Last week we did an intensive feature with Chodak Hunter from Black Yak Digital Recruitment. When your affiliate business begins to expand, your operational execution might have to change quickly to deliver the demand. You’ll have a gap between what you can supply in house using the skills and resources at your disposal and what you need to deliver with the help of additional resources.
The dilemma of outsource or bringing those resources in house is a tricky one for most entrepreneurs as they scale up. When to hire in, is a question often asked by entrepreneurs and it is never an easy conclusion to come to. There are pitfalls to consider with both of these ways to expand, so take time to consider them carefully when you need to make this leap.
Things to consider when Outsourcing work
When you outsource your needs, whether that’s tracking or content, you can take a lot of strain off your operation. You can pay for this as and when you need it using experienced freelancers, instead of taking on a full time member of staff to deal with it. Thanks to the internet, there are millions of trained professionals specialising in exactly what you need and it won’t take you long to connect with them. There are a few sites that can provide decent skills at cost effective pricing such as FIVERR as an example. Not every role lends itself well to outsourcing though and there are a number of things to consider when working with a third party in your business.
There has to be a degree of trust between you and your outsourced solution provider.
This may mean that you spend an inordinate amount of time checking what they are doing, as there’s a lack of trust. It’s scary to give someone else control of aspects of your operation, but you have to build that trust in order to gain the benefits from outsourcing. If you’re outsourcing to the right person, then you’ll get all of their expertise. To hire a staff member with this kind of experience can be costly and requires you to ensure that you have administrative resources in place to offer payroll and work place pensions (UK) to support these permanent staff members. Dipping into the outsourcing pool allows you to use them as and when you require with no long term commitment or cost.
Their Chemistry and work ethics need to match your own
A freelancer needs to get a detailed brief in order to deliver to task. They also need to have a vested interest in meeting your brand and quality requirements. They need to show a vested interest in your business and wanting to help. If you don’t get a sense of that , no matter how desperate you are to outsource the jobs, don’t proceed as the alit of what you get back will be compromised, may be useless and would cost you additional time to rectify for use. Having a good chemistry between partnerships is key to successful delivery.
If you don’t want as much hassle with managing relationships and finding the right person to outsource to, then you may prefer to invest the time and effort to build a trusted in house team who do buy into the same work ethic as you. This creates a level of quality and reliability that can be harder to find while outsourcing. Having employees based in your office also reduces the time that it takes for you to be able to react to events.
For example, when the bonus tax came in last year, those with in house teams were generally able to spring into action, edit content, offers and banners faster than those with outsources solution. If you have to outsource to another company or individual for design, content and advice then this can take longer. However, this is a generalisation and there are outsourced solutions that react with lightning speed. These issues can still come up with regular staff members too, though there tends to be more accountability in house.
Consider AI and Other Solutions
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing with outsourcing, as you can dabble with what you feel comfortable outsourcing to others. Every affiliate is different, you might not want to give a web designer access to your site, but you might be happy to use an outsourced option for content. It’s all about building relationships and trust to outsource effectively.
Using a combined approach suits many affiliates, as they’re able to draw a line where they feel it’s appropriate. Don’t let one bad experience sour the entire outsourcing concept either, as you may have just chosen poorly the first time around.
You can also look towards automation and artificial intelligence to improve the resources that you have to hand. These can save the existing members of your team time, which can then be used on other projects instead. For example, if your affiliate managers spend a lot of their day managing data to forecast, then you may be better off investing in new monitoring , automation , and tracking technology
Again, there are tasks that are suited to AI and ones that are not. The customer facing side of an affiliate business should still have the human touch, in order to allow you to build relationships and create a good name for your brand. Automation in this regard can make your brand feel less personal, which can make those you work with feel less valued.
Resourcing can make growth a tricky task, as there are so many facets to balance. If you invest time in picking the right options for you and your brand, then you will create more manageable growth in the long term.