Recession Survival Tactics – Outsourcing

Part 6 of a 6 Part Series on Recession Survival

Outsourcing has a couple of applications within recession survival. It can help to manage growth more fluidly if you manage to continue to grow, or it can help you in downsizing if that is what you need to do.

Now, first, I have to make one thing clear. You hear all the time that it makes more sense to hire someone to do something if they can do it faster and more efficiently. The example is given that if you bill at $45 per hour, then you can save if you pay an outsourced subcontractor $25 per hour to do the job instead.

That ONLY works IF you have MORE profitable things to do in the same time! If you do not have enough work, outsourcing only saves money if it saves you from costly errors, or helps you make a leap forward in your business that you could not make without the service or which simply yield a higher result when done professionally (marketing, website services, printing services, etc). Otherwise, you really have no choice but to do it yourself, even if it does take you more time.

Outsourcing can help you find automation solutions (you can hire a professional to help you devise them, or to create or install them for you), it can help you create templates that you may not know how to create yourself, and it can help you handle work overflow (so you do not lose clients), without having to hire an employee.

If your business is scaling back, you can either offer a work at home option to your employee, and keep them on part time, or you can move to outsourcing to at least keep the services and preserve as much of the business as possible.

When you have a chance at something that you cannot otherwise handle yourself, or which you lack the expertise to do completely, you can find skilled subcontractors to help you with parts of the job.

If your services need to change in ways that offer different combinations of tasks than you previously offered, and you are not skilled in all of them, you can collaborate with other professionals to be able to offer something more. It is better to get $400 from a $500 contract than it is to not be able to GET the contract. In this way, outsourcing can help you be more flexible, to meet a wider variety of needs in changing circumstances.

Usually, outsourcing is built on a backbone of networking relationships. When you work with subcontractors, you develop a mutually beneficial business relationship. It often ends up being one where you refer other work to them, and they refer work back to you. It helps you build a network of people who know you, who know your work standards, and who are happy to refer others to you. Since they know you, they can speak with conviction when giving the referral, and that goes further than referrals from people who have not actually worked with you.

It won’t be a solution for everyone, but it can be a valuable tool in managing work loads, and in being able to supplement your skills with other specialized skills when needed.

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