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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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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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