The hairy eyeballs of outsourcing stick out when I hear trades business owners complain about crappy service from their accountant, bookkeeper or brand and marketing company they have engaged.
Unpack the process of how they got that particular sh*t outsourced partner on board, and it's no wonder they dealing with the issues they are dealing with.
Outsourcing any function in your business is basically recruitment, be it bookkeeping or marketing... you are essentially paying a qualified expert to do the work for you.
You are paying really good money for these services, probably even more than your own tradies per hour, but we don't look at it this way as business owners.
I want you to think of anyone you outsource your business to as being part of your team. There are slight differences to a recruitment process, but essentially, it is the same, so here are 5 Non-negotiables of outsourcing your business:
1. Get Informed - research, research, research
The first step is to get clear on what you want to outsource and who would be the best person for the job. Google is your best friend here; for example, research what you are looking for (marketing/accountants/bookkeepers) and see if what they have to offer meets your goals and core outcomes. Get familiar with and understand everything they can do and how they measure it, so that you are well informed, prepared and can ask the right questions when you first speak with them.
2. Referrals + 2 Options
Like in recruitment, you don't just hire the first person you interview, so make sure you shop around and get a few options and referrals. Speak to each one and gauge their level of competency, what they have to offer and most importantly if they fit your culture and you each share the same values. You really want this person to be the type of person you can see yourself working with long term.
3. Compare Service & Pricing
In South Africa, we have a saying, "you pay peanuts, you get monkeys". What this means is that if you go for the cheapest, you can't expect the best. By comparing the services & pricing, you can get an idea of what the average asking rate is and who the monkeys are. You don't want to go for the cheapest because unconsciously, price is associated with quality and is almost always why outsourcing any service fails. You pay for what you get.
4. Double Check References
Another point is to make sure you double-check the references. In the past, I have fallen short by trusting companies who have been referred to me or by assessing case studies or portfolio's online. Take some time to call up previous clients and have a conversation about their experience from start to finish. A good question to ask is, "When you need this particular service again, would you use them?"
5. Style & Industry Experience
Before you make your final decision, do one last check on their style and if this is something you love or can work with. Also, double-check to see if they are familiar with your trade/industry, as this often helps them provide you with additional insights and experience on your particular job when you are working together.
If you aren't outsourcing yet, but busy as a bee, check out our blog Lack of Hours in the day isn't the problem...it's you! Take the test to see where you are investing (or wasting your time).