Outsourcing provides businesses with the opportunity to improve efficiency and contain costs in certain situations, and because of this, many businesses today are taking advantage of outsourcing certain tasks or projects to other independent contractors or businesses.
The tasks that are outsourced are typically important to the business yet not essential, but this is not always the case.
In many cases, the business owner or manager will prepare a proposal letter regarding the scope of the project or task and the company's unique needs, and this letter will be used to shop around to find the best individual contractor or business to connect with. Preparing this letter may seem daunting, but it actually is rather easy to do when a few key steps are followed.
Define the Business's Needs A proposal letter essentially will detail all aspects of the project, and this means that the business owner must carefully think through the scope of the work that they want others to do for their business. To begin the letter, define the business's needs, detailing the specific type of work needs to be done. Be as specific as necessary to ensure that the right partner can be paired with.
Keep in mind that some potential partners may only use specific techniques, equipment and so forth, and they may not be a suitable fit for the business's needs. By defining specific needs in detail, others who review the letter will be able to more accurately determine if they can meet those needs. Detail the Workload
The right partner to pair with should have the infrastructure in place to fully support the business, and this means that the business owner should carefully detail the anticipated workload. The workload may include an approximate number of hours per day, an estimate for the number of workers that are needed to fulfill the tasks and other relevant information that a business or contractor may need to ensure that they have the ability to meet the business's unique needs.
Think About Fluctuating Needs
Some outsourced projects may be relatively short-lived, but others may extend through seasons or even years. Business owners who are preparing a letter should think about fluctuating needs for support from contracted services based on various seasons, holiday periods and more.
Anticipating increasing growth or decreasing need for services over time is critical when preparing the letter. Defining these potential needs gives those who are considering making a bid for the contracted work the ability to ensure that they can meet those needs as they fluctuate.
Set Limits for Time Lines and Budget
The proposal letter should go beyond defining the scope of the project, and it should establish expectations regarding timing and cost. For example, one outsourced task may include the availability of administrative support during the business's operating hours, and the expectation for phones to be answered by a live person during business hours Monday through Friday may be established.
In a service-oriented business, there may be an expectation that customers will receive support within a specified period of time. Costs and expenses related to the project should also be defined. This should be clearly and fully stated so that additional fees and expenses cannot be tacked on by the contractor after the fact.
Establish Expectations for Customer Service
Some outsourced work will be internal, and other outsourced work will place the contractors in direct communication with the business's customers. In both cases, customer service is imperative. Expectations for the level, quality and speed of service related to the main company should be established.
The same types of expectations related to dealing with external customers and clients should be established. Bear in mind that contracted professionals are affiliates or representatives of the business itself, and their behavior can reflect directly on the business.
Define Problem Solving Measures
Problems can develop when outsourcing tasks to another company or to an independent contractor. Measures for dealing with problems should be defined in the letter. For example, if the contractor failed to satisfy a customer, the business may require the contractor to return to the customer's residence or place of business to take necessary steps to meet the customer's specific needs without additional cost.
A proposal letter can be as detailed or basic as the business owner desires. Some will prepare a rather basic letter and will ask the contractor to sign a more detailed contract later in the process. However, others find it more effective to fully define the scope of the project and anticipations up-front.
This may help to weed out some of the bids that are not serious or that do not fully meet all needs and expectations up-front. Developing a letter will take forethought and planning, but it can ultimately help the business owner to get the additional support needed to move the business forward with success.