Why Go For Outsourcing?

Outsourcing Can Benefit Your business

Outsourcing has grown in popularity in the last couple of years. For a long time, it was something that was the sole preserve of companies who had specific funds for paying outside contractors to do things that were outside their skill sets – for example if a company specialized in one field, such as sales and marketing, they would outsource things such as cleaning and IT solutions. However, among other things, the Internet has now made it more possible than ever to run a business from your home as an individual. In addition, with all business people aware of the old maxim, “time is money”, there are more and more things that the individual has found can be best addressed by outsourcing.

Outsourcing itself covers a very broad range of services that are best divided into two sections: Business and Non-Business needs. The difference between the two sections is more or less self-explanatory. Suffice it to say that Business needs are things connected specifically with the service that you, the business owner, requires in order to keep the business running – these include such things as web design, accounts and sourcing required items and services. Non-Business needs are more connected with personal or household tasks that take time that could be used to deliver what is required from you by your customers. This includes things such as cleaning and other essential chores.

There are very few tasks that cannot be outsourced in this day and age. As a business owner, it is for you to decide whether outsourcing is something that you wish to practice. In order to make this decision it is worth auditing what your daily routine involves, where you can make changes and where you wish to make them. If you feel that you are best served by having all your time free to concentrate on delivering what is required of your business, the chances are that you would be best outsourcing as much as you feel comfortable with. You probably do not much enjoy cleaning and tidying, for example. And depending on your arrangements you can end up spending a couple of hours a week at the task, which in turn can lead to lost opportunities to build and serve a customer base. Therefore, you should then ask yourself whether that task is a productive use of your time. If the answer is “no”, then you can look to outsource your cleaning to a specialist.

Business needs are, if anything, more crucial. If your specialist area is – taking an example – accountancy, then there is every chance that you are not the world’s best web designer. Nevertheless, an attractive, easily navigable website with user-friendly interface is more or less essential for an individual businessperson. In this case, handing over the task of designing a website makes all the sense in the world. It won’t come cheap if you are using a top designer, but if you cost the process based on how much business a good website will send your way (generally a very large amount), then it can pay for itself several times over.

Outsource Your Life Now – Here Is How

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Outsource Your Life Now – Here Is How

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Outsourcing daily tasks is not a new idea. However, Tim Ferriss, author of "The Four-Hour Workweek," has made this popular by mentioning it in his book. Ferriss uses "a small army of virtual assistants" for everything he can think of - as he mentions in his book.What can you outsource these days? Let me answer this little differently by asking what you can't outsource these days? The following list should give you an idea of what people are trying to outsource (NB – Don't laugh. This is a real list from DoMyStuff.com )

  • Help me armwrestle
  • Repair my broadband connection
  • Design my website
  • Personal shopper
  • Pull weeds in landscaped beds
  • Choose my cell phone plane based on the phone
  • Reform my life
  • Pick me up a t-shirt from College Corner
  • Research my house history
  • Unlock iPhone or Blackberry to work on Helio

These should be good enough to give you an idea. If you are thinking only celebrities, professionals and rich people can afford outsourcing, think again! The Internet growth has created lots of outsourcing sites, and they are becoming affordable enough to indulge you in the luxury of not to do anything.

Today, I am going to review some of these outsourcing sites for you. There are too many sites out there, and I am going to mention only those which I have found easier to navigate with a clean layout. If you are interested in finding more, search on Google for these: outsource, virtual assistant, freelance etc.

GetFriday

A Bangalore-based (India) company. Currently this site is the busiest outsourcing site. GetFriday offers three pricing options: Pay As You Go, Monthly Plans, and Task Based Plans. Pay As You Go Costs $15 per hour with a monthly admin fee of $10. Basic monthly plans start at $120 a month for 10 hours.

https://getfriday.com

 

The Canadian Virtual Assistant Network

This is the only Canadian site I have come across. You can submit profile, interview, and hire a VA through this site. Site does not mention fees and charges. There is a Directory of VA by province which you can browse.

http://canadianva.net

DoMyStuff.com

DoMyStuff is an online marketplace where you can hire freelancers to work for you. Freelancers can pick up projects and independent contracting jobs.You need to post your tasks and freelancers will start bidding on your tasks. You can limit or pick bidders based on location, fees, ratings and so on. Payment system is very safe. You never pay (or freelancers never receive payments) directly. Once you choose the best bidder, you will have to forward payment into an online escrow account. No one will have access to this money while your work is being done. Once completed and you are satisfied, you will release the funds to the freelancer. DoMyStuff has a clean interface and easy to navigate. This site is all free; free for both employers and assistants. There are no monthly or transaction fees.

http://www.domystuff.com

Guru

The world's largest online marketplace. Employers can use this site for free but freelancers pay quarterly fees. There is a minimum bid set at $25 per project. Guru's open auction system works the same way as DoMyStuff.

http://www.guru.com

Elance

Elance is famous for small to mid size business. I find Elance a little bit expensive. However, their service quality is very good.

http://www.elance.com

Two other sites worth mentioning: FreelancerNow.com and RentACoder.com.

The Internet has revolutionized the way we do everything. We are online a lot these days and it makes sense to hire people via net to free up our time. These freelance sites have opened up endless opportunities to find work for qualified professionals beyond locall boundaries. The ability to work from anywhere in the world is a reality now

First Published: Sep 1, 2008 ADawnJournal.com

Forecasting And Multiple Scenario Planning And How To Use Them

Forecasting and Multiple Scenario Plans

No one can predict the future, but that does not stop people from wanting to find ways where they can get an idea of what is to come. Forecast planning and scenario planning work on this principle by giving you the ability to have an idea of what is just around the corner. Forecast planning and scenario planning are used in a wide range of business sectors, as well as in our personal life. If you have thought about asking your boss for a raise and have gone through how this request will go, then you have done forecast planning. When a company releases its budget for the coming year, they are forecasting how their sales will be in relation to the costs that they will need to pay.

It is all about determining, to the greatest degree of accuracy, just what is going to happen down the road.

Forecasting is the process by which you make statements about events when you do not know what the outcome is going to be. It is often called making a best-estimation of what is going to happen. When someone asks you if it is going to rain, you make your best-estimation by saying that it might, but you cannot guarantee that it will. There are plenty of sectors and applications that use forecast planning, including:

  1. Supply chain management
  2. Meteorology
  3. Transport planning
  4. Economics
  5. Technology
  6. Earthquake forecasting
  7. Land use forecasting
  8. Product forecasting
  9. Sport team performance
  10. Political forecasting
  11. Sales forecasting

Scenario planning is a strategic planning method that many organizations and individuals use to create long-term plans that are typically very flexible. Military intelligence will often do strategic planning through scenarios like simulation games that test whether or not a certain strategy is going to work. Business, which is often a war zone of its own, has latched onto the concept of strategic planning. Royal Dutch/Shell is one company that has done so, using scenario planning to determine changing mindsets from around the world.

The main thing to remember with scenario planning and forecasting is that they are typically wrong. This is not because the forecasters do not know what they are doing, but simply that it is not possible to predict the future with any certainty. There are far too many variables to make any sort of prediction concrete. This is why weather forecasters no longer say “Rain tomorrow”. They say “40 percent chance of precipitation.” They do this because if there is only a light drizzle, they are covered by the precipitation part and if it does not rain, they can show there was only 60 percent chance of it not raining.

Scenarios are very important for business, military and people in their day-to-day lives. The reason for this is that people can determine what course of action is going to be best. Here are some examples:

  1. A military campaign against an enemy needs to be run through scenarios. Various tactics will be determined and put against how the enemy is predicted to respond. The tactic that gets the best results over several scenario runs will probably be the campaign that is used.
  2. Investors want to know how the market is going to move. So, they run scenarios using specialized tools to determine, based on past data, how the market may move down the road. This gives them a better understanding of how to invest, thereby hopefully lowering the overall risk that they face. With scenario planning and forecasting, investors can see both the upsides and downsides. For example, they may determine there is a good chance that the stock they have is going to fall in price. So, they sell the stock and when it does fall, they have saved themselves from losing money.
  3. Weather forecasters will use data from the past to formulate an idea of how the weather is going to turn based on data they have at that moment. What we mean by this is that if a low pressure system is approaching, and it is April, the weather forecasters will look at how low pressures affected April weather in the past and use that as a way to determine what the weather is going to be like.
  4. Individuals will use scenario planning to determine how they should respond to things in their life. For example, a person will be looking at buying a car but they will have to run through scenarios of how they are going to pay for it. So, they run a scenario that figures out the costs of having a high-priced sports car, with its lower gas mileage and higher insurance, versus a hybrid that will cost less and save the person money. Through the scenarios, comparing costs with income, the individual can determine if they will be able to afford the sports car. Without this scenario planning, the person may buy the sports car and end up not being able to pay for it.

It is important to remember the difference between scenario planning and forecasting. Scenario planning looks at several different futures that may come about, while forecasting only looks at one. Therefore, scenario planning offers you more of an opportunity to make the right decision since forecasting can only see one future and there is a good chance that future will not happen.

Scenario planning gives us the ability to foresee, plan for and deal with surprises and problems. If we do scenario planning that shows us moving to a new town will cost us more than benefit us, we can eliminate the regret of moving to the town by not moving.

With scenario planning, unlike forecasting, you can have a backup plan. You can have several scenarios so that if one does not pan out, you can move to the next most likely scenario and so on. Remember the adages of ‘Plan for the worst, hope for the best’ and ‘Chance favours the prepared mind.’
First Published: EntrepreneurJourney.com Apr 24, 2010