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Despite the increase in nationwide unemployment, a recent survey of vendors and solution providers conducted by Channel Insider and Amazon Consulting found a shortage of professional services and technical staff as inhibitors to business performance. More than half of the solution providers said that if their talent shortage were resolved, they could grow their business significantly.

While subcontracting is a tried and true business practice among many other professionals—from construction to legal services—IT solution providers say outsourcing product and service delivery and other operational functions (marketing, PR, accounting) was not an option to resolving their talent issues.

It is estimated that by 2010 there will be 300,000 home-based outsourcing agents in the United States. These agents cover everything from technical support to marketing and PR agents. With the general acceptance of broadband and VOIP there is no geographic boundary for accessing talent.

The benefits of outsourcing are many. You never have to worry about a lunch break or a sick day with your contract employees. You do not have to carry benefits and you can staff up or down depending on the needs of your business. Outsourcing allows you to increase your company’s services portfolio without increasing your employee costs. As an added benefit, professional services are tax deductible to the small business.

Still not sure where to start? Consider these ideas.

Outsource your professional solutions staff
Talk with your vendors. Often market development funds (MDFs) or co-op funds can be used to pay for a portion or all of a specialized employee. Vendors will invest more training and can assist with the hiring of a co-op employee.

Outsource your technical staff
Consider OnForce (, which connects more than 14,000 specialized technical employees where you need then, when you need them. They can wear your company’s logo and will follow your direction as it relates to your customers. OnForce has a technical bench technician in every state and can even quote you a response time.

Outsource your training
Still trying to train your employees in-house? CompTia, MSP Partners and MSP Alliance offer specific training for your professional services sales members. Again, using MDF or co-op funds can be an excellent source for funding employee training and offsetting business expenses.

Outsource marketing
When you are ready to advertise or increase your market presence, it is time to think of outsourcing your marketing. MDF is readily available to assist you with promoting specific vendor products and solutions. Talking with your vendor sales representative or distributor can get you started on uncovering the wealth of resources available to grow your business.

Outsource operations
As you consider the other functions you can outsource, consider your accountant, lawyer and hiring firms. Remember that for each hour of contract labor you engage, you have an hour to focus on growing your business and increasing your sales.

Outsourcing allows your business to do more with less without burning out your current employees. It is also a cost effective and scalable way to grow your services business. Decreased employee costs, increased technical and professional service agents, increased marketing and operations support provide your business increased revenue and profits.


Kathleen A. Martin is CEO of RocketComm, a professional and marketing services firm for solution providers and a regular contributor to Channel Insider.