7 questions to ask before working with an external supplier

Your first time can be daunting. You’re not quite sure what to do, or how to do it. You know that you’ll feel great afterwards, but that doesn’t stop it being a bit scary.

We’re talking about outsourcing! There comes a time in every business where you need to grow. You realise that you don’t have the skills, expertise or time to do everything anymore. This is when you need to bring in outside help and use external suppliers and freelancers. 

Choosing the right external supplier can be tricky, especially if you aren’t 100% sure what you need to outsource. It’s something that I get asked about all the time by new clients. Sadly, there’s no one size fits all answer. You need to look at your business, your skills and your preferences to find out what will work for you.

The next step is finding the right subcontractor for you. Here are my top 7 questions to ask when searching for an external supplier.

Are they a good communicator?

I can’t begin to stress how important it is that whoever you choose to work with is great at communicating! You need to have faith that your subcontractor will alert you to any issues, keep you updated and won’t ghost you. This is your chance to get clarity on how they communicate and whether that suits you. Can you only WhatsApp them at 7.32 pm on a Tuesday? Do you prefer to chat over the phone but they like emails? Finding out the details at this stage will help you make a decision about whether you fit well together.

Do they offer quality over quantity?

Price is at the heart of the majority of the decisions we make as business owners. It’s tempting to sign a contract with someone because they’re cheap but STOP! The phrase you get what you pay for is hugely appropriate here. Yes, price is a factor but don’t let it cloud your judgement. If someone is charging way below market rate than maybe there’s a reason for that. Trust your instincts!

Are they experienced?

This might sound obvious. It is obvious. Yet, it’s so easy to be blindsided by sparkly things. You need to make sure that whoever you take on has direct experience for the task you want to outsource. That’s why it’s so important to have an understanding of what you need help with to start. There’s a freelancer for everything so make sure you don’t waste your time, and theirs, if they are totally unsuitable for your project.  

Do they listen to you?

Some might argue that this should come under communication. For me, the ability to listen and then take action is its own criteria. You don’t want to keep repeating yourself because the other person isn’t focused on you 100% at that point. When you’re talking to an external supplier, check they are actively listening. Are they asking questions and responding to what you say? Do they seem interested? These are all great signs that they’ll listen to what you’re saying and understand what you need.

Are they engaged?

A relationship with an external supplier should be two ways. They should be putting in as much effort as you are. If you feel like you’re burdening them right now then how much worse is that feeling going to get once the contract is signed? You want an external supplier that understands you, your business and how they can add the most value. When I talk to my clients I’m 100% focused on them and their needs, no matter how many things are on my to-do list!

Do they have capacity?

This one almost goes without saying but can they fit you in? This comes back to you giving a full, clear brief that’s realistic about the level of work you need help with. You also want to find out at this point how quickly they’ll respond to any emails or phone calls from you. You also need to look to the future if your business grows do they have the capacity, and capability, to grow with you?

Do you get on with them?

Personally, I think this is one of the most important criteria. Do you want to work with this person? All else aside, will you enjoy working with them? Part of running your own business is that you get to choose who you work with, that goes for hiring an external supplier too. Make sure that you like the person, you have a rapport and get good vibes!

Finding the right external supplier ultimately comes down to two things. Knowing exactly what it is you’re looking to outsource and gut feeling. We can’t help with the gut feeling but we can help you work out what you can outsource and how to do it. Take advantage of one of our power hours and let’s start freeing up your time to focus on the things that you need to take your business to the next level.
If you’re starting to think about outsourcing to an external supplier (or a few!) but are stuck on how to get going our power hours could really help you. For just £99 we’ll review your current processes, discuss which areas you could outsource and how, and make recommendations unique to your business.

Send us an email at powerhour@typingandtasks.com to book your power hour now!

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Amy Lester

Amy Lester

With over a decade of experience in Business Administration, Operations and Marketing, I’ve seen it all. I work with my clients on regaining their time so they can focus on taking their business to the next level.

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