Traditionally, outsourcing specific business projects and functions has been enjoyed mainly by large organisations, but outsourcing, within the UK and abroad, works for small businesses and start-ups too – especially with today’s increased focus on cutting costs. 

The concept of outsourcing – contracting some of your business functions to other organisations – dates back many years. But in the last five years, more and more organisations have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by ‘off shoring’ and outsourcing. It’s now a $60 billion industry growing at 20% per year.

New research carried out by OutsourceMyProject makes it clear that start-ups and small businesses are keen to look at outsourcing opportunities and are seeing the benefits both in terms of cost advantages and in gaining the skills and experience they need to develop and thrive.

Recent improvements in telecommunications, IT technology (including broadband) and web-based collaborative tools (such as have made the possibility of outsourcing much easier for these businesses and it is used to ensure more effective and efficient delivery of a range of business functions such as web design, back office functions, call centre support and admin.

Increasingly, businesses are able to tap into the highly talented skill base available outside the UK in locations like India and Eastern Europe. For example, when setting up we outsourced to India ourselves. We are supported by a great team there who provide us with fantastic web design and IT support at a great price. It’s proof that outsourcing and ‘off shoring’ works for start ups and SMEs.

Other low-cost economies such as China, the Philippines, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine are all fast becoming key countries to outsource to with South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina being added to the list most recently.

Cut costs, not quality
It’s clear from our research that many businesses, though keen to explore outsourcing opportunities, are coming up against a number of both perceived and real barriers. They are concerned about finding suitable suppliers and that the level of skills, quality and experience may not be up to scratch.

Here are my top tips on choosing the right specialist and how outsourcing can save your business money without compromising on quality:

• Get quotes from different suppliers and from different locations: Get a good selection of quotes to choose from and remember cheaper quotes don’t always mean poorer service. Outsourcing overseas, or ‘off shoring’, to countries with lower cost economies can mean you get the same level of service, talent and quality for a much lower price.
• Research suppliers before committing: Read reviews about the company and find out what previous customers thought about the service they received.
• Plan the project: Make sure that you have a set time frame to get the job completed and arrange for payments to be weighted towards the back end of the project, this way you don’t risk paying for something until you’re completely satisfied.
• What will work for you: Think about which functions you could outsource and how much it could save you. There are several outsourcing options from traditional IT services to design or translation and even sales and telemarketing.

It’s essential that start-ups and small businesses explore these outsourcing opportunities in order for them to prosper, especially in the current climate. It helps to cut costs but also, perhaps more importantly, it can help businesses to gain a competitive edge by bringing in skilled and experienced professionals.

Loren Holland,

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