Tag Archives: management

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How To Mix In-House and Outsourced

Often times, when we are talking about outsourcing a department or keeping it in-house, we talk as if the only way to go is binary. In other words, we think you have to go EITHER outsourced OR in-house. In reality, however, there are many, many companies that combine the two and that get fantastic results from this.

For example, a company that has a more than decent in-house IT department soon discovers that they do not have the right people for a certain job or an aspect of a job that needs to be done. They understand that this is a temporary need and that after a year or so, they will have no need for the additional people they would have to take on. Instead, they decide to go outsourced and bring in some help from the outside for the time being.

And this does not have to be a temporary solution at all. For instance, a company decides that they could outsource a part of their software development for whatever the reason – lack of local talent, lower costs of an outsourced development or anything else. So, they end up with a development team that is half in-house and half outsourced.

While this is not as an unusual combination as you might think, there are still a few things that need to be done the right way so as to get the most out of it.

Treat Everyone Fairly

When a company starts employing a mix of in-house and outsourced, there is a certain bias towards the in-house folks and this is perfectly understandable. These are “the colleagues”, people who spend time with the rest of the company, people who have friends in the company and people who are considered to be more a part of the company than the outsourced team.

In some situation, this natural bias towards the in-house team can be quite harmful. For example, if the two teams work on a project and the in-house team is not pulling their weight, many managers and company executives may think that it was the outsourced team’s fault, especially if the in-house team is not ready to own up to their mistakes.

If you are combining the two teams, make sure that you treat them the same when work is in question. Just because one of the parts of your team is not physically present when you celebrate employees’ birthdays does not mean they should be blamed it they are not responsible.

Encourage Communication

Proper communication is always paramount when you hire an outsourced partner. If you are doing the whole in-house feat. outsourced thing, communication becomes even more important. A daily email blast will not do and you will have to invest in some sort of collaboration software. You can check out a very interesting example of just the type of software at this link. By employing some sort of collaboration software, everyone will be on the same page and it will be far easier to coordinate everyone’s efforts so that the targets are met and goals are achieved.

Of course, you will also encourage both your outsourced part of the team and your in-house people to communicate any problems that they are encountering. If someone has a suggestion on how this mix could deliver even better results, make sure you hear them out. This way, you will hear some truly great things that might boost the productivity of your combined team manifold.

Track the Results

As is often the case, employing this interesting mix of in-house and outsourced should only be done if the results justify it. In order to decide whether this is the case, you will need to determine your KPIs and track the results to find out whether the KPIs are met. Perhaps you will find out that it might actually make more sense to hire an additional team that will work in-house or maybe an exclusively outsourced team would work the best?

Just make sure this hybrid approach is working for you. If it is not, cut it as soon as you are certain it will not pick up the pace.

Sometimes you just need to make difficult business decisions.

 

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Outsourcing and Other Tricks SMBs Can Use To Get Ahead

The ultimate goal of every small business (or in fact, any business regardless of its size) is to get ahead of the competition, grow and increase its revenue. Often times, it is enough for a company to stick to the tried and true tenets of doing good business, but often times, there is need for those little tricks other SMB owners do not think of. Today, we will be talking about these little tricks and how they can do wonders for a smartly run small business.

Use Outsourcing

Outsourcing is one of the smartest things small business owners can do and this is especially true for certain aspects of running their company. For example, you should definitely outsource your IT department since you will probably have no need for an in-house IT team that will cost an arm and a leg and that you will use every two weeks. You might also consider an outsourced customer support and telemarketing teams where you will be saving money and reaping the benefits of companies with decades of experience.

Debt Recovery When Needed

One of the worst things that can happen to your SMB is that you have people and companies that owe you money for services rendered and that are always coming up with new ways and legal reasons not to pay up. For larger companies, this is not such a big problem because they have more revenue streams and they can afford if someone is late with their payment. For smaller companies, this is just not possible. This is why experts from a debt recovery company from Perth always recommend their SMB clients to pursue their debtors immediately. This way, you will always have the cash flow needed for your company to operate.

Reducing Employee Turnover

Many SMB owners believe that employee turnover is simply a reality of running a small business. They think that they cannot keep their employees no matter what they do and that they will go to bigger employers if given a chance. This is not true. You can keep your employees and stop bleeding money by having to replace them. For one, you need to pay them what they are worth and you need to make sure you provide as many benefits for them as you can. Also, they need to know they are being appreciated and that their opinions matter. Treat your employees right and they will pay you back, manifold while your competitors will be scrambling for new people every few months.

Base Your Marketing On Numbers

Often, when you run a small business, marketing sort of gets lost in the shuffle and you figure that anything is better than nothing. You set aside some money to boost your visibility and you sort of forget about it. As long as you are surviving, it works, right? Wrong. Your marketing efforts need to show just as much factual results as anything else. If you cannot see the palpable, real-world benefits of a certain marketing campaign, then it is not worth the investment. It is especially important to keep track of your online marketing success rate because you can easily fool yourself into thinking that a hundred more social media followers means result. It doesn’t.

Remove Guesswork

There is a reason huge corporations spend millions every year on business analytics and entire teams of analysts that predict how the market will move and what the company should do. This way, they base their decisions on data and analytics models instead of on guesswork. This way, they are dramatically increasing their chances of making the right decisions. The good news is that SMBs can nowadays utilize data and analytics thanks to various SaaS providers and pieces of software that can provide some truly fantastic insights to act on. This is the 21st century and the sooner you get your SMB into it, the better you will be off.

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4 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your IT Makes Total Sense

In the business world of today, an IT department or an outsourced service can make a huge difference. With innovation and quick responses being more important than ever before and with online marketing becoming such a huge factor, a company’s IT efforts have become a crucial part of its functioning.

Today, we will be examining why it makes sense for the vast majority of businesses, especially the small-to-medium ones to outsource their IT needs, instead of employing an in-house IT department.

  1. Money

Some people may find it vulgar that we start with money, but for the vast majority of smaller companies, money is the biggest factor when deciding on something, including their IT needs. Running an in-house IT department can be very expensive and even more than that, not exactly cost-effective. When you only need IT people a few times every month, there is little point in paying them all-year round.

Things get even more complicated when you learn how much professionals with the most lucrative tech specializations make. You will also need to make sure these people have somewhere to work, which means you will be spending more on office space. Then there is the equipment. The expenses pile up.

With an outsourced IT service, you pay for what you need and you pay a fee that does not change. This allows you to better plan out your budget for the upcoming period and make sure that all of your money is well-spent.

  1. Talent

Depending on where your company is headquartered and how much money you have to afford, you will be able to get more or less talented IT experts. The reality is that unless you have a hefty budget to operate on and are headquartered in a big city, the chances are you will be limited when it comes to top tech IT experts.

When you go with an outsourced IT service, you are getting people who have been “in the trenches” for a long time and whose expertise is never questionable.

  1. Equipment

For the most part, your accounting department will be able to get their job done on their ancient computers that you last updated in 1997. The same goes for salespeople whose job tends to be more about communicating with people than deploying the latest advances. Your IT people, however, cannot work with antiquated equipment if you wish them to have any positive influence on the bottom line. In short, they will need new equipment often and it will cost you money.

Outsourced IT services pride themselves on the equipment they bring to the table, equipment that allows their people to cater to their customers (i.e. you) as well as is humanly possible. In the IT world, latest tech advancements can make a huge difference.

  1. Scalability

Different companies need different things from their IT people. For some, the needs are quite limited, while others have certain jobs that will require an entire team of highly skilled professionals to do. With an internal IT department, it is always a hassle when you need to make it bigger or smaller. In one case, you are hiring a new tech specialist and it takes time and money. Conversely, you are getting rid of someone and opening a whole other can of worms.

With outsourced IT people, this stops being an issue. When you need more from them, you simpy let them know and they allocate more people and resources to your account. If you do not need them as much in the next period, you let them know. The cost of their services might go up or down, but once again, you know what you are paying for.

The most important thing is that with outsourced IT team, you get exactly what you paid for and what you need at that point in time.

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Why and How to Hire the Right Independent Financial Advisor for your SMB

Like we mentioned on a few occasions, running a small-to-medium business is a 24/7 kind of a job. It more or less becomes your life and there are innumerable things to keep in mind and juggle around. Of course, a huge part of it all will be your company’s finances. This will entail wages, income vs. expenses, retirement plans, contract negotiations, negotiations with suppliers, tax and insurance paperwork and so much more.

For someone who is struggling to keep their SMB afloat and who is dealing with numerous strictly business-oriented problems, keeping track of finances and making sure every financial decision is the right one can be quite difficult.

This brings us to the star of our article today – the independent financial advisor who will not be an employee of yours in the strictest sense of the word but who will still do work for you, making sure your SMB is being expertly handled from the financial standpoint.

How an IFA Helps You

There are innumerable things that an independent financial advisor can do for you and your company and, in the end, it will all depend on what you need from them.

For example, many SMBs need a financial helping hand in the earliest of days. Namely, a number of SMBs do not get structured and registered the right way and they suffer down the line. This is especially true if there are a few partners who are getting into the venture together and who are not quite sure how to get things rolling. An IFA will be the objective actor here, giving advice on what the best course of action is.

They will also ensure that you do not rush into things when handling other, more specific financial matters. For example, they will help you find the right insurance company and the right plan. They will also probably know some people who will handle your taxes in the best way possible. They are, basically, your protection against getting into bad deals and putting your SMB in danger.

Your independent financial advisor will also be able to take care of some more advanced financial dealings. For example, they might advise you on perhaps purchasing another business or partnering up with someone. They will put everything on paper and try to figure out whether this is something that would benefit your business from a purely financial standpoint.

They can also think of ways in which certain improvements that are a sizeable investment can actually be a great financial move. A great example of this are green home improvements that are made more alluring for SMBs through financing plans like PACE and other government-sponsored incentives.

How to Recognize the Right IFA for Your Company

Of course, in order to reap all the benefits of having an IFA work for you and your company, you should find someone who knows what they are doing and who fits well with your company.

The best place to start are your fellow SMB owners who might have used the services of an IFA themselves and who have someone to recommend. You can also check the local directories and websites where IFAs advertise their services.

When narrowing your search, you should look at the areas in which they are true experts. For instance, one IFA can be better at day-to-day financial dealings of an SMB while others might be more versed in investments and purchases.

You will also want to check their past track record and talk to people who hired their services in the past. It is also a good idea to try and discover whether they will be a good fit for you and your business philosophy. This is something that often gets overlooked

Closing Word

The business world has become so harsh for the SMB owners that they need all the help they can get. If you can afford it, finding a great independent financial advisor can turn out to be the best decision you have made for your SMB.

Why It is Important Your Outside Partners are Reputable

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In case you choose to work with outside partners on a certain aspect of running your business, whether we are talking about outsourced salespeople, outside IT service providers, financial advisors or anything else, there are a few factors that will contribute to you decision and that will help you get the most out of your outside partners. One of those factors is their reputability, i.e. the opinion other people have of them, their presence in the industry and the way they conduct themselves in day-to-day business.

Why Reputation is Essential

The simplest way to explain the importance of reputation is to view it as the best and most precise indicator of how well a certain company does its job and fulfills its tasks. For example, if a certain IT service provider that you have your eyes on has less than fantastic track record, their reputation will clearly indicate this. You will easily find signs and warnings about them, things that will make you second-guess and triple-guess your decision to perhaps hire them.

In short, if there is something wrong with the way a certain company delivers services or products, their reputation will reflect this.

Another very important thing to worry about these days is the online security of your business and when you are working with outside partners, it becomes even more complex of an issue. The good news is that data breaches almost immediately result in drop in someone’s reputability, once again showing the usefulness of this concept when looking for outside partners.

What More Can you Learn

In addition to finding out how a certain company conducts its business, their reputability is also a great indicator of some other things. Perhaps the most famous example of this was the case when it was discovered that innumerable leading companies (which conduct their business very successfully) employ very unsavory and even inhuman working conditions in their factories around the world. These are some very drastic examples, but even on a smaller scale, you can learn about the management of a certain company from their reputability.

For example, you might not agree with their politics and you will want to take your business elsewhere. Or, you might be worried that they are not environmental enough and this will persuade you to work with another company. Their reputation will tell you a lot about the values they hold dear and how they approach other aspects of their operation.

The Aspects of your Business that are Most Vulnerable

When considering the reputation of your outside partners, you need to identify the aspects of your business that will be most affected by disreputable service providers. We have already talked about the importance of online security and your need to ensure that people who are handling your cyber presence are reputable.

The same is true for your financial advisors and anyone who has any contact with your finances, such as brokers and outside investors that you may have hired for the needs of your company’s portfolio enhancement. You will always look for advisors and brokers with absolutely spotless reputation. A single inkling that something might be wrong is sign enough for you to steer clear of such partners. The markets where you invest should also be perfectly reputable, as should the brokerages you use. For example, the only binary option trading platform you should is 24 Option while you should be just as careful when investing in penny stocks and any other financial markets.

 Closing Word

Reputation is everything in the world of business and it is one of the best ways to protect yourself when outsourcing certain aspects of your business, as well as when investing or hiring people to handle certain aspects of your business operation.

Be smart and take advantage of this.