It’s possible to outsource and not let it negatively affect your reputation. In this post I reveal how you can outsource to save money, time and protect your reputation at the same time.
“Oh… so you outsource?”
Here’s a quick story:
I was at a barbecue a while back, and as the conversations go, we got to talking about our work. (The small talk of choice among acquaintances.)
When I was asked about our team, I said that a few of our staff live in Vietnam. And the response I got was: “Oh… so you outsource?”
That reply got me thinking.
- Firstly, the question was asked in a negative way. As if outsourcing itself is bad. It’s not… But it often can be done wrong!
- Secondly, I realised there are truly two different ways of outsourcing. But I’ll get to that in a second.
So I explained…
“Well, sort of. Yes, they do live in another country, but they’re our team. I started working with my main guy 5 years ago and we grew from their. When it was time to grow, I asked him if he had any coder friends too, and sure enough he did. Before you know it we’ve got a bunch of guys, who went to uni together, who are now coders all working for us full time, day in, day out.”
We hire them directly. No middle man. No other service. Just good old fashioned relationships and hard work. It just doesn’t matter where in the world they live.
Some people live by it. Some are scared by it. Other’s don’t know how it all works.
But whichever side of the fence you sit, we have to agree on one thing:
When you outsource, you’re not just outsourcing the work:
You’re outsourcing your reputation.
You’re putting your agency on the line, because ultimately you’re responsible for the work that’s going out.
So you need to make sure things don’t go wrong.
And if you’re outsourcing using the scatter-gun approach, you might be leaving yourself exposed.
But if you’re outsourcing using the relationship approach, you’ve got much better control.
The bad way to outsource – scatter-gun approach
And this is what has given outsourcing a bit of a bad reputation. And frankly, what has lead some agencies to become Emmix Partners!
We had to take over a project that went wrong. So I was talking to the agency owner and asked, “Who built this website?“
Turns out it was just a guy he found off Freelancer. Random guy. Cheap price. Said he could do it.
So he gave him the client’s website project.
And took it back after it went wrong.
Why? What happened? What’s wrong with doing this?
I hear this same story all the time from agency owners. And it’s not because outsourcing in and of itself is bad, it’s because it needs to be done right.
Giving someone knew, unknown, complete trust over a client’s project and deliverable is risky business.
Don’t go price shopping on every project. You will find someone who’s a tad cheaper. But they’re new again. An unknown resource.
The scatter-gun approach is haphazard. It has no direction. It looks for the cheapest and finds it. It doesn’t reward trust. It dosen’t build familiarity. It doesn’t create better projects. It puts you at square one every time, with every project.
And it’s a massive waste of time.
“But how do you find someone then?” I hear you wonder.
You start smaller. Giving someone your full trust and a client project, try them out with smaller jobs. Internal ones. Or if you don’t have internal ones, make one up. Spend some money first to make sure they know their stuff.
And then work that relationship. Grow it. Strengthen it.
The smart way to outsource – relationship approach
Whether you build a relationship with an individual or a company, this is the smart way to outsource.
As with all relationships, when you spend time with someone, you’re investing in the strength of that partnership.
Benefits to the relationship approach:
- You’re building trust
- Learning about them
- They’re learning about you
- Expectations are becoming clear
- Processes become fluid
- Outcomes become guaranteed
And when outcomes become guaranteed, you know you’re safe and right to put your agencies name behind that work. And you’re onto something good.
When you have confidence, you can offer it to clients better. You can rest easy knowing it will be delivered. And you can make money doing it. Happily. Safely. And your clients will continue to trust your work and your business.
Good things take time. And when you get into a rhythm, working with good people, creating great things… it just works and becomes a pleasure.
And that’s the approach I take with all of my work too. With my team and my clients. I’ve still got loyal clients since the day I started this business, 6 years ago now, because of this.
The relationship approach rewards loyalty.
Outsourcing can save you time and money. It can help you deliver what you couldn’t before. It can help you sell more and increase revenues. To retain existing clients. To give them what they need and want.
But only if done right.
So here’s to long-lasting business relationships.
Here’s to loyalty.