by Victoria McIntosh | Featured Contributor
Is your business debating on outsourcing a project to a consultant or firm? We all have reasons for wanting to go it alone: we can get by with resources in-house, we’re trying to save finances, or it just seems easier to make-do with what we have than go to the trouble of finding, evaluating and bringing in outside assistance. Sometimes however, going it alone is actually more costly, and whatever time spent finding the right firm is easily outweighed by the time involved in the project itself.
While it’s tempting to handle everything on your own, know that you and your business aren’t alone out there. One of my earliest decisions when I started freelancing was taking the time to find a good tax accountant. The day to day expenses and invoicing I could handle, but going from personal income tax to a small business felt over my head, and not something I wanted to muddle through. The cost turned out to be worth every penny: not only can I be assured things are getting done right, but the value in time, frustration and having someone with shrewd practical experience has resulted in significant savings. If you or your management team is debating on bringing in outside assistance, below are five reasons why it’s worth bringing in a pro.
Professionals Know the Best Tricks of The Trade
If the job is outside your field of expertise but worth getting done right, hiring a pro is definitely the way to go. A professional in their field, be it a firm or a consulting individual, will have more hands-on experience and training, able to spot issues sooner and come up with solutions at a much quicker rate. Specialists are more familiar with the environment they work in, which means they know where to start, what makes or breaks the project, and how to improve the final product overall. Moreover, specialists often know tips and tricks you won’t find easily on your own: shortcuts that come from practice, or ways to save you money during the process. A financial specialist, for example, is more apt to know saving that might apply or ways to access capital you hadn’t thought of. Marketers may have more ideas for promotion or better insights into your target market, and legal experts will certainly advise on lowering risk against the law. There’s a huge difference in appearance between amateur and professional; if internal efforts risk looking like the former, bring in the latter.
Get Access to Tools and Resources You Don’t Have
Whether it’s specialized software or a network of valuable problem-solving assets, a consultant will be striving to be the best in their business at what they do, which means they’ll be more inclined to invest better tools to get the job done. $70 per month for an Adobe Creative Cloud account might seem a bit pricey for a single flyer or one-time ad, but for a graphic designer it’s the cost of doing business. From hardware and software, physical facilities to knowing the best in the business for finishing details, outsourcing to an expert means you get the best assets on your project without incurring full individual costs.
Your Time Is More Valuable Than You Think
Time is not infinite, and in the business world where time is money you’ll want to make your time count. Adding a new task to your day or your team’s to do list might not seem like much, but ask yourself, what would they be doing otherwise in that time? Would it mean less time at the water cooler, or would it result in less sales calls at the end of the day? Would it increase the time it takes to complete other projects, including customer requests or new business developments? What tasks would need to be pushed back, and what is the financial loss on that end? If a task worth half your time takes hours away from an agenda that brings in more, is doing it on your own really worth it?
Outsourcing Can Force You to Take Action
Sometimes we probably could to the work on our own; problem is, we don’t. Internal politics clash whenever the topic is brought up, other priorities keep rearing their heads, and suddenly months have gone by without anything actually getting started. Bringing in an outsider is a good way to build the business case that the issue is important, that things need to get going, without searching for someone to make time on their plate. If you see an area of your business that is long due for some TLC but just can’t get the momentum, bringing in an outside practitioner may be the way to go.
See Business from the Other Side
Particularly true if your own business operates in B2B sales: bringing on an outside expert lets you be the judge of someone else adding value to your organization. How does the company you’re using treat client relationships? Are there issues they could improve upon? Do you feel the assistance was of value, and if not how could it be improved? See the business you hire through a self-reflective mirror and apply the critique to your own: if there is something spectacular about their service, can you do the same for your own customers? If there’s a major turn-off, make certain you aren’t applying the same principles to your own work orders.
Not all projects will be viable for outsourcing, but when the to-do list adds up it’s worth looking ahead. Just as we provide value to our customers, there will always be firms and individuals ready and waiting to bring value to us. Look ahead on your organization’s to-do list and see if there are tasks or undertakings that could use an outsider perspective and a little bit of polish. It may be one of the best business decisions you learn to make.
Victoria McIntosh is an Information and Privacy professional residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With over six year’s experience, she is committed to assisting clients with the growing challenges of controlling their information resources through strategic information management, data governance, and privacy controls. Victoria has received an honours BA in History from Mount Allison University, an MLIS degree from the University of Western Ontario, and is certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals as an Information Privacy Technologist. She works best with a fresh cup of coffee in her hands, or a sleeping puppy on her foot.