By Tope Longe 

If you do a quick google search on “the benefits of outsourcing for small business,” you’ll literally find a thousand reasons to start outsourcing to rapidly scale your business.

As a small business owner or manager focused on growing your business, you’ll definitely not want to pass on saving significant cost and time, realizing increased productivity and efficiency and access to affordable yet highly skilled experts to compete effectively, among other benefits.

But wait! Just before you leap at the many benefits, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of outsourcing versus insourcing to be sure that you are making the best decision for your business. No doubts, outsourcing when done right can be a strategic tool to rapidly grow your business, likewise a wrong outsourcing decision can put your business at a competitive disadvantage.

Hence, when you are considering outsourcing to grow your small business, a good question to ask yourself in the decision making process is, “How can I avoid the pitfalls of outsourcing to my business advantage?”

To get you started, here are 3 very crucial tips to help you stay focused on rapidly scale your small business with confidence.

1. Start with Clear Objectives

A sure way to outsourcing failure is hiring a freelancer/outsourcing partner without clear objectives, skill requirements and a detailed description of responsibilities and expectations. Starting without defining clear objectives is similar to starting a road trip without any idea of where you are going and how you’ll get there. You will end up waste your time, money and effort.

For a successful outsourcing project, it is extremely important that you and your freelancer/outsourcing partner are aligned on your objectives from the start by agreeing on all detail of the job, big and small, and metrics for success.

You need to be as detailed as you can, show similar examples of what you want to achieve as a guide to your freelancer/outsourcing partner and document your brief so you can always reference it later. What may be obvious to you probably isn’t to your freelancer/outsourcing partner who doesn’t have the same understanding and depth of your business. Wherever necessary, make sure you define other expectations you have for the project, including the total scope of the project, your budget and timeline.

2. Never Outsource your Competitive Advantage

The question of which business function to outsource is one of utmost importance and varies across different organizations. A general guideline highlights that you can consider outsourcing repetitive task such as data entry, specialized task such as IT support or expert task such as financial analysis.

However, you need to be careful not to outsource your core business function as different businesses have different cores. For example, IT support could be the core of a managed service provider and shouldn’t be outsourced while the same IT support function could be a specialized task for a Financial Advisory firm and can be comfortably outsourced.

The point here is; Outsourcing a key business activity that is the centre of your company’s value proposition leaves you vulnerable all the time. It might provide immediate benefits at first, but it could hurt your business in the long run, and in worse cases, it could put you out of business.

Always maintain absolute control over every aspect of your business that makes your company different and unique. As a rule of thumb, avoid outsourcing any aspect of your business that will directly impact your customers and revenue.

3. Carefully Vet Outsourced Activities

Just because you have identified the right task to outsource and set clear objectives for a dependable partner doesn’t mean you should rest on your oars.

One of the major risk associated is losing control to an extent because you are trusting the ability of your freelancer/outsourcing partner to deliver on your brief.

To get the best results, you should deliberately exercise control over aspects of your business that you are outsourcing to maintain quality, accuracy and timeliness. It is imperative not only that you receive regular status reports, but that you are also very satisfied with the quality of work delivered by your freelancer/outsourcing partner.

A good way to maintain control is assigning in-house project managers who understand your organizational goals and are solely responsible for monitoring the outsourced activity to ensure it’s in line with your accepted company standards.

Tope Longe a Content Marketing Specialist at Time Doctora time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams. He’s a lover of visual content and marketing automation technologies. Follow him @temitopeLonge.