OUTSOURCING – THE ART OF KNOWING WHEN, WHAT AND WHY
We all want to achieve financial freedom, expand our scale of business and deliver the best results. But, none of us want to ‘let go’. Doing every activity in-house will only make you Jack of all trades and master of none, causing you to lose out on the benefits of effective collaboration.
Traditionally, our ancestors did us a favour and figured out several solutions in the process of evolution – The most important one being the barter system. The golden rule was to master your craft, while seeking someone else’s expertise. This applies to all professions – doctors have specialisations, politicians have departments and architects have portfolios. We all are aware that it would be foolish to consult a cardiologist to check your eyes, but ironically expect one business to strategize, plan, market and finance for itself.
‘When’ to outsource is the big question, but here are a few pointers to take note of, before the big decision – ‘Will hiring experts add value to my work, compared to doing a mediocre job myself?’ and ‘Will outsourcing buy me time to further hone my skills and focus on bettering my offer?’. Often, people are hesitant to pay a big price for outsourcing their work. They expect great results, but want to pay the least price. It is almost like expecting to see chiselled abs after 5 crunches – bizarre. Somewhere along the line, we began to trust less, and formed misconceptions regarding professional collaborations. But, slowly the efficient trend of outsourcing is unravelling and independent contractors have increased by 85% in the past 5 years.
‘What’ to outsource differs from profession to profession. While FMCG firms would like to outsource suppliers, manufacturers, accountants and marketers, Hospitals and other brands would benefit from outsourcing online marketing, sales and website optimization. The trick is to outsource anything that you have moderate knowledge of, but know someone else can do better. This way, you can understand the basics, ensure the contractor doesn’t take you for a ride, and benefit from growth using their skills.
Often, we believe that ‘if we tried a little harder’ we could do it ourselves. Or that we would save money by abstaining from outsourcing our work. But little do we realise that we all have only 24 hours and it is not our effort that is a constraint, but our time, and outsourcing is more than just about saving an extra penny. It is about hiring the best plumber to fix a leak at a fair price, rather than trying to do it yourself, wasting your time, having no idea how to fix it and letting the leak turn into a pipe blast, and then paying a big price for it; which could have been avoided in the first place, if only you weren’t penny wise and pound foolish.
Outsourcing also lends flexibility to a firm, because it doesn’t have the burden of permanent employees, aligning with the new trend of having less permanent burdens, to amplify mobility and growth. In fact, outsourcing, especially outsourcing a marketing team may at times prove to be more economical than hiring and maintaining a full-time marketing team who may not be able to deliver the same quality of service.