Outsourcing 2.0 – Keys to Outsourcing Success

 

When you start thinking about the daunting task of outsourcing a software development team, you may wonder where to begin researching. Accelerance has taken care of the research for you, by evaluating and qualifying thousands of companies. We have a proven process that we even trusted for ourselves. Our CEO, Steve Mezak, gave a presentation at DevWeekNY about Accelerance making the vital choice of a software development company in days, not months. He also references his business fable, Outsource or Else, that he co authored with Andy Hilliard. Yes, we wrote the book on this. We are able to offer a free download at the conclusion of this blog. Continue reading to learn the 7 Keys of Software Outsourcing.

Key #1 Great developers are everywhere

There are software companies all over the world. Previously, personal referrals were used to select a software outsourcing company. The dilemma with listening to you colleagues is that there are over 5,000 outsourcing companies with some having over 10,000 employees.

Steve recommends using the 5% rule to find the optimal company to use:

accelerance2

 

Your development team size should be >5% of the number of developers employed by your software outsourcing partner

Key #2 Focus on your vision

What is the business purpose for your app? Having clear objectives will help you best choose your software development company.

Accelerance uses Rapid Referral, a sophisticated spreadsheet that includes 200 points of criteria. The clients desired criteria are entered and our partners are then ranked on a scorecard for our clients.

Key #3 In-person investigation is critical

Traveling to the site will give a true insight into the company’s process. The most effective outsourcing companies are good at recruiting your team and have a knowledgeable discovery process.

Key #4 Quality matters as much as price

Choose the team based on technical skills, not just the price. However, the most expensive company is not necessarily the most experienced or best quality. Steve explains in the video that Accelerance chose a less expensive company over a more expensive company for their higher quality output.

Key #5 Think like a partner and embrace cultural differences

It is crucial to remember that each country has different cultures and communication styles.

In India, a “no” might be spoken as “that will be difficult,” as Steve shared in the video.

If you are doing the interviews for developers, you want to make sure the person fits in with your company culture. Will their personality (IQ and EQ) fit?

You also want to make your company marketable. What are the best aspects of your company culture? You’ll want to establish this.

Key #6 Relationships are important

It is imperative to remember your outsourced software company is an extension of your team.

Key #7 Everything you invest in hiring a good outsourcing team will have 3X ROI

You must put time and effort into considering the best quality fit for your team to earn the highest ROI.

 

For questions about how you can use the 7 Keys to Success, contact Accelerance today!

To hear Steve’s presentation, view our Youtube: Outsourcing 2.0 – Keys to Outsourcing Success

We wrote the book! Download Outsource or Else here: Free Ebook

 

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White Labeled

0White label social networks give companies the chance to share their information uncluttered by anyone else. They do not have to compete for the users’ attention with someone else.

I believe white label social networks are best suited for bigger companies with multiple employees. Though I would not recommend a costly white label social network for JK Around Consignment, I do have ideas of what it could be.

I would want the store to create a branded app. The app would be used by consignors that go to the store.

I would want the app to be able to do two simple tasks:

  •  Allow users to post pictures of clothing they are going to take in to consign
    • ‘Advertising’ will help the store and the consignor
  • Allow JK Around to post information about the season of clothing they are looking for as well as sales

I would reach the target market by posting about the app on Facebook, Instagram, and have a QR code in the store.

Keeping it #AerieReal

American Eagle has their own intimates line named Aerie. Similar to the Dove’s “Real beauty” ad, Aerie celebrates more relatable females in their advertising. Aerie is using their social media to target their demographic of 18 to 25 year olds. The company has stopped photoshopping pictures that they post. The article shows two Instagram post screencaps of happy looking female models who are not retouched with average bodies.

Social media is instant and fosters engagement with consumers. Posting “real” pictures shows their customers that anybody can look good in the Aerie products. Over the past two years, Aerie has made the news for their type of advertisements. They have created a hashtag #AerieReal that encourages girls to be happy with their bodies. Aerie claims that their inspiration came from consumers saying they wanted to see girls they could relate to. Their approach is much different than that of their rival, Victoria’s Secret PINK. That brand uses their slender models with retouching. There is nothing wrong with being skinny, but PINK uses only skinny models.

The article cites that there are statistics showing that more females use social media than males. This could explain why “there’s such a hunger now for authenticity and for representing the female experience in a more genuine way.”

 

Works Cited

Maheshwari, S. (2016, March 08). Aerie’s Body Positive Message Sent Sales Skyrocketing. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from http://www.buzzfeed.com/sapna/aerie-shows-it-pays-to-tell-young-women-to-love-their-bodies#.ofwLj3NLd

Not linked with customers

My client does not currently have a Linkedin page. For being a small clothing store, I do not think this would be a beneficial site to attract customers. I see many retail stores post about their strategies and job openings along with posts that don’t always seem to try to attract customers. The owner could use it to her advantage to gain insight about running a store, social media tips, and other advice Linkedin Pulse offers.

In the “About Me” section I would recommend emphasizing Just Kidding Around is a local small business. Some professionals are eager to help others grow their business and network. I would post that the store is new to using social media and open to suggestions. Someone into freelancing might be interested in taking over the social media to add to their experience (much like this assignment, but on a bigger scale).

As for posts, Just Kidding Around could share their story from over the years of staying in business. There must be many things working because the business does not use social media, but is still flourishing.

Clothing Crisis

inventory

Consignment stores do not have a steady flow of inventory. They do not have a manufacturer or wholesaler on speed dial to ship the latest fashion trends. I think a possible crisis would be having low inventory for the current season. You must always keep customers coming back to shop, and bring in their excess clothing to consign.

To avoid having low inventory, consignment needs to be encouraged at each check out. There could be various sales pitches such as “You can earn your money back by cleaning out your closet and bring us ____ season clothes” or “I love your choices today, I bet you have a great wardrobe at home. Stop by if you clean out any clothes for the ____ season.” These general sayings could be customized by the associate working at that time.

This specific store accepts clothing Thursday-Saturday all day long. This differentiates them, for some consignment stores only take clothes if you schedule an appointment. Saying no appointment necessary will allow the consignees to come in at their leisure.

Small Business vs the Super Bowl

Small BusinessVSThe Super bowl

The Super Bowl is so popular with advertising, some people only watch for the advertisements (myself included #mktgsuperbowl). Some small businesses do not have even a fraction of what an ad would cost. Social media can help them grab attention without spending anything.

A clothing store could take pictures of merchandise in their store that match the teams’ colors. Using colors and not licensed items will keep costs low because it will be merchandise already in store. On the day of the game, my store could post using hashtags for the teams playing, asking shoppers to share their look. I enjoy when a business uses humor, so they could say something like “We couldn’t afford a Super Bowl ad, but here is our Youtube video.”

One huge event for a clothing store would be the back to school season. For a consignment store, I think the end of a school year is a second important event.

 

Consignment Campaign

Just Kidding Around

 

For my project, I am leaning towards a local consignment store called “Just Kidding Around.” This business has been open for years in Westover, WV. It has survived over the years despite barely having an online presence. The store carries consigned clothing from toddlers, teens, to adults. The store will also take books, purses, backpacks, and shoes. They have two tanning beds as well. Their Facebook page only has a few posts since 2014 as seen here https://www.facebook.com/Just-Kidding-Around-509138315870441/?fref=ts

Competitors are appearing all over Morgantown, with two consignment stores on the Mileground. A store called Plato’s Closet will soon be opening in an area near to Just Kidding Around. Plato’s closet already has post saying when they will be accepting clothes and that they are looking to hire. The competitors are better using social media to engage with customers. They pay for ads on Facebook and some have their own websites with email lists. They appear to be more successful in attracting new business.

The variety of clothing differentiates Just Kidding Around. I will want to highlight that this is a store that you can find clothing for the whole family. The store accepts clothing for consignment multiple days. I will mention that every brand sold is very affordable. A pair of designer jeans will be closely priced to a pair of regular jeans.

I would want to post pictures of possible outfits from clothing currently on hand. I could also use a combination and show mom/dad/kids outfits. Having an email list will alert customers of sales along with being able to share what season of clothing will be taken for consignment.