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Five Effective Outsourcing Techniques for Your Small Business

Outsourcing can be a scary word for a small business owner, but it doesn't have to be. Find out how strategic outsourcing can help you tap into broader expertise and give your business a boost.

Outsourcing can seem like a daunting strategy that adds more moving pieces to your business. But done correctly, it can add layers of expertise, release you from tedious chores and let you concentrate on running your business more effectively.

Here are five steps to follow for better outsourcing.

1. Identify Needs

In considering outsourcing relationships, first look at tasks that might take longer because you're doing work solo or with a small staff. Areas might include IT support, accounting, hiring or basic tasks like photocopying or shipping. Begin to identify which parts of your business could benefit from speed and knowledge.

2. Start New Vendors on Small Projects

Developing relationships with vendors begins with getting an idea about how they work. For that, it's much better to start with a modest task than with a larger, complicated project. Asking a recruiting firm to find a new administrative assistant, for example, will give you an idea about their effectiveness for when you need a new C-level executive.

3. Create the Paperwork

For most outsourced projects, you really should have a nondisclosure contract in place. Unless you're outsourcing the most routine of tasks, you're likely handing over business information. It's vital to make sure you're protected.

4. Be Open to Vendor Ideas

Although vendors will work on your project as directed, don't hesitate to ask for their advice on various matters. For example, if a representative from Staples tech services is setting up your wireless equipment, she may have ideas about how to increase your overall security as well. Be open to tapping into vendors' expertise, and you'll create a team of pros who work together for your business.

5. See Outsourcing as an Opportunity

Outsourcing doesn't have to mean setting up a call center in India or having an army of business consultants trying to re-make your business. Instead, you can use the strategy on a more modest scale to release you from tasks that otherwise would take up too much time. For instance, Staples Copy & Print can create presentation graphics or report binding, reducing the time you spend over a copier preparing for a client meeting.

From business card printing to CEO searches, outsourcing can be useful at multiple levels of a business. The key is devising an outsourcing strategy that makes sense for you.

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