The Devil’s in Disguise

by | Jul 31, 2017

For some, outsourcing any part of their business is a complete no-no. It represents a lack of control, bad value for money and a sense of admitting defeat.

Are any of these arguments valid?

Let’s start with the first one: lack of control. Why is there a perception that an external supplier cannot be controlled? I’m quite baffled by this. Do your customers let you do what you want with no checks and measures, no accountability or no contract stating what’s required? I didn’t think so. Therefore, why do you think that an outsourcing supplier wouldn’t have the same type of controls imposed on them that are imposed upon you.

And if we’re talking about only having control in-house, brutal realism suggests that it’s easier to manage a supplier as it’s less personal, less emotional and doesn’t come burdened with the weight of legislation that an employee does. And a supplier is less likely to cry. I’m being trite but if lack of control is your argument it has no basis and it’s time you re-think your attitude.

Bad value for money is the next one. Well let’s start with basic admin. In our area, an admin job goes for £12 per hour, which rises to £15 per hour when you include all employment costs.

Now let’s look at hours. A basic week is 35 hours – 7 hours per day. As a minimum you can write off 15 minutes either end for setting up and closing down. Then there’s at least 30 minutes for lunch, but often it’s an hour and let’s not forget chats, tea breaks, loo trips etc. Your 7 hours drops to 5 hours (maybe less) bringing the weekly total to 25 hours which now gives an hourly rate of £21 – a 75% increase over the original £12 per hour.

In a nutshell, you are paying £21 per hour for a job that you think you are paying £12 per hour and you think you are getting 35 hours of work when in fact you’re getting 25 hours. As an outsourcing supplier, we have rates that start at £21 per hour (sometimes less) and we will provide exactly the number of hours you pay for and expect. And on top of that we only charge for the hours used, so if we quote for 20 hours and only use 15 then you only pay for 15.

There’s another side to cost. Sometimes you only need a few hours of outsourcing as you don’t have enough work for a full time (of reasonable part time) role – especially relevant to small, growing businesses. Outsourcing may appear to be costlier (see the first point) but it’s a cost-effective way of accessing the skills you need.

This brings us onto the last point. Identifying a skill or resource gap in your business and finding a way to plug that gap, is a mature and business minded thing to do. No defeat has taken place, nothing to admit to. You can’t do everything and the sooner you admit that, the sooner you can move onto the more fruitful pursuit of partners to help you push you manage and push your business forward.

If you’re feeling contemplative check our John Donne’s No man is an island (1624). I love its simplicity and its poignancy but most of all the first four lines sum up how the owners of should think of themselves:

“No man is an island
Entire of itself
Every man is a piece of the continent
A part of the main…”

I’m not sure Donne had business owners in mind when he banged it out nearly 400 years ago, but maybe we should keep it as a mantra for all SME’s.

If you want to know more about how PtG Business can help you become less of an island and more a part of a mighty continent, call Julie or Charlie on 01462 713444.

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