Outsourcing Talent: Here’s How to Recognize a Bad Partnership

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are you’ll have to outsource work at some point. Even the best entrepreneurs can’t possibly juggle marketing, web design, SEO, and business management.

If you have the capital to hire a full time team across all departments, great. But for many businesses—especially startups and recently-launched small businesses—this isn’t the case.

There are many myths about outsourcing that you should dispel if you’re hesitant to hand over a piece of your business to someone else. Business tycoon Azim Premji once said, “The important thing about outsourcing or global sourcing is that it becomes a very powerful tool to leverage talent, improve productivity and reduce work cycles.”

Many business owners are under the impression that outsourcing work relinquishes control. After all, who wants to hand over responsibility to someone they barely know? However, the opposite is true. You’ll have a knowledgeable team or freelancer in your corner, making changes and alterations as you see fit.

However, not all agencies should be treated equally. To make the most of a potentially lucrative partnership, you should keep an eye out for bad signs across these popular outsourced projects:

SEO Agencies

Today’s businesses need solid search engine optimization to remain competitive within their industry and niche. The better your SEO, the more likely your business is to appear at the top of search engine results page and be discovered by your target market. Without stellar SEO, you’ll quickly fall behind your competition.

There are many businesses that falsely believe that can take SEO head-on in-house. But the truth is, SEO is a very complex undertaking. Not only does it require plenty of knowledge of different tools and research methods, but it also requires a thorough understanding of the ever-changing algorithms happening over at Google. Here are some signs you should watch out for when choosing between different SEO agencies:

  • They make promises; SEO results are never guaranteed. A great agency will proudly show off their track record and explain their processes, but they’ll always be sure to tell you nothing is guaranteed, and SEO takes time.
  • They have a blog-focused strategy; Writing blogs isn’t the only way to improve SEO; there’s much more to rankings than simply churning out content. A good SEO agency should be able to devise an SEO strategy specifically tailored for your business.
  • They fail to explain timelines and methods; You should never have to struggle to understand deliverables or how things are getting done. You should be receiving regular reports, and have clear-cut explanations without jargon that you don’t understand.

Legal Assistance

With half of all small businesses failing within the first five years, it’s crucial that you stay on the right side of legal end of things. For example, when you’re deciding how to file your business entity, you should have legal advice on what’s best between an LLC, sole proprietorship, or corporation.

One of the biggests signs of bad legal representation is bad online reviews. You should always check the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no outlandish complaints about the company in question.

If you notice that several bad reviews have been left on a review platform like the Better Business Bureau. For example, the Incfile reviews on Better Business Bureau are a clear indicator of the company’s premier document filing services.

Due diligence is always important, but more so when you’re working with a company, agency, or service that’s handling the paperwork that comprises the foundation of your business.

Here are some other signs you’re dealing with shady legal representation:

  • The billing system isn’t clear; Legal services don’t run cheap, and there should be no hidden expenses or surcharges. Be clear about all fees before taking things a step further.
  • You notice signs that they aren’t ethical; When a company is handling your paperwork, they should never try to cut corners or put your business at risk with shady tactics.
  • They have no compassion or enthusiasm; You want to work with someone who is happy to work with you. If they treat you like a paycheck, they probably aren’t dedicating their best work.

Web Design

Your website is the first impression of your business. As such, it needs to be beautifully designed and user-friendly. A reliable web design agency will work alongside you to hone in on your branding and create a finished product that truly interprets your vision. Here are signs you need to look for when working with a web design agency:

  • The agency isn’t responding to calls or emails in a timely manner; This could mean they aren’t prioritizing your work, or are taking on too many clients and unable to give proper attention across each project.
  • They don’t care for a signed contract; Even independent freelancers should offer a signed contract. A contract protects both you and the web designer, and can help prevent future disputes. It should include the final cost and breakdown of services.
  • They don’t plan to show mockups and presentations; A solid agency will show you mockups in several stages of the web design process, just to ensure they’re on the right page.

The Bottom Line:

Outsourcing is a great way for startups and small businesses to cut costs, however, finding the right outsourcing vendor is a tricky matter. I am sure, the above tips will help you make the right choices.