Tag Archives: education

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!

Communication and coordination at the Outdoor Education Group

For our latest Hume business case study, we spoke with Greg Caleo from OEG – the Outdoor Education Group, about how the Eildon-based company is communicating with customers and staff across the country.

Business overview

The Outdoor Education Group is one of the largest providers of journey-based outdoor education in Australia. Over the last 27 years we have delivered over 2 million student days in the outdoors. We have around 140 permanent staff in Victoria and NSW, and run school programs across Australia. These run from one-day to four-week expeditions, including dedicated Duke of Edinburgh Adventurous Journey programs. The majority of these programs are journey based and operate in public land, such as National Parks and State Forests. They typically involve activities such as bushwalking, canoeing, cycling, sea kayaking and rock climbing.

Tell us about the web technologies you are using in the business

We have a public-facing website, providing information on our programs, outdoor education resources and contact details. The site also has a clients-only area where students, staff and parents can access information about their own programs.

Behind the scenes, we run various pieces of technology to communicate between offices and staff. Landline phones using a VOIP system, a large intranet, and VPN access to the network are some of the ways we communicate internally.

What benefits have you gained from using these tools?

As OEG is managed from many different locations, communication and coordination is key for us. Having resources able to be accessed from different parts of the country is very important for us to be able to deliver outldoor education. In particular, having our scheduling and prediction systems widely available has allowed people to be more aware of the “big picture”.

How do you plan to use high speed broadband in your business when the NBN arrives?

Just having actual high speed broadband with our current systems will be a big improvement, both at the server and client ends. It will mean that users can access bigger “chunks” of data at a time. We would also be hoping to improve our videoconferencing abilities, as well as being able to have more media content available online, like videos and podcasts.

What advice do you have for other businesses who want to maximise their use of web technologies?

Running businesses from rural areas can be made easier by having good systems. These need not be enormous applications; sometimes just being able to share and view calendars is a big step up! It is important to pick the technologies and applications that suit what you are trying to achieve, then put time into them so that they work in the best way for your business. Regardless of the different needs we have, a reliable high-speed network will improve all types of use!

What’s your business up to online? If you run or work in a business in the Hume region and would like to share your story, contact us here.