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Desiree Ashton

doing the legwork, so you don't have to

Outsourcing

Out-source your admin, move your business forward….

This sounds simple, and for those who have a positive experience of out-sourcing, this flexible way of working can indeed reap benefits.  Recent years have seen a veritable explosion of professional services specifically designed to help small businesses develop and grow, and virtual admin support services are just one of them.   Delegating time-consuming tasks has helped business owners free up  time, allowing them to work on tasks which directly feed their bottom line.   They have been able to spend time on the business, rather than in it.

However, for small businesses who are new to the concept of virtual out-sourcing, the move away from the more traditional set-up can sound daunting.  How do you manage someone who is not on-site?  How do you monitor and control their work?

These concerns are understandable.  As with any business transaction, it’s worth giving the matter some thought.   Based on my own experience of out-sourcing that works, here are some key points for consideration:

  1. Start small – what small, basic tasks collectively take up a lot of your time?  These could range from document formatting to proof-reading, maintaining /updating spreadsheets or carrying out research and preparing background papers.  How many of these could be carried out by someone else?  Can you delegate these in part, allowing you to monitor quality and progress, while you build confidence in the service being supplied to you?
  2. Identify niche tasks – these will be tasks which require a degree of specialist knowledge, such as book-keeping, marketing, lead generation,  social media management, website content.  Others will ideally require previous experience, such as medical or legal secretary, property management, financial services administration.   Certain virtual assistants have specific backgrounds which afford them a good level of insight into what you might require of them.  What, if any, specialist knowledge or experience do you require your out-sourced support to have?
  3. Establish confidentiality – be clear about how much information pertaining to your business might be shared with your out-sourced support and if this is business-sensitive, consider issuing a Non Disclosure or Confidentiality Agreement to cover this.  Most virtual assistants will be familiar with these and will be comfortable working within them.
  4. Location – remote support does not necessarily mean ‘miles away’, it can mean ’round the corner’.   In fact, working with virtual support that you can physically meet can allow you to get to know them better and, in the fullness of time, allow for information to be handed over in person or for you to work on a project in tandem.  Ask around within your extended network.  You might be surprised to find out that the out-sourced skills you need are already on your door-step.

Every business is different and only you will know what other questions you might have around out-sourcing.   As the practice of using virtual assistants gathers pace, there are a growing number of articles online about the ins and outs of out-sourcing.  This one, from Bizhelp24 is one which I find well-written:   http://www.bizhelp24.com/law/employment-law/using-a-virtual-assistant.html

The golden rule with out-sourcing is a simple one:  the clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get what you need.

Good luck!

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