Few businesses can go it alone and there comes a time when you have to look outside your team for help. The perceived risks of outsourcing are understandable. You’re paying someone else to do your work, you want to make sure that it’s absolutely necessary. To make sure that you’re not cutting your nose off to spite your face by avoiding outsourcing at any cost, but also not being frivolous, it can be smart to set up standards. If your needs meet any of these standards, then it might be worth considering.
When you need a big change
This might seem like a rather nebulous, undefined point, but there are few other ways to describe it. If the business is in trouble or it’s in a transformative period that you’re unequipped to handle yourself, then it might be time to call in a consultant. This might be something as minor as turning your office green or something as major as hiring a localization consultant to target an overseas market. When you’re heading into an area of business you’re uncertain of, don’t be afraid to pay for some sage wisdom.
When it’s cost-effective
This standard is all about work that you know you absolutely need to pay for. You need someone to do it one way or the other, the question is who. If you’re growing an internal computer network and you need someone to maintain and provide fixes for it, then you need an IT support team. But if the business isn’t big enough to sustain a team or a network isn’t big enough to adequately provide them with a steady stream of work, then you could be wasting money on an IT team that spends their time sitting waiting for work. For any instances like that, outsourcing to an as-you-need-it team is going to be much more cost-effective.
When you’re snowed under
Sometimes, the work you need done falls well within your usual operational capacity, but there’s so much to be done you just can’t see how you will get it done. Delegating should be the first step, but if your team is under as heavy a workload, then using a virtual assistant can help you take care of the admin work threatening to bury you.
When you only need the skills temporarily
You’re not going to have the need for all the skills you use all the time. For instance, when building a business website, you’re not going to hire a web designer in-house. Once they’re finished with your website, what would you do with them? Some of the outsourced services you’ll be using might be more recurring, like a chartered accountant you use once or twice a year simply for tax preparation and tidying up bookkeeping. At some point in future, it might make more sense to scale and welcome those recurring roles in the business proper, but don’t be afraid to outsource until you get to the point you can justify that.
The four standards listed above are, of course, examples, and you might think of others. For instance, if it’s a legal necessity, such as an HR consultant for a business without a proper policy, then it’s probably wise, too. What other standards for outsourcing can you think of?