Congratulations! You started a business, bootstrapped it until you raised some funding and now you’re ready to take your ideas to the next level. Behind every great company is a solid group of workers dedicated to its success. Every entrepreneur can identify their weaknesses and hire people to fill these voids. Running a successful business relies in part on building loyalty from workers and efficiently delegating tasks. A smart way to do that is through outsourcing.
Outsourcing is the process of hiring remote workers (third parties or external agencies) to handle different aspects of your business operations. It is an alternative to hiring full-time, in-office employees and leverages benefits ranging from cheaper labor, faster delivery and increased efficiency.
Many online platforms have emerged to connect entrepreneurs with workers located worldwide. The internet has made it easier to find affordable labor in any particular niche. This is ideal for entrepreneurs with a limited budget or small business owners.
As convenient as it is, finding remote workers and developing a robust outsourced group come with challenges. It is a process that consumes time and resources, and has a direct impact on the company’s progress. On the flip side, one of an entrepreneur’s strongest assets is a well-outsourced group. Outsourcing mistakes can become big pitfalls. It is very important that entrepreneurs educate themselves on the process. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when hiring remote workers that you can avoid for a better experience.
Mistake #1: Not Knowing What to Outsource
Outsourcing is tempting, but it isn’t always a solution. The benefits are such a lure that many entrepreneurs often initiate the process without knowing the tasks they need help with. This is not only a waste of time, but also of company resources. Before outsourcing, an entrepreneur must sit down with his workers (or cofounders), write down an elaborate list of the tasks involved in the different aspects of the business operations and figure out which is worth outsourcing. Outsourcing is great for mundane tasks that consume too much of in-house employees’ time (scheduling, automation etc.) or specialized tasks such as web management, graphic design etc. Once you identify your needs (the critical tasks that the business relies on to work day in and day out), you can invest in hiring remote workers.
Mistake #2: Not Having An Organized Interview Process
With the internet making the talent pool more accessible, there isn’t a shortage of remote workers. It’s easy to hire the wrong person if you don’t have an extensive vetting process in place. List all the qualifications you are looking for in the job description. Be as specific as possible (required years of experience, location, desired schedule, time commitment, hourly wage) so you can easily filter out unqualified candidates. Once you select a few eligible candidates, proceed to an in-depth interview, give them some tests and then make your final decision. You will have better results that way and this will have a positive impact on your business.
Mistake #3: Not Setting Clear Expectations in The Beginning
It can be harder to connect with remote workers because of factors like location and timezone. This makes it all the more important to go the extra mile to maintain clear communication with them. Once you hire workers, write an elaborate list of tasks and goals that you expect them to complete and emphasize on deadlines. Provide as much instruction as possible so that there’s no confusion and encourage them to ask questions. Setting clear expectations in the beginning helps workers to deliver and can increase productivity.
Mistake #4: Hiring the Cheapest Workers and Hoping For the Best
Some entrepreneurs try to hire online workers for the lowest rate possible and expect the same quality a work associated with a higher rate. Paying the lowest rate is more beneficial financially, but it often comes with poor quality of work, lower expertise and infrequent communication. Your turnover rate is likely to be high as workers will feel overworked and tend to disappear.
The solution to that is to adequately compensate online workers. It is worth to pay an extra few dollars as that will positively impact your company’s bottom line and you will receive the best work out of online workers. Look past the financial costs and focus on finding quality workers that will be loyal to your company and deliver high quality work.
Mistake #5: Not Fully Integrating Online Workers
One of the biggest misconceptions business owners have of their online workers is that they aren’t part of the company, but rather a remote support group that performs specific tasks for the company.
In reality, you can best scale your business when you make sure everyone is on the same page. Online workers can work better if they are fully integrated and have a real feel for the company culture. The research shows that online workers care most about having consistent work, competitive rates and being part of a growing company. Introducing them to the rest of the workers, telling them about the company history will build their loyalty and result in improved quality of work.
Mistake #6: Not Diversifying Workers Across Your Business Operations
It’s easier to hire one worker to do everything than to have multiple people do specific things. It is however a risky situation because that person can quit anytime. You’re then left to scrambling to rehire and reorient new workers for weeks on end.
If you onboard workers in different aspects of your business operations, you are in a controlled position to replace a lost worker with a current one while you look for another candidate. To properly diversify online workers, you should first identify all the tasks within your business operations and create a job posting for each task that needs to be outsourced. Proceed to hire a group of people that meet all your needs and specific skill sets. As hires become experts, you can recruit new people for them to manage and onboard.
Mistake #7: Not Listening to Their Ideas and Asking For Feedback
If you’ve been working with online workers for some time, you can bet they have a great understanding of the inner workings of your business. They’ve had the time to perform their tasks, familiarize themselves with your company, observe what works and what doesn’t. They can then offer some great insights that will help you advance your business.
Entrepreneurs will best serve their company if they remain open and listen to everyone’s ideas. It also makes workers feel more valued, which in turns increases their loyalty and boosts their productivity. Here are a few ways you can ask for feedback from workers:
- Have one-on-one meetings
- Anonymous surveys
- Create a collaborative environment and a culture open to ideas
Mistake #8: Failing to Properly Onboard Workers
Suppose you own an e-commerce store and you successfully outsourced someone to take over the order fulfillment process. You set up a call with them and walk them through the interface. You complete 2-3 orders, make them do a few more and then let them take over. It should come as no surprise if a worker makes a few mistakes because you haven’t given them enough time to familiarize themselves with the process.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is assuming their new hires already know the system they use or leave it up to them to figure it out. Or worse, they quickly touch on the basics and expect their workers to assimilate everything quickly. This negatively affects performance and delays the completion of a project. With proper onboarding, you can scale workers and drive your business growth. It’s especially important to give remote workers the tools and knowledge they need to execute their tasks well because of the communication barriers.
Mistake #9: Not Setting Up Backups in Your Free Time
One important aspect of entrepreneurship is anticipate future needs and prepare for eventualities. Having full-time, in-house employees is a huge help, but in times when these employees take sick days or request long vacations, you lose out on that person’s expertise for that period of time.
It is recommended to set up alternate online workers so that they can fill in these voids and substitute for other workers when they request time out. Keep track of everyone’s vacation schedule and have older workers onboard newer online workers for essential tasks that must always be complete. Make sure the onboarding happened by following up with each worker.
Mistake #10: Not Allowing Online Workers to Grow With You
As outlined earlier, online workers value being part of a growing company. They are okay with performing tasks, but they care about consistent work and growth opportunities. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs can make is not providing growth opportunities for their most trusted online workers. This shows that the company doesn’t reward hard work and dedication and can drive away the best workers. Allowing them to grow with you will positively impact your business and they will continue to produce their best work.
In order to manage the growth of online workers, you can incentivize them by offering milestones they can reach before getting a raise or a promotion. This tells them that they have an opportunity to grow with the company and will motivate them. When workers have goals to achieve, they work harder and this makes things better for your business.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You are now more equipped to outsource to reliable workers and reach your business goals. Download our Ebook for a complete guide to outsourcing.
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Shelcy Joseph is a freelance writer, social media strategist and career blogger. She is the voice of A Millennial’s Guide to Life, a career and lifestyle blog dedicated to helping multi-passionate creatives make a career out of doing all the things they love.