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article imageOp-Ed: Small business, big decision

By Alyssa Sellors     Nov 23, 2013 in Business
When it comes to running any business, big or small, the biggest concern is that of the customer. The problem is that sometimes the cost of doing business can get in the way of providing the best services possible.
Luckily, we live in a time where businesses do not have to choose between cost effectiveness and quality. In this global economy, businesses have more ways than ever to save time and money, and one of those is using technology-based outsourcing.
In a recent article on Next Web, the author poses the question, “what is better: in-house talent or outside agencies?” This is an age old question but in a new tech savvy global economy, the question has become even harder for many small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to save money while providing quality services. There are pros and cons to each but when it comes to development work, for example, outsourcing or finding an expert freelancer can free up time to focus on marketing or other needs of the business. Hiring experts outside your small business is ideal for one-time projects also. There is no need to hire a project manager for a short term project when you can outsource that project and management to someone else. Finally, freelancers and outside agencies must remain competitive, more so than even singleton employees looking for a job. If freelancers do not remain competitive and offer quality work, they will not get future work. Obviously there are some things that are best to deal with in-house, such as marketing needs where employees may know your business better than someone outside the business but it can be difficult to build an in-house team with such a variety of experience and skills.
Online marketplaces devoted to providing experienced freelancers with businesses looking for specialized help have been popping up as the demand for outsourcing rises. These online marketplaces offer a sort of one-stop-shop for both freelancer and business owner. Going through an online marketplace is more secure and almost guarantees a positive end experience because these are not individuals simply marketing themselves on a message board type of site. Most of these online marketplaces screen individuals and work with individuals and business owners to ensure a safe and pleasant transaction.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, there are a few things to look for when outsourcing projects to freelancers or outside agencies. One, it is a good idea to hire a freelancer in the same manner as you would hire a full-time employee. Look for the same criteria in a freelancer or agency as you would in an actual employee because these individuals essentially become an extension of your business. Another tip is to simply do your research. If you have a fairly general need, such as software development for example, sites such as Freelancer.com may be helpful as they offer over 600 categories of expert freelancers to choose from. If you have a more specific need, or even perhaps an industry specific need, there are other niche sites such as Ebyline.com, which provide a large pool of vetted freelancers for copywriting services, Gigwalk.com, which offers a merchandising analysis platform for retail businesses and Axiomlaw.com which provides both in-house and outsourced legal services for companies.
By using these types of marketplaces, business owners can conveniently find specified experts to reduce risk and improve efficiency overall. Finally, as the author of an article on outsourcing in The Guardian suggests, “consider the ongoing tasks such as web development or customer service” and see if these tasks are something you could get someone else to do to free yourself up to “do one thing and do it well.” As a small business owner it is difficult to wear so many hats and do a great job under each one. “Embracing the opportunities technology-based outsourcing provides allows us time to focus on the most important tasks within our business” and so why not research and compare how much time and money it would take to outsource tasks versus doing it on your own?
Outsourcing can be risky for many small business owners or entrepreneurs. Trusting someone outside of your own business can make many people feel uneasy but with advances in technology, a more globally connected society, and the changing face of the way businesses operate and offer services, outsourcing may be the cost effective option that will save you time and money to focus on more important things within your company.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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