Entries with tag outsourcing .

5 Tips for Hiring a Freelancer

Today it's becoming more and more common to outsource various projects to freelancers.  While the process can seem overwhelming if you've never done it before, it actually can be fairly simple.  Read on to learn our tips for selecting a great freelancer:

  1. Determine the End Result.  Before even visiting a freelancer website, you should know exactly what your desired end result is.  Begin by answering questions like:  What deliverables do I need?  When do I need them by?  Which skills will the freelancer need to have?  Once you can answer these questions, you'll be ready to post your job on a freelancing website.

  2. Select a Freelancing Site.  There are plenty of websites out there that connect employers with freelancers.  To get you started, we recommend you check out Upwork, Authentic Jobs, and Gun.io.  Upwork offers contractors for marketing, writing, IT development, admin work, and everything in between, whereas Authentic Jobs and Gun.io are more focused on IT development/design contractors.

  3. Write the Job Description.  It's tempting to just write a line or two, but we suggest that you write a detailed job description instead.  For instance, rather than saying, “Create copy for my website,” you probably want to be more specific: “Write 200-300 words per page in a whimsical style for 5 new web site pages.  The writing should be similar in tone to the XYZ website.”  Not only will this ensure the likelihood that you'll get more accurate bids, but it will also minimize the number of unqualified people who submit proposals.

  4. Review Portfolios.  Don't just assume that a contractor can do the work based on his proposal. Instead, ask to see samples of previous work and review professional feedback before extending a job offer.

  5. Assign Milestones.  For shorter jobs, you're only going to have 1 milestone.  However, if you have a more complex job, assign milestones for each part of the project.  This will allow you to create clear guidelines as to which deliverables are expected and when they are due.  This type of clarification at the onset will increase the likelihood of your project's success!  

4 Small Business Trends to Watch for in 2014

With the advent of the new year, now is a great time to look ahead and see what important trends small businesses need to be aware of in 2014:

  1. Mobile-Optimized Websites

As smart phones and tablets become increasingly popular, it’s becoming more and more important for small businesses to have sites that are optimized for mobile, including mobile-optimized checkout.[1]  Offering a well-designed mobile site to appeal to your customers will become necessary to keep up with your competitors as the number of smart phone and tablet users continues to rise in 2014.

  1. Expanded Use of a Virtual Workforce

By 2015, it’s anticipated that 1.3 billion people will work virtually.[2]  Couple that with the growth of freelancing websites like Elance and oDesk, and small businesses are expected to turn to freelancers more frequently in the future.  Hiring freelancers offers small businesses the opportunity to reduce health care costs while using a pay-as-you-go model for work, ultimately lowering expenses.

  1. Increase in Content Marketing

Content marketing—a strategy that focuses on producing creative content to drive sales—is expected to become more popular in 2014.  In fact, a recent study shows that 82% of companies plan to invest more in content marketing this year.[3]  To take advantage of this trend, you may want to consider attracting new customers with content that drives traffic and interest—think blogs, webcasts, podcasts, social media, etc.

  1. Digital Divide Grows

Research suggests a performance gap between small businesses that use technology successfully and their competitors who don’t.  This indicates that small businesses that fail to use technologies well—particularly cloud, analytics, and mobile—will be disadvantaged in 2014.  On the other hand, businesses that display technical savvy are expected to be able to use technology to cut costs while gaining market share.[4]

Is Your Customer Call Center Hurting Your Business?

With only 24 hours in the day and limited time to waste, customers are becoming increasingly frustrated by poor customer service.  And since most customer service complaints are handled by phone, it is more important than ever that you address inadequacies in your call center.  Below, we identify the top 3 complaints that software provider, Fonolo, reports that people have about calling customer service centers:

  1. Long Hold Times

American consumers waste over 60 million hours on hold.[1]  And when people have lengthy hold experiences with a business, they develop a bad impression of it.  Oftentimes, they’ll share their negative experience with others which ultimately erodes consumer confidence in the business’ brand.

  1. Repeating Information

Have you ever called a company and spoken to a representative who asked for your address?  Then were you transferred to another agent who requested the same thing?  Unfortunately, this is more common than you think and is another reason that customers find it very frustrating to contact call centers—having to repeat information.

  1. Confusing Menu Options

Calling a contact center—and then being confronted with an array of menu options that don’t apply—is another thing that people find irritating.  In particular, they find it even more bothersome when they’re lost in a maze of options and cannot navigate out of the system to speak to a human being.

Not surprisingly, 76% of adults in a recent survey said that just one unpleasant contact center experience was likely to make them take their business elsewhere.[2]  If this is an area in your company that could stand to improve, we recommend that you take steps to streamline the efficiency of your call center by improving your phone menu, making sure that a customer only needs to give information one time throughout a call, and thoroughly training your staff to minimize the time a customer spends on hold while the representatives try to find answers.

And if any of these problems sound like ones that your help desk support team encounters, we’re pleased to announce that Scisbo provides North American-based help desk outsourcing through its business partners for small, mid-size and enterprise organizations.  To learn more, contact us for a no-obligation quote.

Need A Nerd?

Are you struggling to put together the financials for your business plan?  Or are you looking to launch a new product line but aren’t sure where to begin?  If so, there’s a new business that aims to help.  It’s called HourlyNerd and although it’s only been around for a year, it’s garnering lots of buzz in the press.

The business idea behind it is simple.  Rather than take on the economic burden of employing an MBA graduate full-time, why not hire one on a per project basis?   For small business owners who lack a business background, it offers a great opportunity to get well-reasoned advice, project planning assistance, or help with marketing.

According to Co-founder and Hourly Nerd CEO, Rob Biederman, the process is a straightforward one.  In an interview with Idea Mensch, he says, “We connect small businesses with MBA students and graduates from top programs.  Our marketplace allows businesses to post tasks, review bids from a variety of MBAs with different experience and resumes, and then select the bid (and the price) that most closely fits their needs.  We take a small percentage of each transaction as our fee.”[1]

HourlyNerd takes on projects of all sizes for businesses of all sizes, and the MBA freelancers—who set their own prices—typically charge between $30-$100/hour.  Prices are fixed, meaning that once an MBA grad has submitted a bid for a project, business owners are aware upfront of the entire cost of the project.

Seemingly, HourlyNerd does it all.  According to their website, they take on projects that involve market research and data analysis, strategy, business plan creation, marketing/branding, finance, accounting, and social media/public relations.

So, if you’re sweating bullets over obtaining financing for your startup or merely need a second set of eyes to review your social media strategy, there may just be a nerd out there who can help…

Considering Outsourcing Your Help Desk?

In a world where technology issues can loom large, having excellent help desk support is critical.  However, providing that kind of superior service can be difficult for businesses of any size, particularly if their IT staffs are small or overwhelmed.  Fortunately, companies do have the option of outsourcing their help desk operations.  Check out some common outsourcing benefits: 

Reduced Operating Expenses

Having your IT staff assume the role of help desk support can be a costly endeavor when you calculate salaries and benefits.  An outsourced help desk gives you the ability to provide great service while keeping your costs low.  Additionally, you’ll be making the same monthly expenditure for your help desk service, making your IT budgeting simpler.

Increase Employee Productivity

It’s beneficial to your organization when your IT employees can focus on strategic initiatives that have a positive impact on your bottom line, rather than troubleshooting help desk concerns. 

Customizable Training

Help desk support specialists have special training enabling them to provide exceptional service; they can also support in-house applications or third party apps.  Furthermore, you can contract for 24/7 support or 9/5 support, depending on the needs of your firm.

Trouble Ticketing Systems

Rather than taking a haphazard approach to troubleshooting, outsourcing offers a trouble ticketing system, online reporting tools, and escalation processes.  In this way, you can better manage your IT help desk issues and track those problems that arise most frequently. 

If you’re looking to learn more, contact Scisbo for a no-obligation quote.  We’re pleased to provide North American-based help desk outsourcing through our business partners for small, mid-size and enterprise organizations.

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