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When is it Time to Outsource: Key Factors to Determine When You are Ready

All companies are looking for ways to lower their overhead costs. Not some companies. Not most companies. All of them! For many of these companies it is not just a matter of trying to save a buck or two however; it often a question of sheer survival that has them scurrying around shutting off lights, computers or printers that are sitting around idle. If you are a business owner or are just in charge of making the financial decisions, exploring the option of outsourcing might be the answer that you are looking for. How do you know when it is time to consider this choice?


Using Overhead Costs as a Factor
 
Electricity so that they can see and to power the computers, printers and other machines for their jobs.
Heat regardless of the source
Water, not only drinking water but water for toilets and other uses as well
Telecommunications, internet and other assorted costs. 

For the electricity and heating costs you can take your yearly average costs and then divide it by the square footage of your building for a per foot cost. For the other expenses, add and average the amounts and divide by the number of employees. It is financially time to consider outsourcing when:

  • Your overhead costs exceed your budget or projected expense report on a consistent basis and by substantial amounts.
  • Your profit margin has become so razor thin that you can see the bankruptcy lawyer grinning on the other side.

Outsourcing from a Human Resources Standpoint 

Finding good employees can be very difficult at best, but that is not always the major problem for HR. What can be even harder is keeping the existing, exceptional employees once they are found. Constantly hiring and retraining employees slows down production and can cost companies more in lost man hours than working to keep the good employees would. Some of the reasons that employees give for leaving their jobs:

  • The daily commute
  • The hours
  • The expense of child care

Outsourcing gives human resources a wider range of applicants, allowing them to find the best candidate for the job regardless of location. In addition, it can allow the employee that is already working for the company to maintain their position, doing their job tasks from home. 

Finally, the outsourcing option should be considered if the company would like to reduce its carbon footprint. For every job that is done from home by a telecommuting employee, that is equal to savings both for the company and then employee themselves. 

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Effective Strategies for the Coming Year

 

Ah, December. Holiday parties, shopping and panicked employees begging for overtime so they can buy the latest uber craze for their children. It is also the time of year when many a department end is scrambling to finish their end of the year reports and projections and losing countless hours of work time, not to mention sleep in the process. This coming year, marks not only a new page on the calendar but a new, better method of doing business for you. Let this coming year see your company resolving to do things the right way for change. Instead of panicking at midnight on December 31st, it is time for your company to:


Set a Timeline that Starts in January and Ends in December
 
Think of the major tasks that need to be completed for your business. Divide these tasks into quarterly, monthly and weekly tasks. Each of these can be handled by one particular division or department and should be done within the timeframe. Set a definite deadline and then make sure that the person or persons responsible know what that deadline is.

The end of the year report should have a deadline no later than the twentieth of December to account for vacations and holidays. This calendar should be printed out and given to each department, posted several places and permanently saved to your computer. You can even set your computer to remind you (or others) that a deadline is looming.

Break tasks into smaller, achievable goals
 
If you know that you have a quarterly report due in April, you should start gathering and compiling data as it becomes available. While you cannot pre-write it, you can start some of the baseline tasks so that all you will have to do is fill in the data once it is available to you.

Keep up communication and dialogue
 
So, there you sit at the end of the year trying to get a report completed when you realize that you do not have the absenteeism report from HR. You cannot finish without this vital piece of information. You call and email, text and page but you cannot get a single member of the department – all out partying and having a good time while you are banging your head on your desk in a deserted office building.

The problem is not only did HR drop the ball and not tell you what was going on; they failed to mention that the report was given to your secretary, a temp, who “filed” it in a big basket under her desk because she did not know what to do with it and did not want anyone to know.

The incompetence of temps notwithstanding, it should be firmly established who gives what information to whom, how it is delivered and when it is expected by. Going back to the calendar, a notation that says “report due today” is not going to cut it. It should say what kind of report, from what department, who will prepare it and who it will be handed or sent to- and what time of day it is expected so there are no questions and no excuses left to give. 

 

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Thinking of You This Holiday Season: Ways to Keep Yourself in Your Client’s Mind

‘Tis the season to be jolly and to make sure that everyone around you is jolly as well! This is the best time of the year to make sure that you are showing all of your clients that you are thinking of them, not only as business contacts, but as people as well. There are some things to keep in mind, after all, you want to convey warm and human emotions, but you still want to keep the business aspect as well.  Read more

Tips on Getting the Holiday Shopping Done But Still Saving Money

Every year you swear you will get your holiday shopping finished in August so that you will not have to worry about it. While everyone else is fighting the crowds on Black Friday or panicking as the store shelves empty out, you vow that you will be done and relaxing. Flash forward to Thanksgiving dinner when you are busy going over your list, checking it twice so you can cross of the people who angered you the most throughout the year. Yes, you are going to get up at four am so that you can scratch, claw and fight your way through the crowds in the malls. So much for your well laid plans. There are ways to get all of your holiday shopping without spending more than you need to and without having to camp out in shop parking lots to get the best deals.  Read more
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Reviewing Your Marketing Strategies From the Prior Year

During the holiday season it is important to take some time out for personal and business reflection. One of the most important things to review is your business performance. Reviewing your marketing strategies from the ending year can help you keep your business on track in the coming year. Knowing what worked and what did not can keep you from repeating errors and can help you to revise plans as you go. Marketing strategies change from product to product as well as change from the time of the year. What works to sell items in the spring may seem strange in the winter months.  Read more

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Goals and Plans for Next Year: Using the Holiday Slow Times to Your Advantage

Even in the busiest times of the year, even for the busiest business, there are some quiet moments that can allow you to sit and reflect. During these quiet moments, you should take stock of the previous year and consider what you are planning for the coming year. Whether you consider the twelve months that have just gone by as the best your business has seen in a long time or as a rebuilding year, you should think of things to do, to either continue your growth or to kick it back into high gear.  Read more