Are you considering to outsource, but have no idea where to start? In almost every industry there is the opportunity to outsource at least a few of the common tasks performed in an industry. In some industries there may be the possibility of outsourcing the majority of the common tasks while in other industries there may only be the opportunity to outsource one or two of the common tasks. In either case outsourcing can result in a lightened workload as well as an increase in profit.
Evaluate Daily Activities
The first step in finding ways to outsource is to take a really close look at the daily activities you perform when tending to your business. Make a list of each of these activities and note any related activities that are typically performed in conjunction with each other. Making this note is important because activities which are typically performed together should either be outsourced together or remain as an in-house activity to maintain the highest level of efficiency.
Once you have compiled this list of activities, carefully consider which activities can easily be performed by another person and which activities require your personal attention. This will give you a good idea of which activities you could outsource and which activities would not be good opportunities for outsourcing.
Finally, review your list of activities and note how long it takes you to perform each of the activities you could outsource. This information will be helpful later if you decide to search for a candidate to complete these tasks.
Prioritize Daily Activities
After you have carefully examined your daily activities, it is time to prioritize these activities. Create a comprehensive list of all of your daily activities in their order of importance. For this list include both the activities requiring your personal attention and the activities which can be outsourced.
When you make your decision to start outsourcing some of your daily tasks, start with the highest priority on the list which you believe can be outsourced. Attempt to outsource this task as a test to determine whether or not outsourcing will work for you. If you decide you are comfortable with outsourcing and that it is working for your business, you can continue down the prioritized list and search for those who are capable of handling your daily activities.
Consider Administrative Tasks
We have already discussed the importance of evaluating your own daily tasks in the process of finding ways to outsource but it is also important to consider tasks completed by your staff members. Administrative tasks are often tasks which can be outsourced so examining these tasks will give you a good idea if you can increase the efficiency of your administrative assistance by outsourcing some of their responsibilities.
Activities such as data entry, transcription and other activities often handled by personal assistance are all example of activities which can easily be outsourced. Additionally, there is a great deal of qualified candidates available to fulfill these tasks. The industry of virtual personal assistants has become a booming industry with many savvy entrepreneurs offering their skills in these areas as a consultant.
Develop a Plan for Managing Outsourced Activities
Before starting to outsource daily activities, you should develop a plan for managing all of your outsourced activities. This plan should include the following:
* Method for selecting candidates to handle outsourced work
* Method for overseeing the work performed by independent contractors
* Method for evaluating the work performed by independent contractors
Is there validity to comparing in-house work and outsourced work? Of course there is, but the most important question is how you make these comparisons. Those who are involved in the Internet niche marketing industry realize a large portion of their success is related to their ability to constantly evaluate their niche markets and determining what is working and what is not working. They examine and test the font size and colors along with more technical elements such as coding and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Since these savvy entrepreneurs are already constantly evaluating and making minor adjustments it is logical that they should also make comparisons in relation to the work done in-house and the work that is outsourced. They should evaluate the work in terms of finances and in terms of quality.
The Cost of Outsourcing vs. Keeping Work in House
As with any business the bottom line in Internet niche marketing is often financial. There is no clear cut answer as to whether particular tasks will be completed at a lower cost in-house or through outsourcing. This is dependent upon numerous factors. For example the qualifications of the in-house staff is one of the major factors in the equation and the availability of the in-house staff members should also be considered.
If there are members of in-house staff members capable of completing the task and available to do so, it may be more affordable to keep the work in-house. However, outsourcing does reduce labor costs but often comes with a higher hourly rate as well as advertisement costs to advertise the position and interview candidates. These costs will vary from case to case so it is important to always consider outsourcing as an option when possible.
The Quality of Outsourcing vs. Keeping Work in House
Comparing the quality of outsourcing versus in-house work is even more difficult. Again, there is no set answer for which is typically higher quality. In a situation where experts are required to complete a task it may be better to outsource the task because the in-house staff is not qualified to complete the task. In this case the quality of the work produced by the contractor will not only be of higher quality but will also likely be completed quicker and more efficiently.
However, in cases where the in-house staff and the contractor are equally qualified the in-house staff may hold a slight advantage because they are more familiar with company policies and procedures. In this case the in-house may be more efficient because they are already familiar with the standard procedures. This becomes less of an issue in cases where work is outsourced to the same individual regularly.
The other factor to consider when comparing outsourced work to in-house work is the work ethic of the individual completing the assignments. Two equally qualified employees given the same assignment, schedule and pertinent information may not produce the exact same results. This is because one employee may have a more diligent work ethic and a more keen attention to detail. In this scenario the more diligent employee will likely produce work of a higher quality. As this relates to personality rather than whether or not the work is completed in-house or outsourced it makes it even more difficult to compare in-house work to outsourced work.
As companies face the challenge of improving productivity and efficiency with ever-shrinking budgets, the need for outsourcing certain operations has grown. And ironically, although digital technologies become more important in business, the idea of a paperless office seems more distant than ever.
In fact, Bill Gates has proclaimed that the paperless office is “one of those ‘any day now’ phenomena that never seem to actually arrive. … Paperwork is increasing faster than digital technology can eliminate it.”
As a result, document management and imaging outsourcing has become big business. Companies looking to image capture their paper documents are increasingly turning to service providers because it’s less expensive than hiring permanent staff.
According to a report by market research firm IDC, outsourcing industry was expected to expand at a compound annual rate of 19.7 percent over the next three years.
In fact, major companies like General Electric now take advantage of what is called business process outsourcing, or BPO – the delegation of operational responsibility for a business process’s execution and performance. This applies not only to paperwork but a variety of organizational tasks.
“Seventy percent of our business processes should be outsourced,” said former chairman and CEO Jack Welch. GE’s outsourcing strategy delivered 26 quarters of increasing profitability, despite market instability and ever-changing conditions.
Quintek Technologies Inc. is one company focusing on BPO solutions, providing services to enable Fortune 500 and Global 2000 corporations to reduce costs and maximize their revenues.
Benefits of BPO services include: reducing costs by lowering overhead and improving the efficiency of processes; allowing organizations to focus on their core business; and providing access to scalable operations and on-demand resources.
Most BPO processes begin by organizing data into digital formats, and this has increased the need for support from companies like Quintek.
So while the paperless office seems to be a far-off goal, that just leaves plenty of room for the BPO market to grow.
Now that everyone is going virtual, you can too. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are having a hard time keeping up with the high cost of having a full-time employee. You can now reduce your cost as well as your work overflow, by hiring a Virtual Assistant. Virtual assistants are experienced administrative and secretarial office support professionals who can reduce your work load and save you time. Having a Virtual Assistant has many benefits for you and your business. A Virtual Assistant provides outstanding service and support for all your business needs.
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Having a Virtual Assistant provides many benefits, such as unlimited availability, and reduced cost. Some of the benefits of using a Virtual Assistant are,
No additional office space, increased productivity, Pay only for time worked, No costly payroll taxes, No extra equipment or office space, No ongoing training expenses, No need to provide benefits, more time to focus on your business rather than your work overflow.
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It seems that everywhere we turn these days there is talk of a looming recession. An article by David Rodeck, contributor to Forbes magazine, stated that “The measures taken by the United States and nations around the world to manage the COVID-19 pandemic — restricting travel, shuttering nonessential businesses and implementing universal social distancing policies — are having severe economic consequences.”
Yikes! What to do? Where to turn? What about virtual assistance and virtual staffing? The good news is those tools exist now, which didn’t exist in past recessions, to help businesses through a recession. Long time ago a recession meant certain death for a good many businesses. Today, it doesn’t have to!
For years now companies have embraced hiring virtual assistants in order to save on payroll and bricks and mortar overhead costs. Perhaps the time has come for your company to give virtual working a go before the crunch strikes so you’re primed and your business is ready for what comes next. Even in a robust economy saving money against the bottom line is a sure way to increase your company net.
What happens during a recession? Typically a company may lay workers off and cut jobs to save money on payroll and hardware costs like computers, desks, electricity, telephone bills, etc. I’ll be the last person to deny that some of these are quite necessary to survival during a recession. But even in a poor economy, companies need services. We need order takers, customer service personnel, receptionists, data entry workers, appointment setters, warm callers, and so on. So how can we fight back during recession, still get all of those necessary tasks done, and keep growing our companies?
How can a virtual assistant and virtual staffing help me save my business during a recession? Just save? You’re thinking too small. How about grow too?
Close your eyes and imagine a business world where you could ditch the high cost of sustaining office space; pass on the daily commute and high cost of fuel for the car; give the axe to buying a bunch of expensive office equipment for everyone and her* sister; keep the kids at home and avoid daycare costs; stop paying unemployment insurance, F.I.C.A., employee income tax, and health insurance; forget about listening to the latest boy friend woes; never deal with the employee mentality again; and have your workers thank you for the work.
Utopia right? Nope, just hiring virtually. When you hire a virtual assistant here’s what happens:
1) When you call to discuss your needs your call is answered promptly and courteously
2) You discuss the tasks in need of completion and your business’s needs with a qualified assistant who is eager to understand your business and your needs
3) The virtual assistant is assigned to perform your business’s task
4) You immediately begin working one-on-one with the virtual assistant
5) She reports to you weekly letting you know what work she’s done and cheerfully thanks you for giving her the work
6) She only “clocks in” when she’s working on your tasks. No need to pay for time not worked just because the assistant is sitting in your office waiting for tasks
7) She’ll be on call throughout the day, all week, but not billing unless you have tasks for her to work on
8) You are invoiced from one place for all of the assistance you need – whether it’s one or twenty virtual assistants
Of course the virtual assistant is an independent contractor so you won’t pay for health insurance, vacation time, sick time, F.I.C.A., office space, computers, desks, or even a lunch break.
You mentioned growth. What about the growth? Quite simple. What is the number one thing most businesses are missing during a recession? Cash. Cold hard cash. If you’re saving money on office expenditures and have reduced your payroll to only the essentials, what should you have more of? Cash! And what does a greater amount of cash allow a business to do? GROW! Market more, sell more and grow!
Let’s put it into perspective, say you have 33 full and part time staff members. Those staff members in the bricks and mortar world, as employees in an office big enough to house them would cost the company nearly $1.5 million per year. Instead they cost only about $200,000. A savings of 87% per year by avoiding the big office and full-time employees! Plus your workers are happier because they work from home; enjoy greater flexibility which leads to greater loyalty, greater productivity, and less down time.
As if we need any more pluses to hiring and working virtually, we make very little impact on the environment when we all work and hire virtually!
*For ease of writing and reading, and since most administrative assistants are female, this email is written in the feminine. No offense is intended to males who may work in the administrative assistant industry.