For my first blog post I felt it would be appropriate to start with just why I feel a blog on outsourcing office-based work overseas is needed.
I started my outsourcing company back in 2007 and since then I have seen how 30,000+ different companies from all around the world have gone about outsourcing work overseas in literally any and every professional domain you can think of.
If its one thing I have learnt, having witnessed this wide diaspora of different companies, it is this: the vast majority of SMBs (small to medium sized businesses) truly do not know what they are doing when they are outsourcing offshore. I appreciate this is highly candid (and may even seem controversial, but hey, it’s a blog so I think I now no longer have to sugarcoat the truth) but it is the truth.
Here are some of the key reasons why just so many SMBs are getting offshore outsourcing severely wrong and how and why my blog will be able to help.
If you are partnering with a company based half way around the world, this naturally is going to make due diligence harder because the vast majority of clients don’t go on-site before deciding who to partner with (if they did 60% of the current vendors wouldn’t exist because clients would see just how incapable they actually are and so would not partner with them).
So in this blog I will show you how to ‘peel the veil of a website’ so that a vendor cannot hide their ‘true’ face from you. I will show you how to see an outsourcing company for what it truly is – a reputed firm or a rogue one.
Whilst due diligence is harder when offshoring, ironically, the vast majority of clients invest less time in the process of assessing offshore vendors, than they would if they were contracting with a locally-based company. Believe me when I say this! For a significant percentage of clients, due diligence is non-existent and their level of interaction with a vendor only goes as far as attaining a quote. The below example perfectly illustrates this:
The above client does not want to invest anytime in due diligence, assess our level of capability or even ensure that how we work is compatible with his projects requirements. He is focused on only one thing, cost. But making outsourcing a success is not as simple as attaining the cheapest quote. Although common sense tells us the above approach is not very prudent, it is nevertheless very routinely followed and this is precisely why more guidance on outsourcing is necessary. Clients get even the blatantly obvious wrong.
Clients need more information as to:
Why is it that the majority of clients that are contemplating outsourcing are investing such little time into the process? Is it because they are busy?
Truth be told, I am sceptical this is the real reason (I am generally more diplomatic about this subject, but again, hey, this is a blog so what the hell, right?).
Irrespective of how busy we might be, if we were partnering with a locally based company we would make time to meet the vendor in person or at the very least exchange a few telephone calls.
Would you really contract with a local vendor after exchanging just a handful of emails? Highly unlikely. But when it comes to outsourcing the same clients are too busy to take even a 15- minute phone call (whereas, as mentioned earlier, clients should be investing more time into the process). I am just sceptical that so many clients happen to be so busy all of a sudden; the numbers just don’t add up.
So, what then is the reason for this apathy towards time investment on the part of clients? My personal belief is that there are two reasons. Firstly, many clients do not value outsourcing and do not want to outsource (in an ideal world they wouldn’t).
This can be for a variety of reasons. Outsourcing (even locally, let alone overseas) is naturally a psychologically painful process; you are entrusting elements of your business in the hands of another company – not easy for us entrepreneurs who, more often than not, are control freaks. Other clients, I suspect, do not really want to work with offshore workers, but rather have to offshore and thus, on a subconscious level, are not particularly keen on investing time into the process speaking with offshore vendors and hence want to keep correspondence to a bare minimum. Those sub-conscience attitudes towards outsourcing, in turn, manifest themselves in the form of this explicit rationalization of “I am too busy”, i.e. this is the conscious conclusion we come to, to rationalize our rather irrational actions (okay, I admit I am no psychologist, but in my defence I have read several psychology books ).
Put simply, outsourcing often is not seen as a valuable undertaking by many clients, because it is simply not something we want or look forward to.
The second reason is because many clients have somehow come to the conclusion that, “there is no benefit in speaking to a vendor, if that vendor first does not meet my budget.” Many clients are “fishing”, searching for the cheapest quote possible, i.e. only when the deal is simply too ridiculously good to turn down will they speak to you. This belief is, however, wholly inaccurate and completely detrimental. Speaking with vendors will give you a huge amount of insight and knowledge into how you should outsource and what is feasible and what is not with respect to your budget.
Whatever the reason may be, however, that is not so important at this point. The key point is that outsourcing to a country like India or the Philippines can not only reduce your expenses significantly, but it can also radically streamline other areas of your operations. And so this blog attempts to better articulate the value of outsourcing and to bring these points to the attention of clients: “What are your attitudes towards outsourcing?” “Are you truly investing the same amount of time when assessing offshore vendors as you would local vendors?” and “If you do have negative sentiments about outsourcing is it really logical, given that outsourcing can add so much value to your business? Do such attitudes hurt the chances of your outsourcing success?”
To my knowledge, to date, there also is no widely public and commonly known and trusted process or methodology for clients to follow and learn how to outsource. There is no set outsourcing formula; everyone is randomly doing whatever they think is correct. As far as I know no one has yet theoretically broken down outsourcing and explained how all the main different models work.
This blog aims to change this by introducing a tried-and-tested 7-step process any company can follow to successfully outsource any office based work.
There are way too many misconceptions surrounding outsourcing. Few know the actual ground realities in popular offshore destinations like India and the Philippines. A blog is needed to finally voice and clear the truth regarding some of the many misconceptions that have gained notoriety in recent years.
Everyday, I see clients making mistakes in the way they go about outsourcing. More often than not, the reason outsourcing fails is because the clients themselves made a mistake by choosing a rogue vendor (not diligently assessing capability), choosing the wrong business model or having unrealistic expectations.
When outsourcing fails this truth is hidden and the blame is shifted and directed at “a lack of offshore talent”. What is not brought to the fore is the mistakes the clients made. This blog will provide a platform for highlighting how and why clients make mistakes so that other prospective clients can ensure
a greater level of success by learning from those mistakes.
The prime focus for most clients outsourcing is – the cost of the service. This blog will show why clients should not lay undue emphasis on cost and why it is more important to focus on “how much you will save” and not “how much you spend” (and why the two, when outsourcing, are not the same, or for that matter in any form of business).
Clients are also often playing a guessing game when determining what are and what are not reasonable fees to incur. In this blog I will show why what seems reasonable can be an unreasonable amount to pay and visa versa.
There is also a lack of information regarding just what outsourcing actually is and what role this business activity can play for SMBs. As the world continues to get smaller and more interconnected, as technology makes distance increasingly redundant and working remotely ever easier and more seamless the role and definition of outsourcing is continuously changing. More information is needed for SMBs as to just what outsourcing means for them in this new ‘virtual & borderless’ world.
Are you in any way hurting your local economy by outsourcing overseas? We all know that there are strong anti-outsourcing sentiments and rhetoric in the media. But is it true?
This blog will consider the other side of the proposition, i.e. why outsourcing is not bad, but rather beneficial for local economies.
This is also an important point for it also links to the 3rd point. Perhaps some clients don’t want to outsource because, on some subconscious level, they feel they are in some way hurting their local economy or taking away a local job. This blog will show the other side of the story. How outsourcing actually adds value, by contributing skills and services that simply would not be available to a local economy if they did not outsource, i.e. upgrading the capability of a local economy and thereby making it more competitive.
Why we should focus on encouraging entrepreneurialism rather than job creation (because entrepreneurialism is the egg from which the chicken – jobs – are created) and how outsourcing reduces the threshold for business success and thereby aids local economies. And why outsourcing is in fact a reflection of a strong economy; if a country is not outsourcing to some degree it is actually a negative sign.
Not only are there a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding outsourcing overseas, but there is also just a lot of clearly wrong and simply purely fictional information put out there too. In this blog, I will “put the record straight”.
Over the years I have seen many outsourcing ‘gurus’ (won’t name names) put out what is clearly biased advice that only serves to advance their vested interests.
The SMB outsourcing market needs expert advice that is actually impartial and not given with a vested, hidden agenda. One of the key goals of this blog will be to share genuine, impartial advice – that won’t be easy (from a purely philosophical perspective, actually impossible) but it is a goal for which I will sincerely aim and I am confident that by staying true to that objective many clients will benefit from the advice I share.
The vast majority of outsourcing advice on the internet comes from clients who have outsourced. Whilst I appreciate that clients will have valuable insights and experiences to share, it must also be appreciated that a client can never be a true ‘outsourcing expert’. If you are turning to seasoned outsourcing pros for your outsourcing advice, well, then, you simply are not getting advice on the topic from an expert. An outsourcing expert can only be one who knows the ground realities of the outsourcing world and has a high technical understanding of all the different processes.
As the blog is being written by the CEO of an outsourcing company that has extensive experience, it serves as an opportunity to share insight from “the other side of the fence”.
This blog will also serve as a platform for regularly sharing outsourcing tips and hacks so that you can get the most out of your outsourcing endeavours.
With limitless budgets, offshore outsourcing has never been problematic for large multinational corporations. The opposite is true for SMBs who, more often than not, learn to outsource through trial and error. As more and more SMBs continue to turn to outsourcing overseas due to local talent shortages, high local costs or ever increasing digital/,software demands placed upon them, the time has never been more appropriate for an (authentic) outsourcing ‘guru’. Having worked with well over 2000 SMBs since 2007, from 30+ countries in 60+ different professional domains, I am optimistic that I can provide greater clarity on what is more often than not a confusing and unknown space.
In summary, the objective of Outsourcing Adviser is to serve as a central platform on everything related to ‘SMB offshore outsourcing’. One place where any SMB can come to, to learn anything and everything they need to, ask questions, outsource successfully, and do so in the most productive manner.
Now that I have (hopefully) made a case for the existence of this blog, let’s now dive straight in. I can think of no better point than the first point I mentioned in this post – because outsourcing is done remotely knowing who you are dealing with is not so easy. Clients need to know how to “peel the veil of a website’ so they can know just exactly who they are speaking with. But before I can show you just how you do this, first I need to explain the different types of outsourcing companies that are actually out there – click here to read my next blog post – The 3 Different Types of Outsourcing Companies.