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10 Reasons to Outsource Your Business

10 Reasons to Outsource Your Business

Outsourcing by sending some of your company’s work to a third party is an increasingly common way of doing business in the 21st century. It was first developed in the late 1980s as a way companies could gain a competitive edge in the newly global market, and is now used widely across a number of fields. Here are just some of the reasons you should consider outsourcing for your business.

1. Labor costs

One of the main reasons businesses began outsourcing is because it is an effective way to decrease labor costs. This is because, rather than employing a number of full-time staff who are on the payroll even when their services may not be required, outsourcing provides you with a flexible workforce who can work only when needed. What’s more, the cost of labor in some countries is significantly lower than it is in the U.S., which means that even if you are a small company or only outsourcing a small portion of your work, you could still see an extreme reduction in labor costs.

2. Infrastructure and material costs

In additional to decreasing labor costs, outsourcing also allows businesses to cut down on other expenses, such as materials and shipping costs. The cost of materials you use may be decreased by moving some functions overseas, where those materials may be obtainable for significantly cheaper. You may also save on shipping costs if the materials you need for the outsourced functions are available in their new location. You will also save on infrastructure costs, as these will become your outsourcing partner’s responsibility.

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3. Efficiency

Outsourcing also leads to increased efficiency, because you are entrusting non-central company functions to experts elsewhere. Since these vendors are specialists in their area, they are intimately familiar with its ins and outs in a way that members your employees couldn’t be without extensive investment and training. This way, the functions you’ve outsourced can be completed both effectively and efficiently by highly-trained experts in the field who are able to implement their skills and knowledge immediately.

For example, by outsourcing your accounting department, you are taking the burden of mastering complicated accounting duties away from your own offices. This allows you to focus more on your core business functions. Meanwhile, your accounting work will be completed quickly and smoothly by your outside experts of choice.

4. Core business functions

When you keep all of your businesses functions housed together, things get busy and complicated, and your core functions can get overwhelmed by outside issues. These back-end operations end up requiring significant funds and attention, which detracting from what should be your more central concerns. If you outsource those back-end pieces of your company though, it allows you to focus all of your attention and resources on more essential parts of the business. Comfortable in the knowledge that experts elsewhere are dealing with the other functions required to keep your business running, you can put more of your energy toward research, development, and other ways of improving your business’s products and services.

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5. Customer satisfaction

The increased efficiency and ability to focus on your core business functions that come with outsourcing will also have a large, positive impact on the satisfaction of your customers. You’ll be able to produce your products and services faster, which is always a hit. You don’t need to have a separate department at your place, most of the work, even accounting, can be outsourced, thanks to the internet. Plus, with non-core tasks in the hands of experts elsewhere, you’ll be able to focus more on your central functions, thereby improving the quality of products and services you offer. What’s more, by breaking your company down into specialized units, you increase your ability to respond quickly to changes or issues, so any customer complaints or problems can be handled more smoothly.

6. Risk management and continuity

Risk management is central to any business, especially during times of change, such as mergers, downsizing, or management changes. Outsourcing certain departments can help in these transitional times because it lets those areas of your company’s work remain unchanged. Plus, your outsourcing partner will absorb any of the risks associated with the departments it now oversees. This can also help your company maintain an appearance of continuity, as products or services coming from the outsourcing partner will stay the same, too.

7. Globalization

Sending part of your business overseas also enables you to plant your company more firmly within today’s increasingly global markets. These days, many American companies site their international sales as making up a third or more of their total sales. Depending on where your outsourced functions are located, you may also gain a time zone advantage from this new arrangement by having offices that are in sync with different world business schedules, allowing you to operate close to 24 hours a day!

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8. Flexibility

Adapting to changes in the market requires the flexibility to make changes to your company’s size and costs in response to a changing market. You need to be able to react in time to cut the necessary costs during downturns or to ramp back up when the market bounces back.  This is very difficult for companies with large, centralized infrastructures. Outsourcing can help solve this problem because it lets you have short term and flexible contracts with your outsourcing partners. Then your company can cut down or ramp up on staff, production, etc. right away in response to changes in the market.

9. Resources

Having some of your businesses functions outsourced also gives your company accessed to new resources and frees up resources that would otherwise be devoted to those back-end functions. With the outsourced aspects of your business now being taken care of by experts in the field, you’ll no longer have to use resources on recruitment, training, or salaries for those competencies. Plus, by creating a connection in a new, possibly overseas location, you may open your business up to more cost-effective resource streams.

10. Innovation

By outsourcing non-core functions of your company, you allow your business to focus its attention and energy on more central aspects of your work. Part of what your newfound time and energy can go into is developing new ideas. After all, the shift to an outsourcing model automatically opens your company up to some changes in structure, which is a great way to spur more foundational types of innovation.

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Meanwhile, the functions now being carried out by a third party outsourcer could also be home to innovation, because the staff in question will be highly trained specialists in the area at hand, they may also be able to innovate in ways that benefit your company.

Final thoughts

If you’ve looked at these numerous advantages to outsourcing and realized what a good option it might be for your business, it’s now time for you to make a plan of action. Decide which departments would be best outsourced to a third party and start looking around for experts who fit the bill. It may seem daunting at first, but it will do wonders for your bottom line.

Featured photo credit: pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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