Outsourcing historically has a bad name, mainly due to the hideous call centre experiences we all have had when dealing with anyone of the major Telco’s however outsourcing when used correctly can give your business more leverage than you ever imagined. Now I’m not suggesting we send all our administrative work to India but what I am saying is that you can have greater flexibility and leverage through outsourcing.

What outsourcing does is give you much more opportunity to hire quality staff or contractors all around the world as opposed to your immediate talent pool. Yes there are significant cost savings by doing so. For example a graphic designer in Russia may charge $22 per hours instead of the $80 an hour an Australia one will. Keeping in mind quality control is crucial but in reality your talent pool is so much larger to choose from you will inevitably find contractors whom can provide top quality work at much lower prices.

There are basic rules when it comes to outsourcing. Follow these and you’ll limit your exposure to bad work and wasted time.

Rule #1 – Stick to www.odesk.com or www.elance.com. These websites have been around for years and have the best talent around. They also have the best systems to protect you.

Rule #2 – You must provide a written procedure to your task. Regardless of how simple the task is, unless you specify the exact way in which you want it done you can’t guarantee your outcome.

Rule #3 – Write specific job descriptions when posting a job. The more specific you are the better qualified your applicants and pricing will be.

Rule #4 – Treat the hiring process the same as you would in your office. Interview via Skype, give them tests and trials, ensure they have references and check the quality of their work from previous jobs.

Rule #5 – Train your contractor like you would an employee. Remember longevity is key if you are going to keep hiring them. If you find a good graphic designer, virtual assistant etc. try to keep them long term with consistent work.

Rule #6 – Trust them like an employee, remember it’s their livelihood too so they want the relationship to last. If you’ve researched properly then trusting them like an employee shouldn’t be a risk. For example if they’re doing data entry organise for them to enter directing into your CRM system.

Rule #7 – Reassure your current staff, particularly administration. Admin staff get the most upset and sometimes feel they’re being replaced by cheaper options. Explain to your staff how outsourcing can help secure their job by giving them leverage to achieve more by managing your new outsourced team. Ensure your current team embrace the concept instead of fighting it.

Rule #8 – Appoint a manager of the contractor/s. Just like any other staff member they need someone to report to and check their work. If that’s you then great, if its your general manager then so be it. Just make sure someone takes responsibility and whoever that is must have involvement at the hiring stage.

Rule #9 – Don’t pay peanuts otherwise you’ll get monkeys. Don’t get caught up in how cheap some contractors are. Pay a little more and get good quality people. Remember you’ll still be saving money and have much more flexibility.

Rule #10 – You can outsource anything that doesn’t require physical presence. So write down every task phone or computer based that doesn’t require personal interaction and you can probably outsource it. Data entry, graphic design, research, email management, customer support, book keeping, word processing, proof reading, dictating are some of the more common outsourced work tasks however you can really embrace this and create massive leverage.