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Good, Fast, and Cheap…now you can have it all!

good-fast-cheapEvery CEO wants their projects done fast, good, and cheap.  This is the ‘holy grail’ of successful project management and something that often eludes executives at every turn.  There’s a false belief that you can’t have all three, no matter how hard you try.

I’m here to tell you that you can…

The main key to cracking this code is to find the right people.  Someone that performs at a top quality level, works quickly, and doesn’t charge a lot.  Sounds great, right?  Definitely!  But how to accomplish it is another question…

For years, outsourcing was hailed as a solution to this problem (at least for the ‘cheap’ portion of it).  Unfortunately, traditional outsourcing is notorious for having more problems then it’s worth.  Quality tends to be terrible.  Timeliness is typically non-existent.   And to be honest, it rarely (if ever) works.

So, why does traditional outsourcing typically fail?  

The real problem with outsourcing is that it’s based on a flawed premise.  When you outsource to a company or team, there is little to no control over who is doing the actual work on your project.  You have no control over hiring or firing.  You have no idea how a candidate was (or if they ever were) properly qualified.  They have no connection to you, your team, and your vision.  And most importantly, there’s no guarantee the entire team won’t walk away tomorrow.  Believe it or not, it does happen!

When I first started working with overseas over a decade ago, we worked with outsourcing companies.  Twice (in less then 8 months), two companies we were working with had their entire teams leave to go to other companies for pay increases.  Quality (which wasn’t that great to begin with) plummeted in both situations in less then 24 hours.  We had no idea why.  The company wasn’t telling us the truth.  And the only way we found out was because we had our own people on the ground that knew what had happened.  It was a real shocker when critical parts of our projects depended on them.

Needless to say, I started thinking twice about outsourcing ever again.

So after that experience, how and why do I run an overseas recruiting firm?  Well, I found the reason for the failure was simply because outsourcing itself was based on a fundamentally flawed premise.  Just the idea of shipping work ‘out’ to some foreign land to unnamed people doesn’t really foster a strong sense of team work, dedication, or commitment to quality, vision, and mission either.  So I tried something new and flipped the premise on its head over a decade ago.  And my commitment to ‘insourcing’ was born.

Insourcing, the only outsourcing that works!

Insourcing is an approach that takes the best parts of outsourcing, tosses the worst parts, and looks to build a ‘win-win’ for everyone (both companies and overseas counterparts alike).

The difference with ‘insourcing’, is that it’s focused on bringing someone ‘in’ to your company (in a work-from-home model) instead of shipping work ‘out’ to them.  The reason we take this approach is because there is a distinct difference in performance, dedication, longevity, and quality when you have someone who is truly committed to your team and mission compared to someone who isn’t.

Also, by hand-picking and recruiting the best talent available, you naturally side-step the ‘quality’ and ‘timeliness’ issues.  Let’s face it, you’re never going to hire someone that isn’t good or fast.  And we make sure of it by doing multiple tests (including timed tests) prior to actually making an offer.

By matching top skills, performance, and personality with your companies needs… we find the best talent available at a fraction of the cost.  Check out the differences below:

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So not only can you have major cost savings (with the average full-time hire costing approx $1k/mo), you find someone that personally becomes a part of your team, your mission, and your vision.  Now, I’ve heard many people question whether or not corporate culture will suffer as a result of having someone working remotely.  In fact, in ten years of running remote global teams myself, I’ve found that it only helps expand corporate culture by connecting people across the world.  Let’s face it, most companies are aiming to perform at a global level anyway, so it’s a great proving ground for future growth.

So that’s how we’ve cracked the good, fast, and cheap code.  We’ll share more next time about which positions you can actually hire best overseas.  Believe it or not, tech is not even at the top of the list!  Stay tuned for more soon…

Click here to learn more about the benefits of outsourcinby reading our 8-Part Guide to Outsourcing. 

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‘Insourcing’: The New Outsourcing

in-or-out_001Truth be told, I really dislike the word ‘outsourcing’.  It has so many negative connotations to it and brings up images that make most people cringe (myself included).  Just the idea of shipping work ‘out’ to some foreign land to unnamed people doesn’t really foster a strong sense of team work, dedication, or commitment to quality either.  So I’m here to tell you that outsourcing is, well, ‘out’.

Yes, I know, how can that be?  The word itself is all over my website – it’s even in the title!  Well, truth be told, I use that word more for the sake of the search engines and because it’s a word that people are familiar with right now.  But what I do, instead, is something I like to refer to as, ‘insourcing’ – it’s the next (and best) way to build an overseas team.

Insourcing is an approach that takes the best parts of outsourcing, tosses the worst parts, and looks to build a ‘win-win’ for everyone (both companies and overseas counterparts alike).

The difference with ‘insourcing’, is that it’s focused on bringing someone ‘in’ to your company instead of shipping work ‘out’ to them.  The reason we take this approach is because there is a distinct difference in performance, dedication, longevity, and quality when you have someone who is also truly committed to your team and mission compared to someone who isn’t.

Imagine that you’re working on a project for someone you’ve never met, never seen, and have no idea who they are or what they do.  I’m sure you’d still do decent work (because you’ve got integrity), but would you put your ‘all’ into it?  Would you stay up nights making sure that everything was perfect because you cared so much about the people and the company?  (Maybe a few of you would say ‘yes’ to this – and congrats on being amazing people!)  But let’s face it, most people wouldn’t.  And that’s part of what happens with outsourcing.

Outsourcing also has a little secret problem that most people outside of the industry aren’t aware of.  There is a tremendously high turn-over in most project-based ‘outsourcing shops’.  So you never know whose working on your project, how good they are, or how long they’ll stay.  I’ve even heard (and seen) stories of entire work forces up and leaving ‘shops’ to go to another one.  So your work is neither consistent nor stable.  Truth be told, unless you truly know who you’re dealing with, it’s a potential disaster in the making – one that most companies don’t have the time, energy, or resources to contend with.

Insourcing, on the other hand, is simply like adding any new hire to your company with the only caveat being they work ‘remotely’ (oh, and for a fraction of the cost).  So just like any other hire within your company, you simply have a new team member whose desk is just a little farther away then everyone else’s.  But they are a part of your team, committed to your mission, trained by your staff, and completely ‘on board’ as any other employee would be.  And don’t worry about the remote issue, soon enough you’ll find that IM, skype and video chat make you feel like you’re only a few desks away.

When this happens, something wonderful occurs.  You manage to get a full hire for 1/4 of the cost of hiring someone stateside, but more then that, you have someone on your team that’s loyal, dedicated, and committed to your team and mission in ways you can’t even imagine.  And trust me, the dedication, work ethic, and efficiency of an overseas team is something that is simply mind-blowing.  (Read here to learn more about the cultural work ethic in India).  So, let me help you build your overseas dream team and show you how insourcing is in…  Click here to learn more about how you can build your own Overseas Dream Team by reading our 8-Part Guide to Outsourcing.

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Don’t You Feel Guilty?

shutterstock_89221888Working in outsourcing, I’m frequently asked the question ‘don’t you feel guilty about taking jobs away from Americans by outsourcing?’

This question is inevitable in this field and one that I always find interesting, especially with the tone in which it’s asked.  Typically, a person that asks this question is looking to pick a fight and feels ready to invalidate outsourcing in its entirety, when they typically know little about it.  They ask the question, acting like they have me up against the ropes, and anxiously await a nervous apologetic response from me.

They are inevitably disappointed by my simple answer.  ‘No, not one bit.’

‘What?’ They reply, ready to launch into a diatribe of explanations and accusations about how I’m single-handedly undermining the U.S. economy.  But before they can fully launch into it, I ask them a single question in return.

‘Have you ever been to India?’

The answer is an inevitable ‘no’, at which point I share some of my experiences about my travels there.

India is a spectacular, beautiful, mystical, gracious, and (sadly) also poverty-stricken country.  The worst U.S. cities look like a spa resort compared to conditions in some of the best cities in India.  Problems with water, gas, electricity, and roads – basic luxuries we take for granted – are not a given or a guarantee over there.  I’ve seen first-hand how people do their laundry in local rivers; I’ve seen bumper stickers warning against the spread of ‘TB’; and I’ve also been there when an entire city was shut down due to a gas main break.  I’ve also seen barefoot children running through the streets and a level of poverty that I never knew existed in the world before my travels.  So when people ask me if I feel ‘guilty’ about providing good jobs to good people in a country where basic living conditions and general infrastructure can be a struggle… my answer is an unequivocal ‘no, not one bit.’

But that’s only part of the answer.

Because when I think about India and my team there… poverty and poor conditions are the last things that come to my mind as what defines the country or the people.  Instead, I think of how graciously I’ve been treated as a guest in their country and how respectfully I’ve been treated as a boss to my team.  I think about the times when my team worked through the night to get an important project done without being asked to do so.  I recall the many moments (too many to count) when they brilliantly solved problems, finished their projects ahead of schedule, and supported each other as true teammates because they cared about the success of the project and of each others.  I remember the times when they had tears of gratitude in their eyes for being given a nice (and surprise) annual bonus.  And I personally recall the loving, kind, and supportive calls/emails from my team the day my dog passed away – since they had all virtually adopted her as a part of our team.

When I think of my team, I think of people that are genuinely kind, caring, brilliant, successful, gracious, and very fun to work with.  So, no, I don’t feel guilty one bit.  I feel truly grateful!

And I’d like to help you have the same beautiful experience I’ve been blessed with by helping you set up your dream team.  Click here to learn more about how you can build your own dream team by reading our 8-Part Guide to Outsourcing.

 

 

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Outsourcing: A Case Study

Success Secrets Winning Information Classified EnvelopeFor the first half of my professional career, I had a rather low opinion of outsourcing.  I didn’t like outsourcing mainly because my only exposure to it consisted of more then a handful of terrible customer service calls when I was in desperate need of technical support.  Not only did I feel like I was tearing my hair out trying to understand what the person on the other end of the line was saying to me, I also felt like I was speaking to a wall.  The support rep’s clearly didn’t ‘get’ what I was saying or needing, and it drained hours of my time and energy trying to get help that shouldn’t have taken more then 10-15 minutes. Talk about FRUSTRATING!

So for the first half of my career, I chalked outsourcing up to something that only ‘bad’ companies did when they wanted cheap labor and bad customer service.  (Yes, I can be a tough critic sometimes).  And I was convinced I was 100% ‘right’ about my assessment.  How could I be wrong?  All eight outsourced customer support calls I had experienced turned out to be a disaster.  And not a little disaster, but a huge one!  So for me, that was enough quantifiable ‘evidence’ that outsourcing, well, sucked.  (Pardon my bluntness and language).

It wasn’t until I was overseeing a project focused on time-sensitive earnings call transcription that I began to question whether or not I could be wrong about it.

You see, it all started mainly by accident, circumstance, or divine intervention (as I like to see it).  I was running a project with a business partner whose team was based out of India.  At first, I was hesitant, especially considering my prior ‘judgments’ about working overseas.  But when we began to work together, something happened that I hadn’t expected.

The India-based team made my team look like a bunch of lazy slackers – and trust me – we were running a tight ship!

My team quickly learned that if a file was delivered 1 minute late to the India-based team, we could expect a phone call exactly one minute after that inquiring about it.  So, after a handful of 7:01 am phone calls (and me not being much of a morning person), I was both mildly irritated, exceptionally impressed, and curious if this was just an anomaly or the real deal.

As it turned out, that business partner ended up closing their doors and asked us if we wanted to take on their manager to our team.  After many months of being deeply impressed (and woken up early), I couldn’t refuse this opportunity to find out first-hand if there was really something to this outsourcing thing.  So that’s how team member #1 came aboard and my view of outsourcing was forever changed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the first few months were interesting with many (now funny) stories to look back on.  There were many cultural differences, approaches, and mindsets that took me quite a while to figure out.  But once I ‘got it’ (things that I’ll teach you and cut years off your learning curve), it was smooth sailing and my dream team was born.

So how did we do it and why did it work?

First and foremost, we gave it a shot.  Sounds pretty simple, but sometimes just the idea of trying something new is the hardest step.  And in all honesty, it took some time to get up the courage to go down this road.  But the motivating factor was one key thing – the potential benefits far outweighed the risks.  Our biggest risk and potential loss for hiring someone that didn’t work out was comparable to less then one month minimum wage salary in the US.  And the potential gain of hiring someone for that rate that did work out for us, well, the upsides were a real ‘game-changer’!

So once we made the first hire and found that he was not only working out well, but was one of our most exceptional team members, it only made sense to try again with another role, then another role, and then another.

From that point on, one employee grew to five, which then grew to ten, and then twenty and beyond.  It would have grown faster and easier those first few years had we had someone to guide us through the process, which is what I’m here to do for you.  We’ll cut years off your learning curve and help you get ‘the best of the best’ for your dream team starting today!

Click here to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing
by reading our 8-Part Guide to Outsourcing.