The Truth About “Low-Cost” Outsourcing

Champion Assistants Virtual Assistant TeamYou’ve probably seen the ads yourself, “Quality Virtual Assistants, $3 per Hour.” Wouldn’t it be great if those ads were true? The truth, however, is that in outsourcing as in most other things, you get what you pay for.

Let’s look at the kinds of tasks being outsourced by small business owners and Internet entrepreneurs. They’re finding new freedom to build their businesses by using Virtual Assistants for a variety of needs. They’re trusting “VAs” to do things like responding to client email, keeping their schedules straight, making appointments and travel arrangements, and updating their websites.

A well-trained Virtual Assistant is someone who’s committed to helping a client grow a business by minimizing the owner’s involvement in day-to-day tasks. Not only do these virtual wonders handle tasks with little supervision, they’re also motivated to suggest improvements that save you time and money. They can help you find additional markets for your products, ways to streamline product delivery and better solutions for business automation.

Is it reasonable to expect the same from someone making less than minimum wage? Here’s the reality, based on feedback from frustrated business owners who tried “cheap” first: the time they spent redoing poorly done work and constantly supervising virtual support outweighed their original savings.

Great VAs will look for ways to increase your business while saving you money. But they don’t work for three dollars per hour! They’re highly-trained professionals running their own businesses, and they charge rates appropriate to their expertise.

As you’re looking for someone to help run your business, consider the benefits of outsourcing to a well-trained Virtual Assistant. Why waste valuable time wondering if the work’s being done correctly? Make the investment in a quality VA and spend your time growing your business, instead.

You can learn more about using a VA by listening to a teleseminar Heather Nelson did about outsourcing: Champion Assistants Virtual Assistants teleseminar

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Operating Strategies for Surviving the Economic Slump

connectingLarge businesses are scaling back and the bubble looks to have burst, but don’t count yourself out just yet. There are ways to succeed where others have failed. In fact, smaller companies have a better chance of surviving an economic slump than larger corporations because change is that much easier to implement. Corporations have layers of processes that slow down their reaction times. Smaller companies have fewer layers and so are able to react much faster and with much more accuracy. Over the next few days we will share 5 elements that you can implement in your business to not only stay in business, but to flourish!

One of the easiest ways to react is to operate lean. That’s all well and good, but what does it mean? Operating lean is a way of managing your operations, budgets, and processes so they are as effective as possible at as little expense as possible. This means in essence cutting the fat. If you’re paying for a service you don’t use, stop! If you’re a member of an organization that you never meet and get nothing from, drop them. If you don’t have enough work for a full-time employee, think about hiring a part-time contractor. Cut out both the employee expenses and the wasted time you spend every day finding work for that person to do.

Streamlining your business is the simplest way to increase productivity and profits. You know what you do best and where you need to focus. If you consider all the extra tasks you are doing in addition, it becomes obvious that a little help could in fact help to increase the bottom line instead of pulling it out from beneath you. Consider out-sourcing the tasks that are wasting your valuable time and energy. Professional VA’s work towards achieving your business goals and require little more than instructions on the task to be completed and a deadline for completion. There’s no need to supervise, to walk through each task step by step, or deal with breaks and habits that grind at your nerves.

We’ll see you tomorrow when we delve into the media advantage…
Kristi

How To Delegate With Authority

Have you ever heard the old expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well that expression is absolutely true. It’s also true that it wasn’t built by one person either. A team can accomplish much more than any single person ever could. It may be in some of our natures not to want to delegate. The urge to handle everything ourselves may be caused by a desire to control or it may be a trust issue. Letting someone help you can be tough, it can be even tougher when it’s your own company that’s being worked on.

Most people have the goal of expanding their companies into something bigger and more successful. The thing that they need to keep in mind is that no really big company is 100% run by one person. Companies like these are powered by teams of people, not individuals. Having a team in your company can help you too. The bigger a company becomes, the more delegating becomes important. Here are some tips that any team leader should follow.

Make sure your team is composed of specialists. Each member should excel at something. The idea is to make your team good at everything they need to be good at. Think of a sports team. In any sports team, each position is filled with someone who excels at that position, not someone who only understands the basics of the game.

Communication is key! If you have a great team, but there is no communication, all of their skills are wasted. Everyone will be working, but there won’t be any unity. This defeats the entire concept of teamwork. Any team that lacks communication is just a group of individuals and will not work as a team.

A great team requires great leadership. Any team needs a leader who can motivate the group, foresee problems and take corrective actions when needed. A leader can’t just sit back and expect the team to be self regulating.

Best,

Kristi

VA’s and the Outsourcing Trend

Many small business owners come to a point where they spend more time on the logistics of doing business than actually doing business. This is a frustrating point and for a long time there were only two options to overcome it. 1.- Ignore it, which basically means ignoring some crucial part of running your. or 2.- Hire someone to do the things you don’t like or want to do. Though the latter is far safer and more effective than the first option, there are still issues with it. When you hire someone, you need to work out details like work site, wages, training, scheduling, and more. Not to mention the expense of having to pay someone whether you have work for them or not.

A Third option has been gaining in popularity in recent years: Outsourcing. The official definition of which is: subcontracting a process to a third-party company. Outsourcing or sub-contracting started becoming popular in the 1980’s as a way to reduce overhead and better utilize emerging technology. This is still true to this day. In fact, more and more business owners are finding that outsourcing is letting them do what they love without worrying about the rest!

Business professionals, in a recent Harris Poll survey, stated resoundingly that they would happily outsource a wide variety of tasks. Also noted in this survey was the growing trend toward Virtual Assistants who take on a lot of the outsourced work. Over 55% of those surveyed felt that virtual assistants have helped them focus on the more important and enjoyable parts of their business and helped them improve job performance.

Outsourcing, just like any other aspect of your business, requires planning and preparation. Both parties will need to know what tasks or projects you want done and the parameters within which to do them. Some of the most popular tasks being outsourced are website updates, blog management, article posting, sales writing, database management, research, and bookkeeping.

If you are considering outsourcing, it is advisable to take some time to work out just what tasks or projects you wish to have completed and then look for a business that can do the work you need done. As with every other aspect of business, it is important to do your research and pick a person or company that has experience with the type of work you want done. Not all VA’s do the same things just as not all teachers teach the same subjects.  The best thing to do is carefully consider what you need, source companies and individuals who provide this, and carefully evaluate their skills and alignment with your business model.

I’d love to hear your feedback about what you have successfully (or not so successfully) outsourced!  What kind of business did you outsource to and what were the results?  Is outsourcing working for you?

Best,

Kristi