If you are running a small and midsized business, with the cost of operations sky rocketing, you really should focus on your core competency, Sales and Marketing and should look for partners and channels to bring down the costs and overhead.
A great way of building a streamlined business is to keep the core competency to yourself and outsource the rest, either locally or to offshore partners. This article will mostly deal with offshore partners, though if you want do give the work locally, craigslist is good enough.
How and Where to find your outsourcing Business Partner?
Depending on your needs, you can either go with freelancers or some small company. If you are looking for freelancers, you can use following sites
5. Guru.com (US based, not in the range which you are looking for)
6. scriptlance.com (mostly for web development work)
7. PeoplePerHour.com (specifically for UK based freelancers)
If you are looking for small gigs, you can see fiverr.com. Lot of people are doing almost any kind of work for $5 at fiverr though there is lot of noise there.
If you are looking for freelancers and vendors but don’t want to manage them and the work, then you can use workmonk.com too.
If you have a really big work and are looking for some mid size offshore IT service provider, don’t search them in google but find them through your own network or look at linkedin Companies.
How to make sure your outsourcing partner is right for you ?
1. Due your due diligence – If you are finding the vendor on freelancing sites then make sure they have good past record and ratings. Feel free to ask for reference too.
2. Make sure the service provider can indeed deliver the work – One of the major problem with offshore partners is them missing the deadlines and you not knowing it till it happens. So make sure that your potential outsourcing partner is indeed delivering the work in time for previous work and clients.
3. Communication – Make sure you are working with people who are there online most of the time on IM and through email. You don’t want to wait 12 hours for every email reply. You can also take the phone number too and send quick sms if needed through Skype.
4. Time Zone – Time zone difference matters if you also want to involve in the work so if you are in UK or US, you want to make sure there is at least 6 hours of overlapping between your timings and the partners timings. Though I am working with freelancers for 8+ years and have noticed that irrespective of outsourcing firm being in eastern or south Asia, Eastern Europe or South America, people somehow manage to find the 6+ overlapping hours!
5. Skills and how flexible he is – You want to make sure that your outsourcing partner indeed has the skills to deliver the work (normally people get better in picking after few bad experiences) and how flexible he is, as the work requirement often gets changed specially if you are white labeling the work/service.
6. How much the vendor/freelance can carry the work by himself – Even though in outsourced work, someone else is doing the work, you can still spend lot of time explaining and understanding things, this can be a huge drain of time, resources and money so do make sure that the vendor/freelancer can do work on his own as well can take decision on his own too.
Tips and Suggestions to make your experience better
1. Don’t go for the cheapest – it is always a good idea to get multiple bids and avoid going with the cheapest unless you are 100% certain that the quality of deliverables will be up to your standard.
2. Give high priority to communication and commitment towards deliverables
3. Look for vendors who can add value to your work and organization
4. Look for long term solution – If you are serious about cost cutting, you should always look for long term partner who can do the work on his own month after month.
5. Look for vendors who are flexible as requirements often changes in between.
6. Have a Modular approach – Don’t give all the work to single vendor with one month deadline,
7. Don’t pay full upfront money and pay it on milestone basis.
8. If you have sensitive data, always use NDA. Also get the phone number and address of the vendor verified. You can download NDA template for freelancers from here.
About Author – Pushkar Gaikwad is the Founder and CEO of WorkMonk.com, a Project Management platform where we manage thousands of freelancers and vendors for our Clients. Currently WorkMonk manages over 180+ Clients who are white labeling the service/work of WorkMonk Vendors. When he is not managing Client work or coding, he likes to spend time watching random dog videos on YouTube.