Do you want your assistance to be virtual?
I’ve just read a great article about the best work to give to a virtual assistant. I found it really useful in helping me focus my ideas down from “Yes, we really do all that” to “Let’s think about what is the easiest stuff to outsource which has the greatest benefit to your business”.
Because that’s what we’re really talking about isn’t it? If you have to outsource because you have too much to do, you need to know it is stuff that can be done easily, with little input from you (otherwise you might as well stick to doing it yourself), but still has a benefit to the organisation.
Here’s a précis of the list:
– Online research
– Database input/updates
– Create presentations
– Managing (gate keeping) email
– Social tasks – thank you’s, making appointments, dry cleaning, running your kids around
– Travel organisation
– Chasing up business/follow ups to sales pitches
– Industry knowledge
What is common with all of these items is that they are easy to understand. “Book me a train ticket to Manchester for this day, please!” doesn’t require a lengthy explanation of what a train is and how to book a ticket. Other items may need a little more explanation but not much.
This is a great list, because it helps us to understand what part outsourcing can play in our business lives. But there’s another question I have: why are people turning to VA’s in the first place?
Virtual Assistants are becoming an ever popular choice for many businesses, so clearly it is a formula that works. It would be interesting to talk to some people who use a VA to understand about their decision to go down this route and how they went about choosing a supplier. Was it based on skills, experience and fit or was it a financially based decision – who was the cheapest?
What I do know is that a quick Google search shows that there are very few VA’s that are based locally. Is this an issue if you are never going to meet the person who is supporting you? I think where I draw the line is the plethora of overseas or international offerings. We have spent years railing against the use of Asian call centres – language being a key part of our dissatisfaction. Why then would we choose to use a VA based in India or the Philippines? This is really confusing.
For me outsourcing of any service is vital to the well-being of my business. But when I chose to outsource I prefer for the business I outsource to, to be local. Local means so many things for me: investing in my local community, accessing the skills from within a network that I am part of, being close enough to build the personal relationship. Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned like that, with business still being about people. If it wasn’t why is co-working so popular?
If you are looking for some help with your business, and the list above is hitting the target, then please give Julie or Charlie a call on 01462 713444 to talk about doing all of these things (and anything else that is causing you a headache). We can support you in the way you want and if, like me, you prefer to see a person and build that relationship, we’re real people you can meet and talk to over a nice cup of tea.