what works for your competition might not necessarily work for you. Your competitor’s social media content may look prettier but you could have a wider reach and better engagement. It’s also possible that your competitor has been using social media longer so they’re more adept in working with the social media VA in creating a social media strategy.
It’s also possible that they’re also using other techniques to get better results. These techniques that might not be part of the services your offshore social media team is offering. They might also be using strategies that you don’t feel comfortable using. You competition might also be using ads that directs to their Facebook page. Or they can have multiple accounts within the same platform.
As long as you and your outsourcing partner:
- work well together,
- defines project processes,
- and have clear, realistic goals,
then you don’t really have to worry so much about sharing the same team with your competitors. This simply isn’t about one-upping your competition. Outsourcing is about building a better, bigger business. Comparing your business with others in your industry can sometimes help, but remember that your path to success is unique. The important thing is that you’re building your business on your own terms and you’ve done all you can to make it the best.