Outsourcing has received a bad rap in some circles because of its association with job losses that occur when corporations “export” jobs to countries with much lower labor costs than the U.S.

But those of us who run small and home businesses have a different perspective on outsourcing.

For us, outsourcing is the “secret sauce” that lets us pull together the resources to handle temporary work overloads, reduce fixed costs, speed products to market, simplify distribution, provide more or better service to our customers, and compete with our deeper-pocketed competitors.

Much of the business that small businesses outsource goes to other small and home businesses within our own country. Often those freelancers or subcontractors are business owners we’ve met at local business meetings or events. Sometimes they’re people we’ve “met” by participating in a mailing list or forum, or via specific Web sites, like Elance.

But the key to successful outsourcing has little to do with where you meet the subcontractors and freelancers you work with. Like anything else, it takes planning. Here are 18 ways to get the best results when you outsource work… more at 18 Tips For Small Businesses That Outsource – SmallBizResource, published 19 March 2009.

Flickr photo credit: markhillary