reasons to Call in Help
Written by B. R. Govan
Published March 2003, Chamber Chatter
Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester Newsletter
For any business, the temporary
introduction of external resources is justified in several situations.
Here, we will consider five of them.
1. Internal talent does not
exist or is insufficient to support a peak load or short-term need.
In situations where internal
talent is missing, perhaps due to a loss of staff, a new position requirement,
or family leave, interim placement of external talent can fill a temporary
gap in staffing. Interim placement talent spans the full range of skills
and experience from the mailroom to the CEO's office.
Seasonal businesses are well
aware of the advantages in bringing in additional talent during peak
periods, while maintaining a lean organization during business lulls.
The same concept applies for any business facing a period of peak load
or simply any short-term need for additional talent.
These situations create opportunities
to fill a gap or resolve a crunch period without incurring additional
long-term labor cost.
2. The task is a one-time
effort that would take critical internal resources away from needed operational
One-time efforts are projects,
which are defined as temporary endeavors to create a unique product
or service. One-time efforts have no lingering value. That may be a
move to a new location, or the creation and introduction of new processes
or systems to a business. The key here is that ongoing business operations
must not be adversely impacted by the effort. As there is no added value
for internal staff in performing the tasks, and in doing so could impact
operations, having outside talent accomplish them can make good business
3. The introduction of
new ideas or technology requires a "jump start".
Introducing anything new
to a business requires talent that is most likely not internally available
at the time it is brought in. That is where external talent that has
knowledge and experience in introducing new items can provide a business
with a "jump start". Doing so will save both time and money
while providing the knowledge transfer needed for a business to quickly
move forward successfully.
4. Something is "broken"
and needs immediate attention.
A business knows, or at least
senses, that something is wrong. It may have tried to resolve the issue(s)
without success, or it may recognize that the use of external talent
may be the best way to handle a situation while minimizing political
fallout. Here, external talent can provide an objective voice to a problem,
identify the issue(s), recommend a course of corrective action, and
help implement the actions if needed.
5. An objective assessment
is needed or desired to provide a "reality check".
Ok, your business is running
well, and you are holding to the theory that, "If it ain't broke,
don't fix it". There are still times where an extra pair of eyes
can provide a reality check of current operations or future plans. Many
businesses can be successfully operating while changes in the economy,
their market, or their competition begin to erode that success. External
talent can objectively assess and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
and threats in a business. They can also provide an objective sounding
board for ideas and issues.
Any business function that
is not a core competency may be more effectively provided externally through
outsourcing. It is yet another way a business can leverage external talent
to its advantage, but that is another story.