Once upon time, multinational corporations are the only businesses that can expand offshore. Today, small businesses can expand globally without the need for a corporation-sized budget.

Here are four steps that you can follow to maximise your outsourcing options and expand offshore:

Pick an offshore outsourcing partner.
Select an outsourcing partner to help you settle in a new market.

Your offshore outsourcing partner should be able to measure success and provide a solution that meets your needs instead of just a cookie cutter approach. Plenty have been said about the need for innovation. But unless you have the right environment to foster transformational change, it will not happen.

Look at the bigger picture.
Consider the location of your offshore outsourcing partner in both the local and regional level.

Make sure that the location of your offshore outsourcing partner has a readily available workforce. This will enable you to easily attract new hires, who will find it convenient that they don’t have to endure hours of traffic to go to work.

Pick an emerging market where you can find opportunities once you have gained experience in doing business in the country. Take a hint from multinational corporations. They use a global service delivery model to streamline their business.

Start small.
Small businesses that are new to outsourcing can start with a simple arrangement to gain experience.

Outsource your non-core business processes through offshore staff leasing. This provides a good introduction to an outsourcing relationship, managing an offshore operation, and handling offshore staff. This will help you to familiarise yourself with local culture.

Set up a managed operation.
A managed operation is a middle ground between outsourcing and having your own company.

Your managed operations service provider will provide support (such as recruitment, finance, expat support, and facilities management) and infrastructure (such as office space, software, computers, and telecom). You and the service provider will work together to manage the operation.

You can customise your operations and implement the level of control that you prefer. If you have a big team, you can hire your own team of expats to oversee the operation. If you have a small team, the service provider can manage the day-to-day operations.

Offshore outsourcing doesn’t need to be just moving jobs overseas. With the right mindset, small businesses can accomplish more and level the playing field.