Outsourced Vendor or Inner Circle Advisor?

By Chuck Sink | March 25, 2016

clerical office workers

Some business functions just need to be outsourced – essentially forgotten about – so you can focus on your big big picture goals. Payroll for example. Do you really want to figure out and manage tax withholdings and make IRS payments for each and every employee in your firm every pay day? How about your building’s maintenance and property management. Do you and your employees have all the skills, equipment and time to handle it?

What services can you outsource and forget about?

In what outsourced services do you need to play a key role?

Think of it this way: What business services do you need only a phone number for, and what services do you need familiar names and trusted relationships to make work?

What other services might you consider as purely outsourced which you can forget about once a vendor is hired? Internet/telecom, office supplies/coffee service and those earlier mentioned come to mind.

There’s a temptation for business owners to simply budget for and spend money on an important area of their business and consider it taken care of. When you really think about it, there aren’t too many professional services or valuable products that don’t require your time and attention as a company leader. You need to be highly involved with your legal team and your tax accountant. You’ll work closely with your architect/designer if planning new work space for your team.

IT-managed-servicesFor some other key services there’s a temptation to simply let the paid vendor handle it. Two examples come to mind: Information Technology (IT) and Marketing Communications. There’s an interesting twist in why I chose these two examples.

An IT Managed Service Provider firm recently had me review some current marketing materials, provide a critique and offer a proposal. During our meeting the business owner lamented how many of his prospects and some of his clients treated the customized intricacies of his work as commodities; just a bunch of boxes, wires and workstations to hook up with the instructions to make it all work.

He then clearly explained to me the intense level of customization needed for each client’s unique operation as well as the different security and monitoring needs every client has. He went on to show me a purchased, automated marketing program designed and written just for IT managed services firms like his. This program was a pre-packaged set of emails, post cards and sales scripts for a 1-year campaign. It wasn’t working for him. Is there any irony here?

marketing-consultingMy proposal was comprehensive. A piece of it included regular consultations (involvement) with the owner throughout our campaign. He passed on my offer but we’re still communicating on possible projects.

Is there a temptation to simply “outsource” a critically unique aspect of your business such as how you communicate with the market? Should you defer your unique selling proposition and differentiating value to a canned approached designed for your competition to use?

Perhaps marketing services call for more than a “proven formulaic method.” The bottom line is this: You don’t outsource your marketing! You hire experienced consultants who become trusted partners.

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