Outsourcing tips for startup founders


There are many reasons why early-stage startups avoid outsourcing or hiring remote contract teams. Building innovative products is hard enough to outsource in the unknown.

In our decades of experience building software products with remote teams, here are a few key reasons why outsourcing doesn’t work well for startups -

  • Building a product and delivering a project are completely different things. Most traditional outsourcing companies are optimized around delivering projects and not building products.
  • We think it is hard to innovate when billing by the hour. Not owning what you build as an individual leads to a development cycle that, in our opinion, is detrimental to making quality products.
  • Startups, we feel, are more about iterating towards a great product. That also means the requirements are not known or uncertain. On the contrary, the traditional outsourcing processes are all about precise specifications. The two don’t work well together.
  • Working with distant teams requires robust yet agile processes, and as a founder, you may not have that kind of experience. Coordinating remote teams without the proper techniques could be highly chaotic and cost much time.

Hiring remote or outsourcing has other benefits, though. It provides easy access to a range of skill sets and experiences. It can also be highly cost effective and give you a head start with your development.

So how can you make this work for you? At SleekSky, we are all about building great products and teams. We have learned over the years the following critical points that founders should consider when going this route.

  • Work with companies that understand startups and have expertise in the kind of product you are building.
  • Understand the entire spectrum of SaaS skillsets you will need. Work with companies experienced in stitching the development process together across these skill sets.
  • One way to break down your product development is execution, innovation, and experience. The type of contract and skillsets you hire must vary depending on these facets.
  • You may want to bring the team in-house when you make it big. How do you spin out or exit from such outsourcing engagement, then? Design that along with your vendor from the get-go.