The global economy, if used properly, can benefit many small businesses by providing a worldwide marketplace for their goods or services, and it can also be a resource for buying cheaper goods and services. Most companies focus benefits of internet on acquiring new customers and cheaper goods, but not services. Small businesses still look locally for graphic designers, media kits, marketing consultants, printing services, programmers, and all sorts of services that can be found through internet with less cost and time and more control over output.
The internet is a great resource for services of all kinds. You can find graphic designers, programmers, administrative assistance, marketing consultants, etc. There are people skeptical of having a graphic designer or programmer do a job for them without speaking or meeting them directly. I have actually found that business is quicker and more efficient without face to face and phone conversations. Email and instant messaging are very effective forms of communications that create 2 benefits on outsourcing world.
First, in a meeting or conversation a lot of energy is spent with introductions and formalities. In an IM conversation most of pleasantries are skipped and it is a very concise conversation. Directly to point.
The second benefit is clear project descriptions. When you outsource through internet you are forced to describe exactly what you want. This forces you to thoroughly evaluate what you want and write it down in detail. This inevitably spurs decisions on many smaller details that are often brushed over in face to face business meetings. At first people see this as a hard task, but in reality it is very easy. I will show some examples later. Also, if you cannot describe it in an email are you sure that you know what you want?
The also prevents miscommunications. In face to face and phone conversations we talk through ideas and options. A lot of times each party is left with a different impression of exactly what is wanted. Then when there is a difference in expectations there is no written record of what was discussed. By describing it in detail in an email there is no miscommunication on what is being requested or promised.
The next response is how do I describe to a graphic artist what kind of a website design I want or marketing consultant what kind of Media kit I want? This is a lot easier then you think. Start with a high level description of project and work your way down to details. Include statements around color themes and overall impressions. Saying “I want a brochure that has a professional business look with a jazzy style and sunset colors”, gives a graphic artist a lot to work with and allows you to succinctly describe overall what you want.
Next, work your way down requirements. We need these bullets and prices; we want this description or photos used, etc. You will be impressed at how well a contractor can take a 5-6 line description and turn it into what you want.
The next 2 questions people have are how do I find people and how do I know who is good? Let’s start with where to find resources. There are to main sources for resources besides word or mouth, which is usually best resource possible if available. Otherwise, there are forum boards and freelancing websites. There are 1000’s of Forum boards on internet concerning every topic you can image. If you find a large popular forum for service you need you will find a group of workers waiting to fulfill your request. You can usually post your project or ask for help. Sometimes these communities are filled with ametuers and you should use some scrutiny in selecting someone. Another popular way to use forums is to create a Contest. Post project as a contest and set a winning price. People will compete for your project. You will get multiple designs to choose from and can set price you want to pay. I recently ran a contest for a professional Media Kit for an advertising campaign. We posted project on one of our favorite forum boards for $200 and received 11 designs to choose from. We liked several but not one best. We took best of each and had closest entry modify theirs accordingly. We received exactly what we wanted, for price we wanted, and we had 11 designs to choose from. From writing-up project description, to posting contest, and reviewing entries, I spent 2 hours on this effort. About same time as average business meeting including driving; Pretty efficient.