When Outsourcing Goes Wrong: What Not To Do

Outsourcing is undeniably a useful option for small and growing businesses. As the main operator at your business, you can’t possibly handle every task and role. You might be a one-man or one-woman show, but quickly you’ll realize that certain tasks are taking too much of your time without delivering the needed ROI. Enter outsourcing to solve all your business challenges.


Outsourcing can be the best business decision you’ve ever made, or it can be the worst. The provider you choose and the way you implement their services will be the deciding factor in how effective outsourcing is for your business.

We should know – we’re a virtual receptionist provider for small businesses looking to outsource their phone and administrative duties. Many of our clients come to us after being deeply disappointed in automated call answering services or being forced to let their onsite receptionist go due to financial constraints. Some of them have made every outsourcing mistake in the book, even nearly losing their business, before finding us.

That doesn’t have to happen to you. When outsourcing goes wrong, it’s usually due to one of the 6 reasons listed below. Think of this list as an anti-to do list – a list of what not to do when you start outsourcing.

When Outsourcing Goes Wrong: What Not To Do

If you want outsourcing to help bring your business more cash flow, organization, and efficiency, you’ll need to avoid the following 6 actions like the plague. These are outsourcing don’ts that have the power to damage your company, reputation, and revenue. Take away their power by ensuring you don’t make these mistakes!

1. Choose the first provider you come across

Reminder: This is a list of what NOT to do. Do not choose the first provider you come across or the first one that comes to mind. When it comes to business decisions, information and research are necessities.

If you’re using Google to search for outsourcing providers, know that the first results you see are there because they’re either paid advertisements or because they’ve managed to rank well for their search terms. Neither of these mean that they’re necessarily the best provider for you to choose. Do your research to find your provider and you’ll be much happier with the results.

2. Outsource all your tasks at once

It can be tempting to shove your entire to-do list at your new outsourcing provider, but don’t do it. Start out by delegating some of your tasks to the provider and evaluate their performance. Did they abide by the rules and requirements they said they would? What is the quality of the work like?

This will give you a better idea of how you will work together and make you more confident about delegating larger or more involved tasks to them.

3. Look for the cheapest option

Will a cheap outsourcing provider get the job done? Maybe. Will they get the job done well? Almost certainly not.

Companies and providers create their pricing structure based on a number of things, among which are the demand for their product, the cost of making or creating the product, the product quality, and their own overhead costs that have to be recouped somehow. Cheap prices signal that something is wrong. Don’t let cheap sway you away from quality!

Online review guide

4. Ignore the online reviews

You can’t afford to ignore what others are saying about outsourcing providers online. Other business owners who have used them have great insight to offer, whether it ends up steering you toward or away from a provider you’ve been researching.

Online reviews provide a window into the way customers perceive a company, and that’s one of the best ways to arm yourself with information before selecting a provider.

5. Micromanage your outsourcing provider

Outsourcing providers aren’t employees of your company – they’re a separate entity altogether. If you’re looking to have the ability to micromanage someone, opt instead for hiring an employee or working one on one with a freelancer or contractor.

Once you’ve researched and selected your provider, they should have already passed your rigorous “tests” – no need to micromanage them as they complete the tasks they agreed to.

6. Offshore instead of outsource

y the most important don’t on this list – don’t confuse offshoring with outsourcing. The difference between the two options can be a little murky (check out this article about the difference between offshoring vs outsourcing for clarity), so for future reference:

  • Offshoring – When a company outsources tasks or work to a foreign provider (i.e., offshore)
  • Outsourcing – When a company outsources tasks or work to a provider in their own country

Offshoring is bad for national economies, creates lingual and cultural issues, has a deeply negative reputation, and can really hurt your business. Remember that you’re looking for an outsourcing provider, not a company offshore.


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