5 Benefits of Hiring Freelancers

Freelance resources are a massive trend in small and medium-sized businesses right now, most particularly in assisting with digital marketing needs. These companies are growing at an insane pace (which is a good thing!), and freelance resources are the perfect addition to help businesses scale accordingly and manage growth.

On the flip side, freelance resources are extremely helpful in catapulting growth for small and medium-sized businesses. These experts can focus on areas critical to a business’s growth and help advise leadership on where to prioritize resources.

Here are five benefits to have a freelance resource to skyrocket your business:

FLEXIBILITY: SHIFT RESOURCES WITHOUT LOSING FOCUS.

One of the most rewarding pieces of a freelance resource is their ability to be flexible. When a business is just starting or launching new initiatives, priorities can change based on market reception, and freelancers build their business on that notion so they can provide you the services you need. Flexibility is built into a freelancer’s business model for this very reason.

EXPERTISE

Every freelance resource has a focus and expertise. If you’re looking for a digital market expert, a freelance agency staffs itself with seasoned freelance consultants in that field. A successful freelance resource comes in knowing what your business needs and how to get there, guiding the rest of your team towards reaching your organization’s goals.

COST-SAVING

Along with expertise and flexibility, freelancers are much more cost-efficient than hiring a full-time resource. Say goodbye to on-boarding, training, and administrative tasks that hold up productivity. Part of a freelancer’s job is to dive in on execution once they understand a business’s mission, needs, and goals – delivering you instant return on your investment.

READY FOR THE UNPREDICTABLE

While flexibility is a key trait for freelancers to help businesses grow, it’s also necessary for the unpredictable. Say your business loses a client, or brings on a new client with needs you haven’t yet built out processes for. A freelancer can come in with the structure needed for both instances.

Business News Daily interviewed Steve Dongo, managing director at The Plato Group, on this very notion and he talked about how freelance consultants were key in managing these types of situations for his business:

“As a business owner I can speak from experience when I say business demands can suddenly decrease or increase, often depending on external factors we cannot always influence, such as the success or setback of competitors or a client.”

RESULTSFreelancers measure themselves on expectations and delivering results, so businesses know exactly what they’re paying for and what they’re getting in return. A successful freelance resource won’t leave any question or confusion as to what your business is getting from their services – what’s most important is getting your business to hit growth and revenue goals.

Employ the Social Media Expert Who Would Additionally Be Good at Throwing a Party

In the event that you actually think much about it, you are going to understand that most of the companies that happen to be excellent, really very good working with social media marketing, are a great deal like all those people that are great at giving a specialized occasion. It has to be something concerning the actual societal element of it all. A lot of people are more social than others, and evidently this translates to making use of social networking to the degree that it does preparing treats, finding audio, and also making people giggle as well as truly feel welcomed and happy. Any person that ever put on a supper party who is not innately great at giving parties undoubtedly is aware of precisely what’s being mentioned here. Naturally, what pal are you apt to choose that may help you give an affair? The interpersonal one, needless to say.

Which explains why, when you need a social websites strategy (click here) for your business, you need to call the type of digital marketing firm that truly, truly gets social websites, for example http://digitalmagency.weebly.com/social-media.html, since it is his or her niche, and also it is not (sorry) your particular one. You understand this, and that’s why you are looking for a person to manage the overall mechanics of the organization and website’s social media marketing to suit your needs! You are going to rest far better knowing it’s being done appropriately as well as well, and your business, consequently, will certainly thrive.

IT Outsourcing Is On The Decline, But Not For Software Vendors

Your business is to develop, sell, integrate and support specialized application software for your clients. Which means they are outsourcing work to you rather than doing it in-house. This is good business for them because you can do these tasks better than they can, and at a lower cost. It is good business for you making the transaction a “win win”.

The practice of outsourcing is beneficial to you for the same reasons it is good for your clients.

For outsourcing to be effective the task selection must meets certain criteria. The following example provides a sketch of how some criteria can be measured in determining which tasks are better outsourced and which tasks are better kept in-house.

Some time ago I had a team of IT developers working for a major US bank headquartered in Texas. The bank was in growth mode, acquiring other banks and merging them into the parent bank. There was more work than my staff could get done yet we did not want to add to staff for what appeared to be short term needs. To solve the workload problem I routinely outsourced work to contractors.

The work I assigned to contractors was maintenance work, conversion tasks and merging data files. I chose those tasks because they were short term in nature and not likely to be repeated. The new development work, including software implementation (but not data conversion), I assigned to permanent staff. I wanted the experience gained from that work kept in-house.

This process paid off handsomely. Turnover among contractors was a non-issue. As our needs changed I was free to seek specialty skills from other contractors for short term assignments while my staff kept the long term work which allowed us to retain the knowledge of those core systems in-house.

The end results were stable systems supported by people who had in-depth experience with the systems, the data and our customers (bank departments who used the systems).

Now then, why is outsourcing on the decline?

IT managers determined that innovation and development occur best when tightly aligned with company strategy. The best way to accomplish this tight alignment is to have the IT staff in-house. Thereby large IT staff outsourcing is on the decline.

Nevertheless, innovation and development do not include data migration tasks. Outsourcing is not going away. Managers responsible for IT, particularly Software Vendors, will not outsource their innovation and development teams…

They WILL outsource data conversion related tasks.

Relieving the IT team of tasks that bear no relevance on strategy, innovation or development,

will serve to increase their effectiveness.

Data migration related tasks should be outsourced. Let me state several specific reasons why.

· Your clients hire you for software development, integration and support for their business specific software applications

· Data migration work is a distraction from these mission critical tasks

· It does not contribute to the company strategy

· It is unpredictable and mostly not repeatable

· Development programmers do not like data conversion work and are not particularly good at it

· Legacy source systems are many and varied, and are constantly changing

· Often source systems are seen only once or infrequently

· Other vendors are reluctant to assist a competitor in extracting data

· Workload peaks and valleys make it difficult to maintain efficient staffing levels

· Timing is mostly wrong-when a migration is needed the in-house programming staff is needed for development and implementation assignments.

When faced with data conversion related tasks including data archiving, choose to hire a reputable outsourcing team.

4 Things To Do Before Outsourcing QA

Outsourcing your software testing can be intimidating if you’ve always relied on an onsite team or use a nearshore partner. Companies new to outsourcing often have a list of questions: how do I know my project’s requirements are met when the testing team is thousands of miles away? How can we communicate effectively so that urgent issues are quickly fixed? How can I be sure that the QA engineers will be a great fit with my existing team? These are all common yet important questions, and asking them will help you make the right choice when it comes to outsourcing.

One of the best ways to put your mind at ease is to prepare, prepare, prepare! By knocking out the following four items, you’ll be ready to start formal QA with your partner and prevent any unexpected (and unwanted) surprises.

Define Your Requirements

Effective QA engineers are trained to learn the product just as well, if not better, than the developers that created it. Though expertise and a diverse skill set helps the engineers along the way, clear project requirements are indispensable. Your software testing company will expect you to have a clear list of testing requirements for them to reference.

Have your requirements in line before you even begin to shop around for a partner, as this will help you narrow your search and find the right provider. Ensure that your testing is thorough in scope by involving different teams (dev, project management, product managers) in the discussion about necessary requirements.

Shop Around

Outsourcing QA is intimidating because there are so many different providers. Your choice will depend on many different factors: budget, desired region, testing requirements, preferred methodology — the list could go on and on. Here is a quick checklist to help you narrow down your choice:

Cost

Though quality of service should be a top priority, often QA Managers and CTOs are bound to their budgets. Look for a partner that offers a flexible cost model and the ability to ramp up/ramp down resources as needed. This means great testing without footing the bill for engineers that aren’t contributing to the project in a measurable way.

Region

China, SE Asia and India are all popular regions for outsourcing QA. But if you want to successfully balance quality and affordability, you should be leaning closer to India. It has been a leader in IT outsourcing for decades and receives generous government assistance. QA outsourcing is a huge industry in India with great career appeal for the nation’s many young and talented engineers.

Requirements & Methodology

Look for a provider that can cover a lot of bases and be a full-service partner if and when you need them to be. Need a complete, extensible automation framework built? Choose a partner that can offer a team of seasoned automation experts. Need extensive mobile testing done? Find someone that offers a fully equipped mobile testing lab with every device your product will run on.

Also, it helps to pick a QA partner that is familiar with your software development methodology. For example, avoid providers that use the Waterfall method if you’ve just transitioned to an all-Agile approach.

Perform a Mic Check

Smooth communication is essential when outsourcing QA. Why? Because you can’t walk down the hall and tap a QA engineer on the shoulder when you have a question about a bug, that’s why. You’ll want to have a specific idea of what your communication strategy looks like before you start hunting for a partner. This includes your preferred method of communication, how often you’ll want updates (daily, weekly, etc.) and how issues should be escalated.

The team responsible for the quality of your product is thousands of miles away, so you want the communication bridge to be as sturdy and direct as possible. Look for a partner that provides plenty of options for communication, including video conferencing, reliable phone lines, secure and confidential email correspondence, chat messaging and any other preferred contact methods.

You’ll also want to be wary of any existing language barriers. Try to outsource with a partner that guarantees English fluency, as engineers will be able to communicate product issues clearly, promptly and independently.

Know Your Long Game

Are you looking for a quick fix or will you need high-quality testing services for the long haul? If the former, any on-demand testing service will do. But if you’re looking for the latter, your search will need to be more focused and deliberate.

An exceptional QA partner does more than deliver a quality product — it strives to become a true extension of your onsite team and absorbs your working culture in the process. This is the difference between a temporary provider and a long-term partner that will grow along with you. Your ideal choice will be a provider with a proven track record of success, a list of well-known clients across a variety of industries and numbers to prove its engineer retention rate (the mark of great company culture).

Feeling better about outsourcing? We hope so. It can be daunting if you’ve never done it before, but with a bit of preparation, foresight and planning, on boarding will be a breeze and you’ll be on the project kick-off call before you know it!

Third Party Warehouse? Why Would I Pay Someone Else?

Do you sell a product? If so, at a certain point in your company’s journey, the following question has probably presented itself:

Why should I pay someone else to manage my supply chain?

The notion of handing control over your product(s) to another party is a strange one. You’ve developed, manufactured and grown your products, so naturally you want to be the one to handle the logistics in order to see your product reach its destination. Handing over this control feels like you are handing over your business and with it taking a large risk by banking on another company to perform as well as, if not better than you. Whilst this is a possibility and can work in many cases, it is known that logistics can be the hero or the villain of your show.

Managing your own logistics and supply chain does have its benefits:

  • You have full visibility and management over the handling of your product
  • It appears to be a cheaper option when comparing to the alternative
  • It can be as flexible as you make it

On the flip side, it can have a negative impact on a growing business:

  • Increasing space requirements, resulting in increased rental cost
  • Staffing costs and management
  • Building, machinery and maintenance costs
  • Your time

A rapidly growing supply chain requires time and resources, both of which can be invaluable to other areas of an expanding business.

So, what benefits can a third-party warehousing solution bring to you?

  • The ability to allocate your time and expertise more effectively
  • Cost savings due to lack of staffing, materials, rental costs, software costs, maintenance costs, machinery and equipment costs

The right third-party solution should be treated as an extension to your business, rather than just a service provider. Being the centre point of your supply chain, they will become an integral part of your business operations. Through using the right provider, you can gain access to:

  • The latest warehousing management system technology and eCommerce integration
  • 24/7 visibility of your supply chain
  • Lower costs due to leveraging a third-parties buying power and resources

Choosing the right partner is essential to maximizing the potential growth opportunities. When researching third-party warehouses, always be sure to do you due diligence. Ensure that the company is like-minded, has experience working with your industry and has the technology and capabilities that will enable them to assist your business growth.

How have you tackled the issue of supply chain management?

How to Succeed With Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?

As outsourcing becomes an indispensable part of corporate business strategy, especially during economic downturns, BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) has emerged as an important driver of IT Enabled Services. In very recent years, it has progressed from being considered for limited peripheral activities to encompassing very critical business activities that contribute to strategic advantage.

Though traditionally cost reduction has been the key driver for all outsourcing activities, other drivers such as speed of development, flexibility, expert skills and political maneuvering are equally important, if not more.

To succeed with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), you must first research and determine if outsourcing should be pursued at all – an initial understanding of the expected size and nature of the deal is a must at this stage. This phase is known as the Assess phase as the involved parties try and establish senior stakeholder expectations at this stage. At the end of this phase, stakeholders should have clarity on the expected benefits, costs and risks of the potential engagement.

Next comes the Prepare phase which encompasses the vendor selection process. More often than not, organisations roll out RFPs (Request for Proposal) documents to find the right outsourcing partner. Fundamental elements of all other phases are defined and agreed upon in this Phase.

Evaluate phase is the third stage of the outsourcing lifecycle and it focuses on structured and thorough evaluation of the proposals received from vendors. At the end of this phase, you should be able to negotiate with selected vendors.

This phase paves the way for the Commit phase which is essentially the pre-contract stage. The Commit phase is by far the most resource intensive and commercially crucial phase as the deal design is finalized and the transition plan is developed in this phase.

Next comes phase 5 which is the Transition and Transform phase. In this phase, a robust transition plan is implemented. In addition, a reporting mechanism is also brought in place at this stage of the outsourcing lifecycle.

The Optimise phase, which comes next, focuses on managing the vendor relationship efficiently, tracking the vendor fees against the original proposal and monitoring contractual obligations. In principal, this phase is an ongoing one until the contract is renewed, renegotiated or exited.

When implemented properly, outsourcing contracts are likely to bestow immense benefits on organisations. No wonder that BPO is seen as a disruptive force that has huge impact on the cost-structure of nearly any industry and that is why it is not easy for organisations to ignore it. The hype around BPO may subside soon, but the business advantages that come with it are here to say as it enables many enterprises to succeed.

Shipping Responsibilities Are Managed By Fulfillment Companies

Building a business is hard work, and those who have the dream of starting their own business find out quickly that they are going to be called upon to solve problems that they may have little to no experience with. In the early days of your business, you may e performing the tasks of every department yourself, from sales to book keeping to shipping and fulfillment. For many modern entrepreneurs, the lure of being able to utilize technology in order to alleviate some of the responsibility is strong. Many business owners who in the past would have started a store by building a space in a strip mall now opt to instead take their products online and sell on the internet. Not only are you able to reach a wider audience of potential customers, you also minimize the amount of sales that you personally have to do, allowing the website that drives your store to sell your products for you. While this most definitely helps to allow business owners to concentrate on larger issues, many will still find themselves doing the work of a shipping department when orders are made. Unfortunately, a person has to be in charge of pulling that order from inventory and making sure it gets to the customer who ordered it. This process is very difficult to automate, making a virtual business still have responsibilities that many owners would rather not undertake. Small business owners are still faced with negotiating leases of warehouses, managing employees and keeping up with the legal aspects of a shipping department. Luckily, these entrepreneurs have an option in the form of fulfillment companies.

A fulfillment company takes the responsibility of processing customer orders and appropriately arranging the shipping of the ordered items to customers. Most fulfillment companies utilize software that communicates with your shopping cart on your website to notify them when an order is placed. Your inventory is housed in their warehouses and their employees are used in order to process those orders. In exchange for these services, a small fee is paid per order processed and a fee is paid for the management of the inventory. In many cases, since these services are preformed for many clients, the amount of monetary outlay that is necessary to utilize a fulfillment company is actually far less than if you tried to manage a shipping department of your own. Business owners get to save money and not shoulder the responsibilities at the same time.

Use a Virtual Assistant for Efficient and Accurate Data Entry

Data is a big part of the daily processes in any business. No matter what the size of your business is or the industry you are in, data entry and the processing of data are important functions you cannot do without.

Data for any business is fast becoming more important as we enter a digital data world. It can be used to target your client’s specific needs and help you to promote your business to the right the people.

With modern improvements, many businesses rely on data software but are still held back by inaccurate data input. Bad data can come from many possible sources, but you might want to start your search at the very beginning, with your data entry administrators.

Whilst important, performing these tasks can be a repetitive and time consuming process. The manual data migration from one sources to another, processing forms and other relevant tasks requires a lot of time that could be used to attend more pressing work concerns.

When errors happen, i.e. the Data Inputter enters an incorrect client account and then fails to check that the address information is correct, the bill ends up going to the wrong client. Not only do you have to resend the bill to the angry client, your accounting department must credit the incorrectly invoiced customer and invoice the right customer. All in all, it’s a costly and labor-intensive solution to a mistake that could have easily been avoided at the data entry level.

This can be overcome by using a Virtual Assistant to take care of inputting, migrating and auditing your data to save you time and resources.

A competent data entry clerk knows:

  • The company’s business and purposes.
  • The type of data that’s processed.
  • When unprocessed data items don’t fit the mould.
  • Accuracy takes precedence over speed.
  • When to ask for help

A Virtual Assistant recognises how important this undertaking is and provides expert data entry service to help you manage your time and resources. By delegating these tasks to a Virtual Assistant you can devote more of your time and resources to projects and assignments that would make a positive contribution to your business.

Another advantage of using a Virtual Assistant for your data imputing is you no longer need to spend your resources on the equipment and infrastructure to accomplish these tasks, and you also have the flexibility with using a virtual assistant.

Image Editing – This Is What Professionals Do

Professional photographers often have huge schedules to keep up and do not find time to fix images that might be broken. Hence, they tend to find a firm to their liking that can help them in editing images as per their necessity. Depending on the style of photography and the work timing, a photographer will choose the firm and get his photo processing done. Photography is one field where the photographer and the firm work hand in hand to get the desired result for a client. Professional photographers are open to taking up projects from any field, for e.g, he could take pictures of a property for realtors and also take pictures of jewels or attire for a client in retail. Therefore, as a firm, one has to identify the job and work accordingly.

Photo processing firms are present in plenty and many more are growing as we speak. The success of a firm depends solely on the graphic editor who can satisfy his clients’ every need. The advantageous thing about photography is that it provides employment opportunities to many and in many ways has paved a way for their future.

Now let’s dig deep into the topic, I.e, how and why photo editing is done? As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, photography is a busy field and photographers do not find time to sit on a computer for hours and correct images. While not many of them make mistakes on a regular basis, images may look bad due to the circumstances like bad light, unholy weather or some other intrusion. Using the Photoshop software to clear mistakes committed by the photographers is called Photo Editing.

Here are some of the photo editing techniques that are followed by firms to correct images,

• Image Post Processing Services

• Image Enhancement Services

• Photo Restoration Services

• Image Manipulation Services

• Image Clipping Services

• Panorama Map Services

• Photo Editing Services

• Photo Cutout Services

• Image Background Removal Services

• Photo Retouching Services

• Photo Resizing Services

• Image Colorization Services

Some of the firms divide its graphic editors into different teams to cover all the services and a QC will check the quality before the images are uploaded for delivery. The growth of a firm is dependent on the end quality it produces for the clients. The mark of a good firm is a healthy relationship with its clients and quality output which often goes hand in hand as well.