Difference Between Managed Services and Freelancers

In a complex environment, such as what we have now where challenges like the unstable economy, rising cost of living, and competitive environment, companies seek to maintain stability or want to focus their resources on their core competencies. They are often faced with a predicament of choosing their outsourcing provider between having a managed services provider or freelance workers.

Unknown to many, there is a big gap between in these two outsourcing options. In this ever-competitive market, there are several important considerations in choosing a managed service provider over a freelance worker.
managed services

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Infrastructure

One of the differences between hiring a managed service agency and a freelancer is the former’s capability to support big and time-consuming projects with their infrastructure. Freelancers are often home-based, their access to high-end technologies is only limited to what is available in the consumer market.

Also, most of the novice freelancers are not yet capable of using a fast and reliable internet connection.  This compromises their communication with their clients and/or customers.

Managed services providers invest heavily in their infrastructure to meet even the most challenging tasks delegated to them. This includes advanced workstations, e-mail facilities, groupware applications, office applications, and even server maintenance facility.

They also have the capacity to purchase the fastest internet connection available in the market.  This, ensures seamless communication and collaboration between the managed service professionals and the client.

Industry-Specific Expertise and Commitment

Another factor that separates fully managed services agency from freelancers is the quality of their talent or expertise. Although freelancers have the capability to do the job, they often accept job orders from other clients which might influence the quality of their performance.

In a managed services context, an outsourced job is properly divided among staff. Depending on the nature of the outsourced job, each staff is only designated to do a specific part of the task, thus allowing them to fully concentrate on it. This results in a superior performance and output handed on time.

Managed service providers follow a strict set of procedures in hiring employees.   The screening process may take several steps to include assessments and test which increase the possibility of finding a matching candidate.  
Payment

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Payment Terms

One of the key distinctions of managed providers to freelance is that the bills are based on meeting key Service Level Agreements, ensuring the quality of services and/or products- which is beneficial to the client.

Managed service providers are known to directly tell their clients of the upfront and monthly fees, thus allowing to anticipate the exact figure that you have to deal with which makes it easier for clients to manage their finances.

In freelance services, the payment usually depends on an informal agreement between the freelancer and the client. They also charge much lower than managed services which makes them ideal for short term projects, or unexpected deliverables that need to be done as soon and as cost-effective as possible.

Full Support from The Agency

Managed service providers focus on the proactive provision of services rather than reactive. Their proactive approach in addressing minor and/or major glitches in your processes ensures that non-core operations are running smoothly 24/7. By doing so, managed services actually avoid disruptions to the business flow altogether.

Companies that provide outsourcing services also employ team leaders or supervisors to help oversee the work of your staff. This ensures that the outsourced project follows the quality guidelines stated in the contract.

Continuity of the Project

Project continuity is another factor to consider when outsourcing a project. A freelancer may have a less structured work schedule, causing project delays. However, their work structure may also allow the client to just pull out from the project and just pay the freelancers for the initial output they have already finished.

On the other hand, managed services providers invest in some technologies to ensure the security and continuity of the projects such as backup and disaster recovery program, and high-end data security software.

Accountability

A report from the Help Desk Institute revealed that 72% of companies who sourced fully managed service providers measure and are accountable for their performance. In contrast, only 50% of self-managed services solutions, including freelancing, measure and are held accountable for their performance- revealing that a managed service providers are far stricter in following Service Level Agreement compared to freelanced SLA.

You can generally count on managed service providers to be upfront and to inform you in a timely manner about changes to their platforms, services, or business structure that directly or indirectly affects your business.  
management

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Management

A lot of companies today are striving to cost-effectively achieve optimum quality in all aspect of their business. Getting ISO certification would be extremely hard if some of your biggest backend projects are not checked regularly, let alone guided.

In freelancing context, seldom do companies have the chance to closely monitor and track each project’s deliverables. This loss of control often results in late submissions of outputs, or worst, projects with poor quality.

In comparison, although your outsourced staff is working remotely, managed service agencies give you the opportunity to fully control the staff of your choosing.   This is done through use of technology such as remote desktop screen monitoring, among others.

Managed service providers strongly encourage their clients to have a normal management-staff relationship with the outsourced employee- all through the use of modern communication tools such as instant messaging and video call applications such as Skype. This ensures that each task delegated are in line with your company’s standard and each project milestones are all accomplished on time.

It takes a lot of resources to monitor freelancers in time of distraught and operational imbalances. Investing too much time, effort and money in searching a freelancer to improve your non-core operations are too impractical these days. Focusinc is an outsourcing company that specializes in fully managed services. We assure to provide you with the right people to deal with your day-to-day operations, right process to improve your overall efficiency and right tools to do the job right at the first time. Contact us today to learn more about managed services. Just go to our website at www.focusingroup.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more details.

How to be a Good Leader in the Workroom – 7 Tips From Focusinc

At Focusinc, we are always striving for perfection! We are on a mission to be the top outsourcing company in New York, and we know that to achieve this, we need to know how to lead, and how to work well in a team. Outsourcing companies in the USA will often consist of large in-house teams, as well as large offshore outsourcing teams. This means that working as a leader in a team can often be a necessity. Sadly, it can sometimes be seen as an unwelcome challenge rather than an opportunity. As a team leader, one can be faced with many responsibilities and varying points of view; handling too many ideas at once may be overwhelming. Here are some top Focusinc Group tips that will help you to become an efficient and proactive leader:                                                              How to Be a Role Model Leader 1. Be a role model for your teammates. You have to know what you are doing, in all areas, so as to facilitate the giving of respect. Be knowledgeable in your field, and keep your reputation clean. 2. Discuss your experience, but don’t be boastful. Make your teammates aware of your experience in the industry. This will help them understand your strategies in the workroom, and knowing how much you have achieved in your field will help them trust you as a leader. 3. Act like the professional that you are. You may be the leader, but do not forget to be cordial to your teammates. You are, in a way, the boss—act, look, and communicate accordingly. 4. Be clear and consistent with your rules and standards. This will help motivate the rest of your team in providing good results. Have a code of conduct within your team will ground everyone in clear rules and guidelines. Be consistent, and do not change strategy or direction in the middle of a project. 5. Listen to your team’s input. Your ideas may already be set, but it does not hurt to hear your teammates out. Listen to their feedback about the work you are doing. This will help create a good work environment that welcomes questions and opinions. You do not want your team to be confused—ask them face-to-face if they have any questions or suggestions. 6. Reward your team for good behavior. This will maintain a good morale in your workroom, and it will help boost your team’s overall motivation to get work done in an efficient manner. A company dinner can celebrate a major goal that you have completed, and small prizes like movie tickets or a gift certificate can be an incentive for teammates to work well together. 7. Be a likable person. Share an occasional personal story, and have a pleasant attitude towards your teammates. They are not just workers—they are also people. Be friendly, but maintain an air of authority. You are still a leader, and being too social in the workplace may seem like you are putting up a front. Avoid having romantic relations with anyone in your work area—this could lead to people losing respect for you, biased opinions, and in the worst case, being dismissed from your job. Being a leader is a challenge, and sometimes people simply cannot live up to it. But with hard work, respect, and your team’s cooperation, you can be highly successful and be the leader that your company needs.

Building A Business in 7 Steps – Impossible? Believe It!

So you want to build your own business. You have your initial ideas, and you know what you want to achieve—what’s next?

How To Build Your Own Business

Here is a seven-step guideline to keep you on track with your business plans, and to help you make a successful entrepreneur out of yourself.

Determine what you can offer, and the market demand for it. Instead of thinking about how to innovate certain products, think of what you actually WANT to create. Choose something you really are interested in investing in. If you love what you do, you will ALWAYS find ways to monetize it.

Think about your pricing. At the starting point of your business, it is totally fine to price items a bit lower—this will catch clients’ eyes. Do not compromise the quality of the products, though. Once you have a solid group of clients (and steady cash flow), slowly work your way up and price higher.

Try to determine how long it will take for you to get your first sale. Budget wisely. If you think your first sale will be six months from your first day, set a budget amount that will last for a year. Be prepared.

Know what makes your business different. Find out about possible competitors and learn what makes your items unique. Do not try bringing them down—instead, raise your products beyond the competition’s standard.

Learn how to market your product. Focus on what your target buyers want and need, instead of thinking of new ways to outdo competition. Create realistic expectations, and do not make the mistake of saying “yes” to all of your clients’ questions—you might end up setting yourself and your business up for a fall.

Make a business plan and do your best to stick to it. Being spontaneous is great, but having a plan makes you aware of goals you can and cannot achieve at the moment. Be organized and do not make any short cuts. Organizing your work process can help you accomplish tasks and keep track of sales.

Independent business and entrepreneurship may be risky, but with determination, creativity, and a well-thought-out plan, you can be your own boss, and reach success.

How to Attract and Keep Clients

Most little organizations are shaped by individuals who are great at what they do. Nonetheless, this is just 50% of the mathematical statement that prepares victory for a small business. Understanding how business works is the other half. Here are a few tips to help keep your business flourishing.

1. Understand what your business is about. What makes your business stand out? You have to be able to clearly answer the question usually asked by possible clients, “Why should I choose spending on your business when there are so many other options?” The more a business is about serving others and the less it is about you and your needs, the better it will work.

Understand Your Business

2. Know your targeted customers. Who are they? What motivates them? Where are they? Make sure that you direct your business’s message to a specific group of customers and not just the  general population. Really try to connect with people and zero in on what they need.

Target Customers

3. Attract new clients.  Once you understand who your customer is you will be able to identify where he is to be found. The more you can focus and direct your marketing efforts to the people most likely to actually pay for what you do, the better it will work. Some different media can be used:

Attract New Customers

– Direct Mail

– Newspaper and Magazine

– Yellow Pages

– Signs and Billboards

– Website

– Pay Per Click

– Blogs

– Social Networking Sites

4. Help your clients help you. Once you have a few customers that like what you have to offer, enlist them to help you. This is known as acquiring customers by referrals. Most satisfied customers will gladly tell others about you, but most of the time they will not think about it unless you give them a reason or incentive. If you find ways to reward or recognize your customers for sending you new customers, they will do so more frequently and with greater zeal.

Keep your customers—old and new—happy! Once you have them, do not forget about your customers. Everyone loves attention and wants to know that others care about having them. There are many ways to keep in touch with your customers.

Happy Customers

– Mail newsletters/brochures

– Send emails on updates 

Remember—a good businessperson gets clients, but a great businessperson knows how to keep clients satisfied and for good.

Debunking the 5 Myths of Growing Businesses

Myths aren’t just part of those old stories, its common even when it comes to business. In fact even the smartest business owners I know have fallen for one once in their careers. Maybe it’s high time you learn how to tell fact from fiction? Here are the most common myths you’ll encounter in the road to growing your business: business myth

Great products equals customers

Ever heard of the line “Build it and they will come”? This one’s definitely a myth. Every product, no matter how great, is nothing if no one knows it exists. Somehow, this is where every business starts, anonymity. Sure, your product might be the best thing since toilet paper but customers tend to be loyal to the classic brands and it’s very difficult to convince them otherwise. New products, if not marketed effectively can end up at the back end of the shelves before they even get a shot at making it big. Every great product or service will need sales and marketing support before it manages to gain clients.  

Under promise then over deliver

There’s misconception that setting low expectations for customers then surprising them with better results is effective. However, don’t you think this practice might also create a wrong perception for potential clients? Let’s make it simple. Promise only what you can deliver! It won’t hurt to tell them how AWESOME your business is.  

Profit is always the number 1 goal

Of course profit will always be on your list of goals but it shouldn’t be the only one. Building value, a brand and good reputation among your clients is just as important.  In the long run, you’ll see that this creates a better cash flow within your company.  

Beat competition by dropping prices

There is a high chance that sooner or later a competitor will come your way and offer lower prices for similar types of products or services. Should you rise to the challenge and also go cheap? No. MYTH!   Quality is still the best way to get ahead of the competition. Shift your customer’s attention from price to value. Remind them of the benefits they get when purchasing your products. Believe me when I say, the economic downturn hasn’t really made all customers into penny-pinching maniacs; it’s only emphasized the need for reasonably priced quality services.  

As a business owner; you should run your company from inside out.

Managers, supervisors, human resource staff are there for a reason! Yes, you should closely monitor things but keep in mind, business isn’t a one man show. Reaching success doesn’t mean having to do every single thing, it means having a good and responsible team behind you.
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