If you’re pursuing monumental growth for your online business, you may want to consider areas to outsource. When done right, outsourcing can give your online business a competitive advantage and help you achieve scalable growth, faster.
Now that your business is up and running and sales are steady, you can stop trying to be all things for your business and focus on the right things that will take your online business to the next level. It’s not easy “letting go” of parts of your business, we get it. However, it comes to a point when it’s no longer to your advantage to do it all yourself.
Being hyper focused on routine tasks of keeping up with everyday business leaves little time to focus on a long term strategy for growth. Make time to focus on strategic initiatives by determining what work can be done by a reliable third party.
How do you decide what to outsource?
One way to determine what to outsource is by separating activities into core and non-core tasks. Core tasks require strategic initiative and aid in improving customer lifetime value or increasing profits. Non-core activities are often routine tasks that keep business going but do not contribute to increasing profits.
Another strategic approach to outsourcing is analyzing whether business processes and activities provide your online business a competitive advantage and at what cost. Activities that provide a competitive advantage require strategic planning and/or specialized resources to execute at an optimal level.
If an activity creates a competitive advantage for your online business, but you do not have the expertise, time or resources to properly manage it, the activity should be outsourced. If the resources necessary are available in-house or the cost (accounting + opportunity cost) to acquire the proper resources is low, you may consider keeping in-house.
How do you determine who to outsource to?
Remember outsourcing is a strategic decision and choosing who to outsource to should also be a strategic decision. With the number of service providers out there, you have a lot of options to choose from. This can be a good thing (OPTIONS!) but it can also make choosing a vendor difficult, and even risky. Barriers to entry are often low for service providers, making it easy for anyone to start offering their services, so do your homework before signing up! The following list of criteria can be used to aid in your search:
- Expertise/Experience- Make sure the service provider is knowledgeable and experienced in their field. You want to find a vendor that understands your goals and knows how to execute in order to help you reach them.
- Stability- Remember your purpose for outsourcing is to develop a long-term growth strategy, which means you should be looking to build a long-term partnership with this service provider. Make sure the vendor is financially stable and has adequate resources to grow and scale with you in years to come.
- Reliability- Evaluate the Service Level Agreement and the provider’s commitment to meeting all SLA’s. Review their track record. It doesn’t matter how much a provider can promise, it matters how much they are consistently able to deliver on.
- Communication- Because you won’t be involved in the day to day tasks, it’s important to choose a provider who is transparent, accessible and proactive. Communication is key to a successful outsourcing relationship.
How do you get started?
Start your search for the right third party service provider by asking trusted sources for referrals. It’s likely someone you know has done the search already and may have some insight on what you’re looking for. Try getting some input from your personal or professional network, your shopping cart partner or your marketplace forum.
Next, set up a consultation with the potential vendors. The first consultation should be treated like an interview. This is your opportunity to get to know each other and determine if the relationship would be a good fit for both parties. Review your goals and expectations in outsourcing to the potential provider and ask for samples or case studies of clients they have helped in the past.
Contact us to learn how growing and scaling your online business is possible with the support of Rakuten Super Logistics’ order fulfillment and freight services.