Build Your Strategy
Step 1 – Align Your Core Goals with Outsourcing Goals
Your Business Strategy is key to the Outsourcing Strategy that you need. What does your business stand for? What do you wish to achieve with it in the short run and long run? Here are a couple of examples of firms at different stages of the growth cycle and their business visions.
A. Firm A is an accounting practice run by a Sole Owner with only 2 employees. The client base is relatively small but these small business companies/start-ups enjoy one to one relationship with the owner of the firm. The owner believes in giving personalised services to the clients. He wants the clients to believe that he is more than just an accountant. He’s also their overall business advisor. Someone who they can trust and come to in their time of need
B. Firm B is a small accounting company with 15 employees and 3 partners. The firm thrives on providing efficient services to the clientele and a competitive price. The core vision of the owners is to provide highly efficient services at competitive prices to contractors and small businesses across all industries.
Step 2 – Compartmentalising Responsibilities & Roles
Now you break down your current in house operations and decide “What to Keep In-house Vs. What to Offload to the Back-Office?” Whether to be Selective or Comprehensive in your approach. Let’s go back to the same examples to see how they would make the most efficient choices based on their respective business strategies.
A. Since Firm A believes in direct contact between owner and clients, it needs a more personalised Offshore strategy. The owner must remain in direct contact with the offshore employee resource/team to make sure that his always in the loop in core activities. He must treat the outsourcing resource like he does his own 2 employees. He needs a virtual employee that can be trained and groom to work in his specific style. Start selective and slowly train the resource to apply comprehensive outsourcing strategy.
B. Firm B employs client managers each of whom has a portfolio of clients that the manage directly in both work and engagement. Now instead of hiring new client managers as the client base grows, the firm uses the same trusted managers, and expand their portfolios. Each client manager is given offshore outsourcing help, either part time of full time depending on work load. There is a one to one relationship between the client managers and their respective dedicated virtual accountants ensuring that quality of work is maintained. The productivity actually rises even thought the portfolio is expanding. Profitability increases as offshoring has inherent cost benefits of up to 70% less cost, compared to hiring in house. Furthermore, the client manager has more time to handle client engagement to maintain a healthy relationship with each client.
Step 3 – How to manage Outsourcing
Does the physical distance require extra management? The simple answer to this question is not if you use psychic powers to manage. Take a few seconds and think about how you manage your own team. Do you depend on regular and tracked meetings? Or do you have systems in place, such as use of time sheets or quarterly reviews, to measure productivity and track the growth? Whatever system you use can be deployed with the same ease to your offshore virtual employees. Let’s go back to the examples one last time to see how these relationships need to be managed
A. At Firm A, the Owner manages outsourcing just like he manages his in-house employee. Use the same structure of learning, evaluation of productivity and reporting.
B. Firm B deploys a simple one to one management system between client managers and their respective offshore resource. It’s the client managers job to get the best out of the help and make sure that productivity and quality are maintained. Client Managers provide monthly reports to Partners of performance of outsourcing resourcing to keep a measure of it.