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The Outsourcing Trend
In recent years the expanding reach of the internet and growth of online collaboration tools have made outsourcing dramatically easier, as more businesses are realizing that they can get their work done by someone else, whether they are a large company or a solo entrepreneur.  

Whether your business is a large employer or has only a very small number of employees, you may find yourself over-stretched from time to time and in need of outsourcing in both your personal and professional life.  Driven by the economy and the need to watch expenses, more businesses will opt for contracting relationships and hold off hiring new employees for as long as possible. Small businesses are also continuing to widen the net on what can be outsourced and are starting to discover that even elements preciously considered to be “core activities” can be successfully contacted out.

Have We Met?

Trusting people you’ve never meet face to face is gaining acceptance. The use of Skype conversations and social networks like Facebook and Twitter exemplify how people who have never met strike up relationships with each other. These media are increasingly becoming the means for small businesses to reach out and establish trust based relationships with their outsourcing partners. A decade ago you may never have thought of outsourcing to someone outside of your local city or region.  Now it is commonplace to find vendors and independent contractors across the country or even across the world.

We need to Talk
In outsourcing the mantra is “Communication. Communication. Communication.” Operational structures that clearly define responsibilities and establishing ways of communicating play an ever more important role in successful outsourcing. For instance, you might establish a regular review schedule to effectively manage a project and stay on top of progress. This is preferableover putting a project out for hire and then going weeks without any status update.  Email, instant messaging and collaboration technologies make it easier to conduct frequent reviews.

Let’s Collaborate

Tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Trello enable collaboration to take place easily and effectively.  You no longer have to worry as much about whether the client or the service provider have the same software applications installed, and in what form you are going to deliver work.  Online apps that are universally available make exchanges of information, project updates and deliverables easy and seamless.

Just Tell Me When it’s Done
Small businesses appreciate suppliers who can support them through the project execution process.  They are increasingly realizing that bringing clarity to tasks, defining milestones and tracking progress play a pivotal role in project success.  This has led to the emergence of more agencies and companies that place outsourced talent and handle all the overhead for the client.  These services are increasingly sought and valued by small businesses.