Written by Debarshi Chaudury, the CEO and Founder of Quantilus Innovation Inc., as part of the Forbes Technology Council. Click here to see the original post.
Mitigating risk and achieving profitability are just a few issues businesses must navigate. For small and medium-sized companies, balancing growth while managing financial liabilities can feel like walking a tightrope. Often growth means expanding headcount and all the responsibilities (or headaches) that come with it.
An alternative and cost-effective way to grow and fill functional needs is to build and manage an offshore team, which means relocating a particular business function to another country. In addition to the obvious cost advantage, moving processes offshore also allows companies to scale their teams more easily — it is especially much easier to find skilled talent offshore than in the U.S. for technical positions.
However, companies often have to overcome significant hurdles to set up offshore teams. These include but are not limited to:
• Maintaining staffing and quality levels through turnover — reducing project delays and quality issues.
• An expensive and time-consuming ramp-up period to set up an offshore office location.
• Navigating business regulations, taxes, licenses and other setup formalities in a new country.
• Dealing with currency fluctuations and exchange rates through the budgeting and setup process.
There are a few other factors to keep in mind when finding the right offshore management resource.
Utilizing a vendor to help navigate target locations for an offshore team is beneficial in avoiding some of the lengthy logistics or processes that can occur.
For example, a vendor can help manage a time-consuming ramp-up period to set up an offshore center and handle another location’s regulations and process. And when looking for a location, a vendor can provide potential rental options for office spaces and infrastructure (hardware, servers, etc.). Some vendors likely already have the space and infrastructure in place, which will significantly shorten the time frame and allow you to focus on recruiting talent immediately.
A recruiting resource can handle potential candidates’ interview process and manage the onboarding process. All the while, you as the business owner can maintain control of the hiring decisions if you so choose. This recruiting benefit can also provide flexibility for a business owner as candidates and hires are evaluated over time. So, in a situation where an offshore hire needs replacing, the business owner can adjust the skill-set focus for the replacement without covering retraining or retrenchment costs.
Finding an experienced recruiting team can also help ensure quality staffing services throughout a project’s run, avoiding delays that may occur from high turnover.
As mentioned, a recruiting resource can help handle logistics for business owners not accustomed to managing and building a team offshore. The right partner for creating and managing an offshore team also can handle payroll, potential benefit structures or HR policies. Even dealing with tax filings, finding an office to rent and paying for rent can be taken care of by an offshore management partner.
Business owners would also not feel like they needed to rush through understanding and adapt to another country’s regulations or exchange rates.
Managing an offshore team as a clear extension or part of a company can help build a culture and bring success to ongoing tasks or projects.
There may be language or regional cultural differences in some capacity along the way. But prioritizing relationship building and creating an atmosphere where an offshore team feels like they fit in with the company culture will go a long way.
One common challenge in managing an offshore team is building a communication infrastructure with an entire team that is off-site. Open communication is vital (like with any in-house team) to achieve business goals.
Focus on implementing more calls or weekly check-ins over video chat to build a partnership, brainstorm further and avoid possible roadblocks that would’ve been preventable with a simple conversation. Enabling easy access for on-site teams and offshore teams to communicate without friction and not just over email is another way to build the efficiency business owners are looking for when investing in an offshore team.
Even with all the open communication and relationship building, the offshore team will be working on their own most of the time. Build a plan around what type of team and roles you want to see. Treat the hiring process like any other in terms of the research and due diligence needed to find the right candidates.
Some offshore resources can provide flexibility and evaluation periods to help ensure the right team is in place.
Also, keep in mind the importance of selecting an offshore team member as manager or leader to help navigate daily operations. After all, that’s one of the main reasons an offshore team can alleviate some of the tasks or stresses small business owners deal with from day to day.
The reality is the number of businesses implementing offshore teams will only increase in the future.
For small and medium-sized business owners, offshore teams provide a solution to help reduce costs, increase efficiency and produce results. By finding the right resource, designating roles and ensuring the offshore team is genuinely part of the company, any business owner will see the benefits.