Some business owners love or hate outsourcing pretty much for the same reasons why people love or hate dating. Yes, it would be nice to find a partner who can support you, cares for you, and helps you become a better person. But most of the time, dating can be tough.
You put your best foot forward in the hopes of attracting the right person. But most of the time you end up meeting a bunch of weirdos that waste your time and money. A lot of times you may find yourself questioning whether all this work is worth it. You might start to think that maybe it’s better to forget about finding the right person and just be on your own for the rest of your life.
But everywhere, you see stories of people who did find their perfect partner. And every once in a while, you meet a person that gives you hope that maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there who can give you everything you need and more.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the struggle most entrepreneurs face when looking for that perfect outsourcing partner.
The Good, The Bad, And The Good For Now
Like dating, going through the process of finding the perfect outsourcing partners can be tedious and frustrating. Whether you’re looking for someone to manage social media for business, local search engine optimization, administrative service or app development, you’re going to go through the same process.
But the good thing about going through the process looking for an outsourcing partner is that it’s good for business in the long run. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to better understand how outsourcing would fit in your business model. It also teaches you what you can expect from outsourcing vendors and how to make the most out of outsourcing services to help your business grow.
But before we go deeply into the search process itself, let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of outsourcing vendors you can expect to find.
1. The Failures – If it’s your first time outsourcing, you will go through a lot of frogs. A lot of them would be independent contractors or outsourcing firms who can see that it’s your first time to outsource.
They’ll try to take advantage of your ignorance and sell you things you don’t need.
In most cases, it might simply be a case of miscommunication or mismatch of expectations. Either you don’t know how to communicate well with each other yet or you don’t have the have the same expectations as your outsourcing vendor. Even though this outsourcing relationships would seem like a failure, they can provide you with a lot of insight. It will give you the knowledge to help you make better choices and communicate better with future outsourcing vendors.
2. Almost There – As you gain better understanding of how outsourcing works in your business, how to communicate with outsource vendors, and what to expect from them, you’ll find easier to find providers that would be a better fit for your business.
At this point, you’re probably outsourcing only short term projects to test the waters. Like when you limit outsourcing social media optimization projects only when your company has a campaign coming up. There would still be instances of miscommunication or mismatch in expectations but at this point you’d be better equipped at handling them. As your business grows and you gain more experience outsourcing, you may start looking for outsourcing partners with the same long term goals and company values.
3. The One. Once you’ve become comfortable with outsourcing and you have a clear grasp of what to expect from your outsourcing vendors, it becomes easier to find the One. We’re talking about that one outsourcing partner that you know you can rely on. The one partner that makes a significant impact on the growth of your business. The one partner that gives your business the competitive advantage and lets you live like a CEO.
Dating Etiquette For Outsourcers
We’ve shown you how finding the perfect outsourcing partner is a lot like dating. It takes time and effort to find the right one. And you have to go through bad and good relationships to find the partner that’s right for you.
Dating and relationships are perfect analogies for outsourcing because they also illustrate the best practices you need to do when looking for the right outsourcing vendor. Here are just some of the good dating practices most people do that also applies to outsourcing:
• Putting your best foot forward. Most outsourcing firms are excited to work with businesses with potential. If vendors can see that your business is going in the right direction, they would be more would be willing to work with you and accommodate your needs.
• Don’t give too much information on the first date. Don’t overwhelm potential outsourcing partners with too much information. Mainly because they don’t need it and all that information would just bog down the process.
If you’re outsourcing to search engine optimization expert for example, what they need to know are: your products, your brand identity, and your website goals. They don’t need to know the latest office gossip. Focus on giving them the information they need to get their job done now; not on miscellaneous information they might need in the future.
• Ask questions and show genuine interest in what they do. Taking the time to know more about a potential outsourcing partner will help save you a lot of time.
For example, when outsourcing to a search engine optimization agency you ask them about their experience with content or social media optimization. You want to see their portfolio to the niches have they worked in and what SEO techniques have they used that provided them with the best results.
If you take the time to know exactly what they can do and what they can provide, the more you get to know them. This gives you the knowledge to assess early on in the relationship if this is something that would work and where this vendor would fit in your business model.
Why It Pays To Date Around
You’re probably asking why it’s even necessary to go through all that when it comes to finding an outsourcing partner. Can’t you just hire someone to find the right person for you? The same way that most people now sign up for Tinder or Match.com to find the right person to date?
Yes, using recruitment or outsource matching services can help, but they don’t provide any guarantees. They can help narrow down the field based on your preferences. A good match on paper doesn’t automatically mean you’d communicate well together. In the end, you’re still going to have to talk to vendors directly to tell them exactly how you want things done. Your website isn’t going to build itself. Outsourcing social media optimization services are useless if you don’t talk to your provider.
Another reason it’s important to seek out and talk to outsourcing vendors is that it teaches you a lot about what outsourcing really is. The reason for this is that most entrepreneurs go into outsourcing with unrealistic expectations. In the same way that some people think that finding Mr. or Ms. Right is going to solve all their problems.
But that’s not what outsourcing is. Outsourcing can do amazing things for your business. It can help you save money, make your business more efficient, and make it grow faster on less resources. But it can’t fix a bad business model or bad management. That’s something that has to be addressed even before you start outsourcing.
Let’s go back to the relationship analogy. Some people think that once they find the perfect partner they don’t have to work for it. They think that if that person is right for you, happy ever after is going to be effortless.
But finding the right outsourcing partner doesn’t absolve you from business responsibilities. It makes running a business easier because you have less on your plate, but that doesn’t mean your business would just run on autopilot. Working with an outsourcing partner means regular communication, monitoring and feedback. Outsourcing is about working together to achieve more.
At this point it looks like a lot of work. And yes, finding the right outsourcing partner does take a lot of work in the beginning. Maintaining a good working relationship with your outsourcing vendor will still take some work. But once you find a partner that understands you and supports you in your business goals, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Yes, dating sucks, but finally finding the right one makes all that work worthwhile.