Monthly Archives: July 2014

Five outsourcing platforms to improve your small business

Adapting to the digital economy can require specific skills and expertise. We understand that it can be a stressful and expensive process at times. It is also daunting for business owners who realise how many new skills are required to take advantage of digital opportunities.

Online freelancing tools have made it easier and more economical for businesses to access professionals with diverse skill sets from all over the world. You can contract these skills at prices that are much more affordable than you might think.

Common services (amongst many others) outsourced by businesses include graphic design, web design, programming skills,  app development, SEO(Search Engine Optimisation) and content writing.

Internet freelancing platforms open small businesses up to a much wider net of providers capable of providing great services at a lower cost.

Note: Please use discretion and caution when selecting your provider to ensure the best outcome. Always read reviews and view a portfolio where possible.

Below we’ve listed five outsourcing tools you may consider for your business.

1. Freelancer

OutsourcingFreelancer is an Australian-based (but internationally available) freelancing platform founded in 2009. You can create an account for free (or login with your Facebook account) and add details of the work you need completed. Skilled workers can then find your job based on its criteria.

You may also want to set-up email notifications to let you know when people with certain skills become available. Freelancer is certainly one of the largest freelance market places with roughly 11.5 million users.

2. Elance

Elance

Elance.com

One of the first online freelancing platforms, Elance was founded in 1999 in the USA. Like Freelancer, businesses can create an account for free (or login with Facebook or LinkedIn) and post jobs to attract freelancers.

Elance offer extras such as referral programs and payroll services. As a result, Elance can be more suited to larger-scale businesses.

3. Fiverr

Outsourcing

Fiverr.com

Fiverr is a great tool for those odd jobs, one-offs and bits and pieces you need to get done, and often quickly. That’s not to say it has to be poor quality!

The idea is that anyone can sell their services starting at $5 for just about anything. You can complete voice-overs, logos, banners, translations, or t-shirt prints (amongst many, many other things) for surprisingly low costs. Fiverr is self-moderating, so be sure to look at reviews of the provider and pay attention to details such as the turnaround time, Many providers will offer optional extras such as extra-fast turnaround or additional designs.

You can also view the average turnaround time, orders in queue and average rating of each user.

4. 99designs

outsourcing

99designs.com

99designs started in Melbourne in 2008 with the objective of changing the way businesses solved their design needs. The idea is based around a ‘design contest’.

As a business, you provide 99designs with a design brief. You will then choose a package. According to the package, 99designs offer a ‘prize’ to designers who will then compete to win the ‘competition’ (i.e. make you a happy customer).

This gives you the benefit of having dozens of design options pitched to you from multiple designers! Not a bad idea. If you find a designer you love working with through this process, 99designs will facilitate that relationship into the future.

Packages start from $299.

5. oDesk

outsourcing

Odesk.com

oDesk, has recently merged with eLance.com. It is a freelancing tool that caters to your digital needs. Like other online freelancing tools, it allows you to post your job for free, review candidates and track and pay for your freelancer all through the oDesk platform.

You may wish to employ an individual for a one-off project, or a team of developers for a long-term team project. It’s up to you!

Have your say in Victoria’s digital economy strategy

The Victorian Government is seeking your input into the development of a strategy to support Victoria’s digital economy. Many of the ideas in our Hume Region Digital Strategy are applicable statewide and we expect many will be represented in the Victorian strategy.

This initiative has been described and explained on www.digital-economy.vic.gov.au as follows:

“The Victorian Government is establishing a conversation with Victorian’s to inform and engage the government’s Digital Economy Strategy. This engagement program will inform the strategy and influence the strategy actions to build the digital capability of Victorian businesses.

The Digital Economy Strategy aims to position Victoria as a strong and innovative digital economy that can capture the substantial benefits and opportunities generated by digital technologies.”

We have discussed and written about many aspects of the digital economy on this blog and we encourage those of you who have contributed to and followed the digitalhume.com.au blog to submit ideas. This will ensure the views of businesses and the community in the Hume Region is well-represented.

You can submit your ideas and exchange views with others through the online portal. You will need to sign up to join the conversation, a process that takes about 60 seconds.

The strategy will be broken into seven key themes. You can have your say on each theme. The themes are outlined below:

Digital Inclusion

“Digital inclusion refers to the extent to which all people and groups are able to use and benefit from ICT. It includes not only access to the internet, but also the availability of hardware and software, content and services, and training in digital literacy skills.”

This is a great chance for you to provide feedback on what you feel are barriers to entry for digital, whether it be in a personal or business capacity. As more services and social interactions move online, it’s important that everyone is kept involved and engaged to prevent large knowledge gaps.

Have your say on digital inclusion

Productive and Competitive SMEs

Research has shown that digital engagement is a key factor to success for SMEs and large business alike. Businesses who lack access to digital resources may find themselves falling behind in a digital economy.

Have your input about how digital has been affecting your business, what information and resources you need to keep up or voice your concerns.

Have your say on Productive and Competitive SMEs

Digital Infrastructure

“The Victorian Government is continuing to consider ways to support Victorians to access the telecommunications infrastructure and services they need. We want your views on issues that are affecting you and on some of the suggestions we’ve received about how to improve access to digital communications.”

Have your say on Digital Inclusion

Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Digital technologies provide a huge opportunity for Victorian businesses to change their business models, access wider customer markets and improve their offerings. What do you need as a business to improve through digital innovation? How can the Victorian Government encourage digital innovation and entrepreneurship?

Have your say on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A Skilled Workforce

The digital economy means that businesses must acquire new skills and expertise. Whether you are building skills internally, hiring new staff or outsourcing tasks, it is important that businesses have access to the knowledge they need. Have you had trouble finding the right expertise, need advice on where to look or what you need?

Have your say on a Skilled Workforce

Telecommuting

Digital technologies provide a great opportunity for businesses to reap the benefits of telecommuting or ‘teleworking’. Telecommuting is the ability of employees to work and communicate remotely from their work location, for example at home or on the move.

Many businesses are already utilising this opportunity to ensure they have a more flexible workforce and better retention of skills. For individuals living in a region like Hume telecommuting also provides great opportunities to work remotely for larger businesses based in the major cities.. Tell Business Victoria how you’re making the most of teleworking or what’s stopping you from getting started.

Have your say on Telecommuting

Leadership in Government

“Achieving these goals is a challenging task. In the coming decades, Victoria’s rapidly growing and ageing population means that our public sector will have to deliver more services to more people from a relatively smaller revenue base. We will have to be much smarter and more innovative about how we design and deliver these services. The substantial cost reductions and flexibility offered by cloud computing may provide the key to developing new, cost-effective delivery models that enable us to keep up with demand while matching customer expectations and safeguarding privacy.”

Provide feedback on how government can provide services to best meet your needs. Do you want to be involvement in improvements and initiatives? Tell them about your experiences.

Have your say on Leadership in Government

You can also follow and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #DigitalEconomyVic