Four early warning signs that your outsourcing partner is a punk is more than the obvious red flag like deadlines arrive and nothing is delivered. Your calls go unanswered. Your emails always seem to get ‘lost’ in the interwebs. Outsource problems.
WTF! You have a business to run and hiring out work was supposed to lighten the load. Instead, you have more!
Red flag alert obviously! Your outsource contractor isn't working out. This can happen with a new project or even with an existing one. I’ve seen both outsource problems happen and it’s better to just deal with it pronto, then think it’s going to fix itself ‘next time’.
Remember, your business doesn’t have time to wait for next time. Next time will likely look the same as right now, so bring out your boss hat (and please tell me you’re not wearing a cap with the sticker still on the front!)
Besides the obvious red flags of missed deadlines and unanswered emails, 4 early warning signs of outsource problems because your partner is a punk and you need to take action:
Frequently Unavailable. I'm not talking about unavailable because you think they should be at your beck and call. I'm talking unavailable after several attempts to reach them with a reasonable time in between.
Ignoring Direction and Requests. Not following directions or making requested changes wastes time, theirs and yours. We’re not talking about a case of they know best either especially when those directions and requests are in writing.
Errors and more Errors. A random error or an occasional misspelling can be expected with the volume of work today. But repeated errors or lack of correction when it’s been pointed out is a flashing neon warning sign.
Lack of Listening. No matter how you explain your brand, message and needs, your partner thinks they know best. If you’re not getting a discussion that takes the best of your ideas and theirs making a better final product, time to send up the signal flares.
Be proactive. Use two key actions at the start, to avoid partners going off track:
Frequent Communication. For new outsource partnerships or new projects, plan to connect frequently to check-in, answer questions and show you're available for discussion. Seems obvious, but many times bosses rely on one kick-off meeting and figure anything else can be answered by email. There’s usually more questions at the beginning and you’ll want to head them down the right path sooner than later.
You don’t want to end up with a lame deliverable because YOU weren’t available to give direction. It’s your money so spend it well on getting the right work with the best effort.
Intermediate Deliverables. Regardless of project size, you should have intermediate milestones / deliverables. You don't want to get to the end of a six-month project and realize absolutely nothing has been done or what has been done is so wrong. Heck, you don't want to get to 3 months and realize you have to start at square one.
As a business owner you never want to outsource to the wrong contractor, but it happens.