Let’s face it, business; along with just about everything else, isn’t quite what it used to be.
30 years ago there were maybe a dozen competitors you had to take seriously in your field, decades before anyone could catch up, and keeping that edge was simple: have the best product with strong marketing and distribution channels and you were gold.
Cue the Internet, a venture capital boom and Asia; now anyone who can put together a business plan can bury you in under 5 years.
How do you compete with an apparently limitless influx of new competitors with a never-ending stream of financing?
The answer is quite simple, but often difficult for traditional business owners to accept.
The sad truth is that you cannot ride this one out. Sticking to your guns when you’re sporting a turn of the century Colt and everyone’s walking around with rocket launchers has, shall we say, a predictable outcome.
Want to even things out a bit? Get yourself a rocket launcher, or better yet get a tank.
Tank? Rocket launcher? Can you clarify? Sure. They’ve got good labor; get better labor.
They’ve got advanced manufacturing, get state-of-the art manufacturing.
They ship ground; you ship overnight.
I can’t do that right now, I’m barely keeping my business afloat as is… Answer: throw LESS money at it.
Any second-semester business major can tell you that once you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve tweaked everything else all you can do to increase your profit margins is to decrease costs.
What a lot of business owners fail to see is that it is also the first step towards stabilization.
The less you spend the less you borrow, to plagiarize a line from home ec class. Question is, how? Outsource, that’s how.
Externalize your non-critical business functions and you’ll be surprised to find how your business manages to continue its operations at 1/10 of the expenses.
Pretty much anything can be outsourced, from manufacturing, to IT, sales, and customer service.
Of course we’ve all heard the horror stories.
Massive re-calls for a defective product Made in “X” or customers complaining that “John” in customer service couldn’t understand a word they were saying.
We want to lower our overhead, but not at the expense of losing our company. The answer? Nearshore Call Center.
To get US level manufacturing, business planning and culture you need to work with people who’ve lived and worked in the US.
People who share the same expectations you do and will therefore deliver in turn.
Over the years the amount of people who migrate to the US, work, receive an education and return to their place of origin has steadily increased to the point where a rather substantial section of the Latin American and Caribbean population has an essentially American mindset while still retaining the earning expectation native to their country of origin.
They identify with a client’s needs, feedback and cues more easily than someone from a completely different culture, something that goes a long way towards keeping customers happy.
In addition, because of having spent many years in the US the pesky accent issue becomes almost non-existent.
In comparison, the direct costs are as low as 30% of what they would be in the US with the added benefit of having management overhead partially absorbed as most outsourcing is done on a per hour basis with supervisors, managers, operations personnel and logistics included.
At the end of the day decisions made early to curb your operating costs will not only go a long way towards giving you a stronger competitive edge, but also create a strong balance sheet, what ultimately really determines how successful you are at courting new investors.
Outsourcing allows you to cut those costs quickly, nearshore outsourcing ensures that the drop in costs doesn’t result in a dip in quality, because, at the end of the day, that’s what will ensure client and customer loyalty.