Wilson-Lewis-Wilson Design | Outsourcing Creative Services

To Outsource... or Not To Outsource...

Let A Specialist Do It

"Outsourcing" is essentially letting a specialist do what they do best while you free up your own time to do what you do best. In theory, it's a win-win proposition, but determining when and where it's most appropriate for you is a challenge.

With investments in computer hardware and software comprising a large portion of most businesses' operating budgets, the temptation is always there to "get the most out of our investment." By often attempting projects in-house which are beyond the means of the equipment in use - or the time and expertise of the staff charged with the assignment - the end result may be a lack of productivity, with valuable resources diverted to ancillary activities while the "business-at-hand" is neglected.

The Pressure To Produce

Small businesses have the least amount of resources (financial and personnel) at their disposal, and it is they who feel the pinch the most. But in these days of corporate downsizing, even middle- and upper-level management are faced with the pressures of keeping tighter controls on more and more of their company's activities, thereby taxing company staff and resources (to say nothing of the manager's - and employees' - patience).

You or your staff may have no trouble producing your company's product sheets and correspondence in-house, but when you feel the need for a nice, professional, full-color brochure or complete media campaign to tout your successes you may not feel confident in doing it yourself (or you may not be able to justify the investment of time and money in a suite of publishing software). Knowing where your talents (and those of others) lie - and just what your time is worth - is key in determining the need to seek outside help for a project.

Choosing The Right Vehicle

Advertising is a necessary expense for any business, and it is not one easily managed in-house. The key to any advertising success is determining just what vehicles make the most sense for your product(s) or service(s). If you cater to a specialized audience, it becomes increasingly important to research your market and the advertising vehicles available to you, and that research and expertise may be outside the scope of your staff. Balancing these vehicles is equally important. For example, as crucial as an Internet or Video presence may be to your business, its chances for success may be dramatically improved by a carefully designed Print or Direct Mail campaign which complements it. This requires careful coordination between Client, Creative and Vendor to ensure a seamless flow of communication to the target audience.

Having It All

In analyzing your own business situation, it's important to accurately assess your own strengths and weaknesses. It may be difficult to resist the temptation to "do it all" - either as a means of maintaining control or out of a need to save money - but it's important to know just where you're helping, and where you're hurting, by doing too much.

*A companion version of this article by Bill Wilson, specifically tailored to the Small Business Owner, originally appeared on Apple's Small Business Website

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