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5 Common Talent Outsourcing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Navigating the pitfalls of outsourcing can be tricky for small businesses, so we've gathered insights from CEOs and digital marketers to pinpoint where missteps occur. From the importance of defining clear success metrics to balancing cost with quality, discover the five critical mistakes to avoid as shared by seasoned professionals.

  • Define Clear Success Metrics

  • Establish Communication Protocols

  • Invest in Onboarding and Training

  • Conduct Thorough Talent Reviews

  • Balance Cost With Quality

Define Clear Success Metrics

I believe the biggest mistake small businesses make when outsourcing talent, such as social media management or SEO services, is not having absolute clarity on the measures of success. It's crucial that these measures go beyond mere task completion and focus on tangible results. 

For instance, in social media management, success should be defined by metrics like the increase in follower numbers, with specific targets for the percentage of new followers to the brand. 

For SEO services, success should be measured by concrete outcomes such as improvements in search engine ranking positions and significant visitor growth. Clear, result-oriented goals ensure that outsourced efforts align with the business’s strategic objectives and deliver measurable value.

Nina Mace, Family Photographer, Nina Mace Photography

Establish Communication Protocols

There are many problems; however, one of the most striking ones is the absence of clear rules and regulations regarding communication. In this context, I myself had problems with unclear requirements with an outsourced web developer for a small e-commerce client. This practice led to delays and low-quality work.

To address this, project briefs were enhanced with more content, and also, frequent meetings were conducted. Defining a project and its goals helped achieve better quality with a focus on the tasks, time, and results. Therefore, we delivered the website redesign project on time and afterward recorded a thirty percent boost in user interaction rates.

There is no doubt that informing all the parties and ensuring they all understood the standards of behavior was helpful in avoiding misunderstandings. It made not only the working relationship between faculties and students better but also ensured a higher outcome.

Kartik Ahuja, Digital Marketer,

Invest in Onboarding and Training

A common mistake is not investing in proper onboarding and continuous training for outsourced talent. Sometimes, small businesses assume that outsourced professionals can just 'hit the ground running' without much orientation or ongoing development. 

This can result in inefficiencies and errors, as outsourced staff might not fully understand the business's processes, tools, or expectations, leading to outputs that don't meet the required standards or misaligned project goals. This lack of investment in training can also impact the outsourced professionals' ability to innovate or adapt to changing circumstances within the company, stifling growth and improvement. 

Additionally, it undervalues the potential of these professionals to contribute more significantly, perhaps in ways not initially expected by the business, which could lead to missed opportunities for both efficiency and creativity.

Alari Aho, CEO and Founder, Toggl Inc

Conduct Thorough Talent Reviews

One common mistake is not taking the time to really review whom they're hiring. It's important to go beyond just a quick search or choosing the cheapest option. 

Outsourcing should involve a proper interview process and a careful look at the skills and reviews of potential hires. Skipping this step can lead to mismatched expectations, project delays, or low-quality work.

Balance Cost With Quality

One common error small businesses make when hiring employees is prioritizing cost over quality. Small firms naturally have budgetary limits, but going with the cheapest option without considering talent quality might result in less-than-ideal outcomes and, ultimately, greater expenses.

Small firms should instead place a higher priority on striking the ideal balance between price and quality. This can be accomplished by carefully investigating and screening potential talent, examining their background, and requesting referrals or testimonials from previous clients. 

Businesses should also consider the long-term benefits of investing in better staff because their knowledge and skills can have a significant impact on the growth and success of the company.

A woman sits at a table with her laptop. She holds one side of her head with a hand, staring down at her laptop with a confused expression.


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