Are you looking to outsource your processes? But don’t know where to start? We are breaking down this for you given different situations that are commonly faced by business owners or decision makers.
We hope to help make hiring an agency easier for you.
Step 1: Evaluate your goals
Let’s look at some use cases where this may apply to you
- If you want to build awareness about your new product in your portfolio, determine what you need for that product. Does it need to have its own presence or can you market it under an umbrella already created and established?
This will help you understand the different online parts you need, i.e. website, features, payment gateway.
- Do you need social media boosting or enhancement? If you’re looking to bring more customers to your website through social media, consider the larger activities as the website doesn’t live on its own.
- If you’re looking for help with a website, narrow down whether you need it to become more mobile friendly, fast loading, mobile optimized, multiple languages, content written for the website, logos, graphics. Once you decide on this, your search for an agency or freelancer will be made so much easier.
Step 2: Establish timelines
Breakdown your timelines. Whether you are looking to develop a social media strategy or build an application, set a realistic date for yourself that you can work towards. This will be easier to decide if you have a ready product. Regardless, try to keep a tentative timeline rather than a fixed one, because it’s 2020, the year of the unexpected.
Step 3: Discover internal resources
Look at your internal team capacity. You may find that you’re not full utilizing the team members you have. You don’t need to hire a content writer for your website, if you have an experienced one already working with you. You or your team may already have these skills, so consider whether you can take on these roles yourself and get this done without spreading yourself too thin. If not, you can ideate internally and see what can be done with what’s already at your disposal, before taking the plunge. So evaluate these internal resources to understand where the gaps are. For instance: ‘my team can write content but I need someone to build the website.’
Then take this one step further, figure out the specific requirements you have and divide into two sets:
- What’s being done internally
- What needs to be done through an outsourced resource
This will help you be more specific when approaching an agency or freelancer. Rather than going to them saying ‘I need a website developer’ you can tell them exactly what is needed on your website. For example: You need help with structure, design ideas, development, hosting. This will avoid receiving high quotes from agencies, simply because you didn’t take the necessary steps to narrowing down your requirements.
Step 4: Collect references and relevant information
These don’t have to be super specific, instead just shortlist companies you would want to model or emulate after. On the other hand, you can be specific by saying ‘I like company A’s homepage’ and then find ways to best make that happen for you.
It’s important to take the time out to do this. Have a plan of what you want your online presence to look like, once that’s established the rest tends to fall in place.
Do NOT hire an agency and THEN do all of this. Make sure you got your pre-requirement checklist in place. Build this resource. This blog becomes a good starting point for you and how you will look at hiring agencies here on out.
Once you have gone through your budget, your internal capabilities and determined what the different parts or components you need to provide to your end customer are, next is to do your own research so you have an understanding of what’s out there.
Step 5: Speak to freelancers and agencies to get a sense of costs and who they are
In order to do this you need to start by writing clear job descriptions. For example, don’t write: I need a social media manager to help me now. Instead, create a specific job description for each activity you need assistance with and include the industry you are operating in. Don’t mention what you’re doing on a larger level, that will just confuse people and in turn, you’ll be charged a bomb.
If you want to save time and money, you need to be specific with what your requirements are and what you expect from an agency.
If you list out what you need from your requirement, within what time frame, include references and options of how this will happen. The agency will be able to submit a proposal accordingly. Your job listing is your market bid. Essentially, the more information you provide the more accurate of a quote you are going to receive.
When hiring, make sure to share the posting across all platforms with clear and concise information. Don’t be overwhelmed with a lot of messages in response to your posting, instead filter the 500+ people by weeding out those who are closest to your budget.
If you have listed 50,000 INR consider anyone between 35 – 70,000 INR. Anyone who has claimed to do this service for 10,000 INR has clearly not read your requirement or are simply not qualified. This monetary value means they have at least read your requirements thoroughly.
Next, go through their portfolio, online presence (what they post on social media tells you a lot about what kind of person they are), company profile, website, if this information is not easily accessible, that means they either aren’t bothered to market themselves or they don’t have the work to show for it. This part is based on gut and instinct, there’s no formula for if you think a portfolio is worth your time.
Here are some questions you can ask while interviewing your shortlisted candidates (try to schedule a call with five to six people from the list of 500+).
- Have you worked on something like this before. Ask for references
- What exactly is it that you’ve done? (Maybe they can help with more than you know, collect as much information from them as possible).
- Who will be working on my account? (In regards to an agency, get to know the profiles of the people working on the brand, beyond client servicing). This should include years of experience too. If they are charging over 10 lakhs retainers have a point of contact for communication, if it’s under 10 lakhs, you don’t need a POC, just collect all the team information).
- Lastly, understand their processes, ask them for a week by week or month by month process. If they don’t have this in order, your decision is easy and made for you.
Overall, this works on a process of elimination while looking at the budget, timelines and the team and their capabilities.
Use these 5 steps as your bible to hiring an agency or freelancer. It will make the entire job that much easier for you, in terms of effectively allocating your time and money.
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