Outsourcing and hiring in-house experts to perform specialized tasks has been an ongoing debate for years. The truth of the matter is that there’s no universal answer for every company. Certain organizations benefit from having everything they need serviced in-house, while others thrive best by outsourcing some of their back-office tasks. It depends entirely on your industry, goals, and current standing.
What brings this to the forefront of most business owners’ attention is how either option fares during the pandemic. Learning to determine when outsourcing or hiring in-house suits your needs might be the key to ensure that your business survives the coronavirus era. If you’ve been sitting on this decision for a while, now’s the time to finally address them using these three guidelines.
Keep Your Competitive Edge Close
Perhaps the worst thing you can do during a global health crisis is to outsource tasks connected to your core business. This means anything that enables the heart of your operations and creates your selling point. For many companies that aren’t reliant on technology, they feel comfortable outsourcing their IT needs.
However, others in the same field could’ve utilized technology as the backbone of their customer engagement and made it their selling point. It would only make sense that outsourcing this in difficult times is out of the question. The same applies if you’re using specialized equipment like laser engravers on specific surfaces because you wouldn’t want to compromise your work quality.
This isn’t the time to give up or compromise your competitive edge. Now more than ever, you should ensure that you have a tight rein on it. Maintaining or surpassing your unique advantages over other companies might be the driving point of your sales.
If you’re unsure which tasks and functions are intricately tied to your core business, take the time to discover them. Watch out for these in-house activities and invest in the people that operate them. Unlike in outsourcing, you have unlimited opportunities to keep these key employees motivated. The more focused and inspired they are, the better your competitive edge will be.
Outsource Non-Specialized Tasks
Now that you’ve identified relevant and irrelevant tasks to your core business, you can safely name those that can be outsourced. There’s no denying that outsourcing can help you cut operations and overhead costs during a pandemic. Limiting these to non-specialized tasks that are irrelevant to your competitive edge will have a positive financial impact on your business. You’re looking at back-office jobs involving your data analysis, accountancy, compliance, and other administrative work necessary to keep your company running.
If your main motivation for outsourcing them is to lower your expenses, you can consider options like part-time or per-project contracts. You can also look into hiring freelancers instead of tapping established agencies.
Outsourcing is the most promising when you know how it works and the terms that best suit your company. One of the smartest outsourcing decisions you can make is to get a third party to manage your social media marketing. This aspect of marketing has grown so complex that leaving it in professionals’ hands might be the best way to boost your sales during the pandemic. Aim to fill the gaps in your company with third parties that are either reputable vendors or freelance workers. You’ll notice that transferring some of the burden to them can increase your full-time employees’ productivity and focus.
Identify the Right Mix
You’ll find that, at the end of the day, the biggest challenge might be finding a balance between outsourcing and hiring in-house. The pandemic calls for a change in your business model, and drastic restructuring like this will always have its ups and downs.
What you’ll want to focus on during this transition period is managing the risks. Those that you can’t avoid must at least be minimized. A prime example is the chances of human error when building your own IT department or manufacturing floor. Taking the time to invest in the equipment, train people, and establish health protocols within the workplace could mean a few weeks or months of profit loss. While certain industries can’t avoid it when making this venture, the loss can be significantly minimized through strategic planning.
The same goes for outsourcing if your company has never tried it before. You’ll want to be extra cautious with committing to third parties long-term because even the most reputable ones might not be the right fit for you. Give your company a reasonable margin for error and anticipate anything that could go wrong. On the other side of this endeavor might be the promise of better business days ahead.
The Bottom Line
Determining what, when, and how you should outsource and hire in-house depends on your company’s current needs. Make a thorough evaluation of your present situation and prospects. It’ll be easier to make the right choices when you know exactly where you stand and what it will take to get where you want to go.