Given how rampant and well-received the concept of outsourcing is nowadays, the sheer number of active outsourcing companies in the market right now is not very surprising. It is, however, overwhelming—especially if you’re new to the scene. As a well-meaning business owner, you’ve probably entertained the idea of partnering with an outsourcing company to streamline some business processes and double your usual output.
But how do you pick the right outsourcing provider when the options available to you are too many to count?
What Are Your Business Goals?
In order to pick the right outsourcing company, you need to know what you actually want to achieve. By defining your business goals and determining the milestones for each goal, you have clearer metrics with which to measure success. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to evaluate the performance and services offered by each outsourcing provider you’re considering.
Realistic goal setting also helps keep you on track and your expectations in check.
Are Your Cultures Aligned?
Not a lot of business owners and managers realize how crucial company culture is—especially when you’re partnering with third-party establishments. Emotions often play a huge factor in team productivity, and working with a business that doesn’t share your ethics, values, or principles can add unnecessary challenges to your overall process flows.
If you want your team to stay prolific, you need to be sure they are motivated and emotionally driven. This can only happen if the people they’re working with share their enthusiasm for success. Regardless of what you’re outsourcing a group for, you need to make sure your company cultures are aligned. The outsourcing company you choose will become an extension of your team, and therefore must be invested in your business’s growth as well.
How’s Their Experience?
While we always desire fresh and original talent, experience so often speaks for itself. If a company has been in business for a while, it means several things; 1) the company uses a tried-and-tested model, 2) the company produces decent (or better than) services and results, and 3) the company has an existing, solid consumer base.
When reviewing potential providers, check their experience and credibility. Use testimonials, quotes, case studies, ratings and reviews. Ask for references when you can or contact previous customers yourself (if they’re listed).
To help keep your research on track, try to write down a list of questions you’d like answered, such as how long the company has been in business or how many branches/offices they have. This not only assures you of the work’s quality but also of the company’s credibility.
But that’s not to say talent isn’t just as important.
How’s Their Talent?
The best outsourcing companies offer an ideal blend of talent and experience. There will always be hundreds of talented individuals in any industry, all eager for work. What you want to know is how many of these talented individuals have found their way to the particular provider (or providers) you’re eyeing. This means finding out about the provider’s recruiting and hiring process, as well as their incentives and benefits (in other words, why do people choose to work for them?). You also may want to know if there’s any way to verify the abilities of the individuals working for them, like through LinkedIn or via customer reviews.
How’s Their Infrastructure And Tech?
Tools and tech play an important part of any business process in any industry. While expensive, state-of-the-art technology doesn’t always guarantee success, it can be highly beneficial in terms of convenience and productivity. Make sure the outsourcing company you want to work with has access to reliable and updated equipment—like laptop computers and highly-rated productivity software.
You should also check if their means of communication is to up-to-date i.e. emails, instant messaging software, in-office chat apps, collaboration platforms, and so on. It’s important that partner companies to have a way to communicate freely and seamlessly with one another. If there are no reliable means to relay messages back and forth, serious misunderstandings or miscalculations could occur during projects.
Don’t forget to study their hardware systems, software systems, and backup processes as well. Having to use erratic, outdated tools could seriously compromise your results.
Are They Financially Stable
Regardless of their size or industry, the financial status of a company can tell you a lot about them—especially them as potential partners. Even if you’re just planning a short-term collaboration them, it’s important to know how stable an outsourcing company is in terms of finances. This will help you determine the safety of your investment in this partnership.
Of course, a company isn’t going to report their financial situation outright. You may need to run analytics to measure the performance and value of one provider compared to another. Otherwise, some serious research—and calls to the right bureaus—may yield some helpful results.
How Are Their Work Samples?
And last—but certainly not the least—how’s their portfolio?
Now, an outsourcing company’s portfolio can be a tricky thing to maneuver. It’s like someone’s resume or CV. Obviously, the company is going to put its best foot forward. What you’ll be seeing in their public portfolio are samples of their finest work. You’ll be seeing all of their successes and absolutely none of their failures—which is why we don’t recommending choosing an outsourcing company based on their portfolio alone.
However, that’s not to say a portfolio isn’t extremely helpful. As a collection of their best work, perusing a company’s portfolio can help give you a clear picture of what they’re capable of. This, in turn, can help you determine whether or not the company has what it takes to deliver exactly what you need. This will also help assess the provider’s standard of quality.
All in all, there is no perfect formula to choosing the right outsourcing company for you. These steps can help guide you in choosing the provider—or providers—that best fits your unique business needs, but they don’t represent a plug-and-play solution. You still need to put forth the effort (and research) to ensure that the company you end up choosing is one that can truly help your business move forward.