The world is increasingly flat these days.
Off-shoring of jobs and business functions continues to expand in scope and variety. Today, off-shoring is very common for call centers and programmers for large companies. However, off-shoring has now extended to jobs such as receptionists and administrative assistants and is being aimed at small to medium businesses as well. Some off-shore service companies are offering staff for as low as $3.36 an hour!
Examples of off-shored services being offered include:
|Administrative & Business Services
||Writing and Editing Services
||Customer Support Services
Planning & Scheduling
General Office Operation
|Proofreading & Editing
Creative & Technical Writing
Web Site Hosting
Web Site Design
Web Site Consulting
Website Advertising and Marketing
24 Hour Live Operator Answering
Customer Email Processing
Live Online Customer Support
Follow Up Calls
||Sales & Transcription Services
Designing Cards, Invitations, Calendars
College Admission Letters
Personal & Family Website
Gifting & Invitations
Payroll & Benefits Management
Payroll & Accounts Payable Processing
Digital and audio
Inbound and Outbound Telemarketing
Large companies have been doing off-shoring for years. However, managing off-shore services is an unknown for many small businesses today.
Successful off-shoring requires solid internal business processes and a well-defined outsourced job task. Successful execution requires effort on the part of the small business to provide direction and oversight — and associated comfort, skills and understanding of how to manage remote staff (that you will never see and who live in a different culture!). Related concerns include non-US/Canada access to business information, internal systems security, outwards facing business image and the churn-rate (and associated retraining required) of the off-shore staff.
Some examples of small-business oriented off-shore services include: Tasks Everyday, Support Resort, Velan, and SupportSave.
A start-up company called oDesk is interesting because it provides tools and methods to research, vet and manage service providers which may be off-shore. oDesk service providers span a wide range of services, from development to writing.
These are early days for off-shoring for small businesses. It’s not clear yet if this likely to be a long-term trend. It is also not clear yet how effectively a small business can leverage off-shore services or what business processes and job tasks can practically be off-shored.
oDesk may also be the first of many start-ups to focus on ways to make off-shore labor and virtual teams part of the normal fabric of small businesses. oDesk changes the cost to find, and manage off-shore talent – moving it from big company to small company domain. Process engineering with supporting tools that change the delivery model economics and allow small business customers (or individuals) to take advantage of previously “high end” or “high cost” services may represent a large opportunity for entrepreneurs. oDesk and RiseSmart may be the vanguard of a new wave of start-ups that rise out of the recession.
Have you used any off-shored services for your small business? If you have – what service provider are you using and how is it working out for you?