Why it’s important for small businesses to build good relationships with outsourced support

In the workplace, we all know how important collaboration is. Like your colleagues on a personal level (or not), there are many situations in which you have to pull together as a team in order for the business to be successful. It would be unusual not to find ‘good team player’ on a job description, and for very valid reasons.

A team that works well together is generally successful, but one non-team-player can pull everything down. Morale, enthusiasm, positivity, productivity – everything suffers.

But when you have great colleagues you want to work with, have fun with, and can be open with, results are better for both you personally and for the company as a whole.

What does that mean for small businesses?

If you’re a sole trader or a small business, you might need to outsource extra support to help you start or grow your business. That could be in the form of employing an accountant to support the financial side of running your own company, an expert marketer to help you promote your products or services, or a virtual PA to make sure the admin side of things is running smoothly.

One of the advantages of outsourcing extra support is that it gives you the time and flexibility to get on with what you do best.

What should small businesses consider when outsourcing work?

Outsourcing work is a big decision for a small business. There’s the obvious cost factor to weigh up, and you need to know that you’ll be getting real value for your money.

You also need to be 100% sure what it is you need (and the results you want) in order for someone to best support you. For example, you may want to have someone produce a brochure to promote your products – but if you don’t know what your key message is or who you are targeting, it’s very difficult for that person to get it right.

I think one of the most important things, however, is to get on with the person that you’re outsourcing the work to. You’ll probably be working quite closely together, and it’s ideal for both of you if you get along on a personal as well as a professional level.

Why it’s so important to have a good relationship with your support person

Much like teamwork in a traditional office environment, building a strong relationship will only benefit the work you do together. If you can have open and honest discussions, listen to each other, give and accept constructive feedback, trust each other, manage each other’s expectations – and have fun – it makes for much stronger results.

I’m lucky that I get on well with my clients. I’ve learnt over the years that if I’m getting signals during initial conversations with potential new clients that we may not work together that well, it’s best not to take on the work. That goes for the potential client too – it’s important for them to get the right person for the job and if I’m not it, that’s fine.

So how do you know you’ll get on with someone you may never have met? A good starting point is to check out any reviews or testimonials they have – you’ll not only get a sense of what they’re like to work with, but also their approach and the results they get. That’s one of the reasons that I always ask my clients for a testimonial after we’ve worked together.

A phone conversation will also give you a good sense that you’ll get along – if someone asks you the right questions, has perhaps done some research about who you are and what your company is about, has done similar work and seems genuinely interested, they’re all good indicators.

My favourite element of my business is the partnership that is created with my clients. The marketing support and web design services I provide are a collaborative process and paramount to a great end result, as my most recent feedback from Gill Simpson at Chapter 44 suggests!

What is it that you look for when choosing someone to support your business? Do you consider what they'll be like to work with on a daily basis? What do you want to know about them before you make the decision to take them on? I’d be really interested to know what you think in the comments below!

Lucy RavenspointComment