5 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 activities.

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 sense.

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.

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