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Outsourcing Services – A Practical Alternative for Any Business

Large and small companies alike are seeing more value in outsourcing services as the demand for professional expertise increases and employee base and payroll budgets decrease. “Outsourcing” as defined by the Outsourcing Institute of New York is “the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources.” A premier building products company executive says “we outsource services because they specialize in areas that we don’t and it frees up our time to concentrate on business. The fact that they make us look good is a bonus.” Small business owners, in particular, can benefit from the specific expertise of an individual on an as-needed basis for a fraction of what they would pay an employee in wages and benefits.

When selecting an outsourcing service, make sure to check references and reputation. Once you find a company you are interested in, schedule a meeting either on the phone or in person to get a feel for their services, reliability, and quality. Consider their scope of resources and ability to commit to a timely schedule. This initial meeting allows you to assess their capabilities and qualities, existing relationships, value added capabilities, personal and professional attributes. Ask specifically whom you’ll be working with and make sure that there is a comfortable fit. Discuss price and make sure they have flexible contract terms. Some companies charge by the hour and others by the project or service provided.

Sue and Arie Van Wyk recently solicited the marketing services of Wendy Shannon, president and founder of Shannon & Company in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to assist them with a more professional look for their concrete contractor company—Van Wyks, Inc. in Waldo, Wisconsin. “We outsourced our marketing initiative because we do not have these resources internally and we need to stay focused on what we do best. We wanted a fresh, yet professional new look for Van Wyks Inc. and we were also ready to leap into our first web site in order to generate increased local exposure for our company and services,” said Sue Van Wyk. Shannon & Company designed a new logo, corporate identity package and straightforward one page web site ( that was designed to grow as Van Wyks, Inc. grows. “Her expertise in our industry was invaluable in maximizing our efforts while not being demanding of our time. The site even offers our customers the opportunity to check the weather anytime in our area which is a daily necessary in our business,” Van Wyk added.

Many companies outsource conventional services such as accounting and legal expertise, but as companies expand their operations, there is a growing need to outsource graphic design, audio/video services, public relations, marketing and promotions, market research, general staffing, special event planning, catering, payroll services, computer and software assistance, and more. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the access to world-class capabilities in your local community.

An annual survey conducted by The Outsourcing Institute (1998) reports the

Top 10 Reasons for Outsourcing:

  1. Reduce and control operating costs. This is the single most important tactical reason for outsourcing. Today’s customers are too sophisticated to accept the costs associated with an organization’s attempt to maintain singular control over all its resources.
  2. Access to world-class capabilities. Because they are specialized, outsourcing providers can bring world class capabilities to meeting the needs of their customers.
  3. Improve company focus. Outsourcing lets the company focus on broader business issues while having operational details assumed by an outside expert. It can lead to a clearer, more effective focus on the customers’ needs.
  4. Free resources for other purposes. Most often these are people resources.
  5. Resources not available internally. Companies outsource because they do not have or always need access to the required resources within the company. Sometimes this is due to expansion or reorganization. It may also be due to changing business requirements.
  6. Accelerate re-engineering benefits. Outsourcing is often a byproduct of another powerful management tool – business process re-engineering. It allows an organization to immediately realize some benefits from this process.
  7. Function is difficult to manage or out of control. Outsourcing is an excellent option for companies only when they can clearly articulate their requirements, expectations or needed resources.
  8. Share risks. When companies outsource they become more flexible, more dynamic and better able to change themselves to meet changing opportunities.
  9. Make capital funds available. Outsourcing is a way to reduce the need to invest capital funds in non-core business functions.
  10. Cash infusion. Outsourcing often involves the transfer of assets from the customer to the provider, such as equipment, facilities, leases and licenses.

Shannon & Company is a marketing communications firm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina serving a variety of clients locally and regionally with their outsourcing marketing needs. Further information on this company can be found on the web site.

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