A couple of years ago, Laurel Delaney was interviewed by a major international bank. The bank (name withheld for confidentiality purposes) was eager to help their small business clients expand internationally. This is Part 2 of the interview. (You can find Part 1 here)
In this second installment, Laurel talks about working with independent contractors and best practices for growing a global small business.
What's the most effective way to hire and maintain (nurture) independent contractors worldwide while building a global empire during a tough economic time?
First of all, determine where the best places are to outsource the work you need done. A couple of places to look are:
How do you nurture your hires?
Be specific about the skills and expertise you need when you fill out a profile (description of the work you need done) on a job site.
Set expectations right at the beginning of the project. You don’t want anyone wondering if the work they are performing is adequate or not. In addition to an initial email contact, consider setting up a phone appointment to further discuss your needs. It’s an even better way to build trust and negotiate fair compensation. If the contractor is located in another country, consider using Skype to keep your costs down.
Research the rates that you are willing to pay so you don’t come across as too low (cheap) or too extravagant. After settling on a reasonable figure, stick to it and nurture the relationship from there.
Check in periodically with the contractor to make sure the work gets done, that it meets your expectations and is performed on time and within budget. You might set up daily, weekly or monthly check-in points dependent upon how long the project runs to ensure things are on track. Simultaneously managed global projects can be coordinated on the move, with everything stored in one place, via Google Docs or the Apple CloudApp for the iphone and iPad (or http://tinyurl.com/6dt3y24).
What are some key elements involved in running a fit-for-fast-growth type of global small business?
You have to be in tip-top shape as a human being, so I strongly suggest you put some sort of exercise routine in place that involves, at a minimum, a daily half hour of walking, running, swimming or whatever it is you like to do that gets your heartbeat moving swiftly. Health is more important than anything, and to do a good job running your company, you have to be in the best shape physically and mentally!
Next, get the right people on board, whether you hire employees (with full benefits/perks) or independent contractors. You want people around you who are as passionate about your company’s prospects as you. In the beginning, it’s about you, your people and your company’s capabilities. But as you grow, you will discover it becomes about execution.
Learn how to communicate effectively and constantly. Keeping people in the dark about anything is a sure-fire sign of an ineffective leader. Don’t be one.
Delegate as much work as possible to others who can do it better than you. This will make your business life easier and your employees/independent contractors happy because you put trust and faith in their abilities. Just don’t overburden them. Refer to the communication part above. If you stay in constant contact, you will learn more quickly about little bumps in the road and together you can fix them as they arise.
Stay nimble. Be willing to adjust fast to changing tides and times because the one thing we know to be true is this: Change is the only constant thing right now.
A good article that covers more on business growth is: