Outsourcing: 10 Top Tips for Successful Outsourcing

As businesses attempt to cut costs in the new year, many small businesses are looking at outsourcing as a means to reduce outgoings, but how can SMEs and start-ups make a success of a practice traditionally reserved for big business?

Recently launched online portal OutsourceMyProject.com aims to open up the global outsourcing market to businesses of all sizes. Founders Loren Holland and Sumit Agrawal give their 10 top tips on how to make outsourcing pay.

  1. Clearly define your project and set out what you want before opening it up to proposals. Poorly defined briefs tend to attract low quality proposals and can often end up as much larger, and so much more costly, projects than anticipated.

  2. Don’t just go with the first offer. If possible get a selection of proposals from both the UK and overseas, and evaluate them.

  3. Don’t just decide by cost, look at other factors including experience, references and communication amongst others.

  4. Come up with a short-list and don’t be afraid to negotiate to get the best possible deal.

  5. Get references from people who have used the supplier before, you can ask who they’ve worked for in the past and get in touch yourself. Don’t forget references provided by the supplier are only going to be positive so try dig around for more.

  6. Once a supplier has been selected, make sure the full agreement and the payment terms are set out clearly in the contract, misunderstandings can prove costly and time consuming.

  7. Negotiate potential copyright and ownership rights upfront and make sure anything that is produced becomes your property on payment. In the case of web-based products, make sure that final files and source codes are transferred onto your own server so you can control future changes. 

  8. Agree procedures from the outset in terms of communication, project management, delivery and feedback and ensure these are adhered to.

  9. Be aware that deviating from the agreed contract once, be that by allowing late delivery of work or agreeing to early payment, is likely to result in accepted practice. Only make one off concessions if you are prepared for this to be acceptable in the future.

  10. Finally, don’t forget to leave honest feedback, even if this is negative. Remember how valuable feedback was to you in choosing a supplier.

OutsourceMyProject.com is a member of the National Outsourcing Association (NOA), the UK’s outsourcing centre of excellence.

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