Outsourcing has become a very popular trend, especially because of globalization and the increasing demand for quality services.
Are you already leveraging outsourcing to boost your business or are you on the fence, waiting for opportunities to scale your business? If you are not already outsourcing, your competitors likely are- giving them a financial and strategic advantage with potential customers.
Some business owners – especially startups – hire a virtual assistant because it helps them cut down on costs. Others turn to virtual assistant companies to improve the productivity of their business. There are many tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant, including data entry, administrative work, email management, customer service, bookkeeping, social media management, lead generation, content creation, marketing and more. Whatever your reason for hiring a virtual assistant is, outsourcing is definitely a win-win situation, as long as it’s done right.
To help you maximize your outsourcing solutions, here are some common outsourcing mistakes you have to watch out for. These problems may seem simple on the surface, but they can be very critical to your business growth, especially if they are not dealt with immediately.
1. Not being prepared. Don’t expect your virtual assistant to know what needs to be done on the onset. You have to make plans and prepare a list of your objectives and plan of action, and communicate it clearly with your outsourcing partner to avoid misunderstandings and disappointments. You should know what you want from your VA and how you want it
2. Not reviewing their work. This is important, especially when you a hire a freelancer. Working with virtual assistant companies means that their work undergoes quality control before submitting it to you. Freelancers usually work alone and you have to do the checking to make sure everything is done right. Give your feedback and encourage your virtual assistant to communicate with you when problems or questions arise.
3. Not allocating a training period. Yes, most virtual assistants are competent and skilled. However, they still need to learn everything about your business and the tasks assigned to them. Don’t expect your virtual assistant to know what should be done without briefing them. Formal training is necessary, not only to show your VA what needs to be done, but also to avoid errors and other costly mistakes in the future. Just remember: if you were to hire someone to physically work within your office you would need to train them and your virtual assistant working remotely is no different.
4. Not knowing when to step back. You hire a virtual assistant to help you with your tasks. If you don’t allow them to be independent, what’s the point of hiring extra hands? Micromanagement will only hinder your VA from doing the tasks. Once everything has been set up, proper training has been given and any loose ends are tied, it’s time to step back and let your VA do the rest. Your time is valuable and should be spent on more strategic tasks. Provide feedback and monitoring but the more you teach your virtual assistant and empower them, the more valuable they will be to you and your business in the long run.
5. Not appreciating the assistance. Your VA is just like your regular employee. They need encouragement and recognition just like your in-house staff. Talk to them about what they need and motivate them to do their best. Take a few minutes to talk to them and let them know how much you appreciate the help. It might seem inconsequential for you, but it means a lot for them.
It is easy to hire a virtual assistant. But the challenge lies in making the relationship work and getting the most out of it. By knowing these mistakes, you’ll be able to avoid these common pitfalls and create fostering relationships that will benefit your business.