service providers need clear communication to complete projects
Outsourcing Tips

If YOU Can’t Read Minds, Neither Can Your Service Provider

When you’re ready to hire service providers to your team, one crucial element to your success is clear communication. No matter what kind of projects they are completing, they will need complete information to finish it properly; otherwise you run the risk of having to add extra time to the project to fix mistakes.


Certainly, mistakes do happen because we’re all human. But sometimes we forget to give our service providers the necessary details because we’re too close to a project. We forget that everyone on the team does NOT know all those little details floating around in our heads. Likewise, confident team members may take it upon themselves to complete the project without asking the proper questions. This is especially true if the current project is similar to another project you did a few months back.


Who’s Responsible?

Both people in this situation are guilty of dropping the proverbial ball. As the business owner, you are responsible for giving the service provider complete project details. This includes the correct title of a project, links to supporting references, or even a simple deadline. Picture in your mind exactly how you want the project to look and describe that to your service provider.


On the other hand, the service provider should also take responsibility. They need to review all aspects of the project and create a list of questions prior to starting. A quick five-minute conversation or email could mean the difference between the project done correctly or incorrectly. Sometimes a service provider won’t know what questions to ask until they are put into this type of situation but it’s a learning lesson for all involved.


Ways to Provide Relevant Details to Your Service Provider

Create a checklist or customized table with the relevant information for your service provider. If this project is repeated on a regular basis, using a template and simply changing the information is a time saver.


For example, one of my podcast clients emails me the show order for editing her podcast segments. These segments include the music, her introduction, promotional ad, guest interview, and the closing promo for her website. Since she wants each episode to have a consistent pattern, it’s a handy reference. And when the promos change at some point, I’ll know which ones to use because of this checklist.


Editorial Calendars Provide Important Project Details

If you have a series of products that release on a regular basis, utilize a six-month editorial calendar with your team. Include the product titles, expected release dates, and any other information they need to complete their tasks. Releasing products is much like working in the magazine industry; you’re working months in advance and even though the release cycle is clear in YOUR head, is it clear in everyone else’s head? A simple calendar can alleviate some confusion.


If you’re more of a speaker than writer, schedule a team status call on a regular basis to discuss all your current projects. Your service providers can ask their questions and you can get all those details out of your head. Consider filming a quick video for the team if you’re really crunched for time and share the link with them; however, do expect to get questions in response.


Lastly, whatever process of communicating these details works best for you, create a template and document the process. Replicating those steps from documentation will be a time saver if you have a series of projects throughout the year.


Use this Project Assignment Form to Start Communicating More Clearly with Your Team

Don’t get overwhelmed at the idea of outsourcing to your team (even if your team consists of a single virtual assistant). Download this free Project Assignment Form, fill it out, and send it along its way to your team. Once your communication improves, you’ll see those finished projects will meet or surpass your expectations. (No opt-in required!)


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