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Outsourcing for Small Business Advantage

August 8, 2010

Outsourcing: Your Personal Small Business Advantage
Outsourcing For Personal or Small Business
Growing Business or Personal Success Faster, Better and Cheaper
James Mirasol, August 8, 2010

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own business and being your own boss, there is no better time than the present.  Starting your own business and being competitive locally or even globally is now within reach of ordinary folks.  The only question is whether you are personally ready to get out there, make the move and see it through to success.  As the ancient Latin saying goes, "Qui Audet Adipiscitur" that’s “Who Dares Wins” to the rest of us.

In the famous recent book, The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman was completely correct when, as Tom Nissley on summarized “Globalization 3.0, as [Friedman] calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world…who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well.”   The key point is that the internet and the wealth of communications and collaboration tools it enables “lets the small act big”, leveling the playing field to the point where, for the most part, size no longer matters.

Furthermore, the relentless leveling of the international playing field is as true even within the outsourcing destinations themselves like Ireland, India, China and the Philippines.  Efficiencies in cost, turnaround time and quality are continuously driven by increasing broadband internet penetration into secondary cities and suburban areas, delivering ever-increasing populations of highly-trained or trainable technical folks into the available workforce pool.  The increased broadb-and penetration also fuels an increasing intolerance by this workforce to accept the higher-cost megacity employment trade-offs such as congested commutes and higher costs of food, transportation, healthcare and daycare.   With more and more skilled workforce now enabled to work from less costly locations, the cost of execution drops even further.

How You Can Leverage Outsourcing
Look around your local area and you’re sure to find an activity that is non-core or that can be done faster, better or cheaper.  In many cases, you can have all three advantages.
Find a location that has a highly-skilled workforce that is untapped or under-tapped and also has a distinct cost advantage. 
Remember, outsourcing is not synonymous with off-shoring.  You can outsource non-core tasks to an outfit in the same building or down the block just as easily as you can halfway around the world.
Consider culture when choosing between prospective locations if you decide to outsource over a long distance.   Seattle is not New York.  Look for a good match in education, legal and social aspects.   India is superior for many United Kingdom needs because of their historical relationship just as the Philippines is well-matched to the United States because of the shared history and culture.
Qualify short-list vendors well.  Just as with many things on the internet, there is an abundance of truly useful tools and there is also a lot offerings that are a waste of time.  Learn to weed out vendors that are more bluster than muster.
Develop effective success metrics to keep your project on course.  Whether it is structuring your partnerships or product development, build in an effective structure to keep things on time and budget and also to protect your assets such as intellectual property rights (your ideas), data (your customer or business information) and software, among others.
Find a lead partner to represent you in area you’re outsourcing to.  Look for someone who can effectively guide and enable you to “think global but act local”, as the mantra goes.  Local knowledge and capability always brings advantages that exceed anticipation.  Chief among the advantages includes a direct ability to verify vendor reputation, experience and training first-hand or coordinate face-to-face meetings.

This article may be freely reproduced under condition that it be reproduced in its entirety, that credit be given to the author and that a backlink to the original article be provided.

James Mirasol has been working in outsourcing business process development since 2004.  His experience includes contact centers, technical help desk, knowledge worker, data-encryption and medical transcription, online hotel sales and marketing and online sales development for a variety of businesses.