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If and When to Outsource

January 8, 2010

There are any number of areas in which the small business owner can benefit from the ever-expanding business scape of outsourcing…HR, accounting, design, programming, production, customer service.  The list is virtually endless, so how do you know when and if it’s appropriate to outsource.

First, know your strengths.   Take an inventory of your greatest strengths.  Assess the talents that differentiate you from others in your field, the skills that will ultimately set you apart.  Then, feel comfortable in outsourcing the remaining necessary areas.

Second, after you’ve assessed and inventoried your strengths and those you will be outsourcing, you’ll need to calculate the costs of your true needs.  Visit sites such as salary.com, odesk.com, and/or human resources forums to get an idea of the normal costs of the tasks you’ll be outsourcing.  Before you trust your critical tasks to someone else, you need to know how long the task should take as well as how much an appropriate professional’s time is worth.

Finally, once you’ve budgeted for upcoming and ongoing initiatives, you’ll need to research the alternatives and start the outsourcing process.  This may involve posting ads (if you’re going with the traditional local newspaper or craigslist route), listing jobs (if you’re going with the Monster or Careerbuilder option) or soliciting bids (if you’re going with an outsourcing intermediary such as oDesk.com).  Once you determine the appropriate outsourcing method, you’re left with interviewing and narrowing your selection to the most appropriate partner.

Ultimately, there are quite a few questions and steps involved in determining if and when to outsource, but consider these 3 simple steps as a guide along the way.

follow me on Twitter: @SmlBizSmlWorld

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