Written by: Rolande S. Sumner, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
At some point in your business, you will need the expertise of a professional to solve a specific problem. For example, you may need help with marketing development, sales representation, image consulting, website development, etc. Outsourcing help can save time and allow you to focus on revenue-generating activities, and it also increases the probability that the problem is solved the first time correctly.
In this article, I will share five questions you should ask when seeking a vendor.
What is the desired outcome?
You never want to go into a discovery call with a vendor and not know what you want when all is said and done. During a discovery call, the vendor must understand your pain points and what you want to achieve. Knowing what you wish allows them to assess if their service is right for you and what solutions would best serve you.
What solution options are available?
Before looking for a vendor to help, assess if other means of solving the problem are better. Do you have the staff, the tools, and the time to solve the problem on your own or via another means? Assess the potential return of investment you may receive in terms of time, money, and peace of mind for each option, including outsourcing.
How much are you willing to invest to solve your problem?
You must be reasonable with your budget. If you invest too little, the problem may persist after the service is over. If you invest too much, you may blow your budget entirely and make other options unattainable. Research to learn the average cost and add a little more. You want to be able to hire the best, which often costs more.
Do you have referrals?
Referrals from reputable sources are a great way to get top-notch services. Birds of a feather flock together; in other words, people in your network are often like you. Chances are, if they liked working with a vendor, you would also enjoy working with them.
What is the reputation of the company?
Research client complaints and reviews via the Better Business Bureau and social media posts. Better Business Bureau lists all customer complaints and responses. Businesses are rated based on their response and solution rate; if you find a company with a score of a C or lower, run. C’s generally means the company doesn't care enough to respond to customer complaints promptly, which means they do not value their customers. Regardless of where the review or complaint is listed, read complaints and positive thoughts for understanding. Not all complaints make sense or are valid, and not all positive reviews are legitimate. There are a lot of companies that essentially purchase or incentives reviews, which will screw the perception of the experience.
What does your intuition say?
God has given every creature on the planet intuition. Humans are the only ones that ignore it. Be different and listen to your instinct. If your gut says no, listen to it. There is a reason you feel off or unsettled when talking to a vendor. Chances are you will regret taking steps forward with them.
Rolande S. Sumner, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Rolande S. Sumner is a retired US Army veteran and the CEO & Founder of Life After Service Transitional Coaching LLC®. Rolande served her country in the United States Army National Guard from 1995 to 2015. During her career, she was an Administrative Clerk, Heavy Vehicle Operator, and Human Resources Manager. She served as both a traditional National Guard Soldier and as an Active Guard Reserve Soldier. During her military tenure, Rolande received multiple honours: Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Badge, and the Army Accommodation Medal.