There are a number of reasons why some good relationships don’t last. And the main reason for this is that businesses change. Your outsourcing vendor has stopped offering the services you need. Or you stopped delegating outsourcing projects.
Or maybe your outsourcing needs have changed. Maybe you need an SEO virtual assistant who can also manage social media. Maybe you need more of a virtual executive assistant with more specialized skills, like someone who can do some graphic design or WordPress.
Or maybe things simply didn’t work out and they really couldn’t provide what you need.
Regardless of the circumstances, ending any outsourcing relationship doesn’t have to be painful or tumultuous. Even if things started to get rocky in the end, it’s helpful if both parties still try to part on friendly terms.
How do you end things well if you got off at the wrong foot?
The best place to start would be to recognize the fact that the intentions were good and the problem was in the execution. Honest people don’t go into business with the intention of screwing over their customers. Almost all business owners WANT to help their customers, it’s just that there are simply some things you don’t agree on.
Once you both agree to end the relationship, the blame game has to stop. If the relationship was really bad, giving goodwill gesture can help heal some wounds. A good place to start would be to show a bit of appreciation for the work that our outsourcing partner have done. Even if it’s a simple email saying that you appreciate what you did but things simply didn’t work out.
And if they did good work for you but you simply didn’t need their services anymore, you can take it a step further. Give them a bonus for doing a good job or give a great testimonial they can use for their website. You can even provide them with referrals so they can stay in business even after you leave.
Ending an outsourcing contract, in a way is like going through a divorce. Both parties have to settle things before you can legally start a new partnership with someone else.
Before you finalize the end of contract, there are a few important things you have to do. Ideally, you should have this outlined in your outsourcing strategy even before you start an outsourcing contract.
- Review your outsourcing contracts. Make sure your NDA covers all the information and processes you want to protect.
- Product turnover. Have your outsourcing vendor turn over all the deliverables to you in the agreed upon format.
- Revoke and change access to your accounts. This is to make sure that they can’t access your resources for their projects.
- Do a quick debrief and evaluation. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a summary of what was done in the project so you’ll know what to turn over to your next outsourcing vendor.
It’s not personal, just business. So why do you have to work at being friendly when an outsourcing relationship ends?
Because ending things amicably is good for business. Even if the working relationship didn’t last, a good impression leaves the door open for future partnerships. You’ll never know if you need to outsource to that same company again someday, so being on good terms would them would help.
And even if you don’t work with them again, it’s possible that they know some people who you may want to work with. It’s possible that they’re also working with people who could be your potential customers or venture partners. So being friendly with them would help if ever you need an introduction or referral to people in their network.
Also, remember that businesses are built and comprised of people. As much as we would like to keep feelings out of the equation, they do play a role in how we work. So rather than burn bridges, find ways to mend them. Or at least be open to the possibility of mending bridges. Because you never know what the future brings. What may be a bad fit right now might just end up being that perfect outsourcing partner down the road.