Outsourcing requires effort on both sides

Tips For Small Business

August 17, 2008|By Stephen L. Rosenstein

Outsourcing - going outside your business for services you need - is one of the best ways for a small business to get ahead.

But using outsourcing to your best advantage does not happen automatically. Some outsourcing relationships can fail, costing your business time and money while a new relationship is established.

The key to outsourcing success for a small business is to go about it professionally. Out of pure necessity, small businesses started outsourcing long before there was even a name for it. An outside specialist can do tasks including payroll, building Web sites, managing computer networks, handling telephone sales and credit card processing.

Developing a successful long-term relationship with an outsourcing partner requires effort on both sides. It's important to treat it like a partnership, because that's what it is.

Be sure to ask detailed questions about the service you will receive, and access to someone who can answer questions and solve problems as they arise. For most small business owners, this kind of accessibility and service are priorities. If the firm you are considering won't be available when something goes wrong, look elsewhere. Speak with current and past clients. Meet with the key people involved and evaluate how you think they will perform for your business.

The Outsourcing Institute, www.outsourcing.com, is a professional association and a neutral "go-to" resource of information, connections and solutions.

Stephen L. Rosenstein is co-chairman of the Greater Baltimore SCORE Chapter No. 3. Call 410-962-2233 to speak to a SCORE counselor or visit www.scorebaltimore.org. To send a question to SCORE, e-mail smallbiz@baltsun.com.

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