Managing a start up business presents a number of daunting challenges. First, you have to efficiently manage limited sources of funding. Second, you have to compete against longer tenured businesses that may have already established their brand. Third, there are a multitude of tasks you need to accomplish everyday and not enough time to attend to each and every one of them.
The most effective option for start-ups to overcome these challenges is to outsource work to virtual assistants.
Outsourcing is the process of transferring or delegating specific work tasks to third party service providers. Initially, outsourcing was utilized by companies primarily as a cost reduction strategy because work was transferred to regions or remote locations where comparative cost advantages or economies of scale existed. The biggest cost advantage provided by outsourcing was in labor. In the United States, outsourcing grew exponentially in the mid 90’s when companies in Silicon Valley realized significant cost savings after they transferred services to India.
On a smaller scale, businesses also realized cost savings by outsourcing tasks to online freelancers or virtual assistants. A Virtual Assistant is an individual who renders online work from a remote location usually from home. In the 70’s, long before the Internet became a by-word in technology, companies would contract home-based businesses to provide secretarial and personal assistant services.
In the mid 90’s, when the Internet started to evolve and assert more influence on the conduct of business, the present incarnation of the Virtual Assistant began to take shape. Virtual assistants were still delegated the same scope of work: correspondence, phone handling and scheduling but these were all conducted on a greater scale. As the Internet grew in popularity and new software, platforms and programs were developed to accommodate the rise in technology, the virtual assistant’s designation also began to evolve.
Today, virtual assistants can be used for different fields and industries and are no longer confined to just secretarial and personal assistant work.
If you are a start-up, here are a few ways outsourcing work to virtual assistants will benefit your business:
1. Outsourcing to virtual assistants lowers cost.
Since virtual assistants are essentially self-employed, they are accountable for the costs associated with their profession. If you hire a Virtual Assistant or a VA, you will only pay service fees which are calculated based on productive hour. A VA is also not entitled to receive government and company mandated benefits. A regular office employee will start out with $ 20 per hour and is entitled to benefits. A VA from the North America and Australia typically charge around $ 10 to $ 15. If you recruit your VA from a remote location like the Philippines or India, the average hourly charge would average $ 4 to $ 7 per hour. It has been estimated that the total cost of maintaining a regular employee is equivalent to double the cost of a VA.
2. Increases productivity.
Most virtual assistants start out as regular 9-to-5 employees but decided to freelance their services in order to monetize their specific skill sets. Since they are paid based on productive hour, they will endeavor to accomplish all tasks and objectives on or before the deadline. By outsourcing work, companies are able to focus on functions that fall under their core competencies. Companies can also re-purpose cost savings realized from outsourcing to support activities that are directly related to revenue generation.Hiring virtual assistants also gives you the option to have your business managed even after regular office hours have ended. You can ask your VA to manage your account after close of business hours.
3. Improve quality of work.
As mentioned, the virtual assistance industry has evolved to include tasks that require highly specialized work. Examples of these include social media marketing, transcription services, accounting, website management and phone handling. Business owners realize the importance of these functions but not everyone would have the expertise. For example, social media marketing is very important to enhance your businesses’ online presence but you need special skills to create relevant, unique and engaging content. Designing social media strategies also require experience; you just can’t create posts and share it anytime. The best and most experienced social media manager will conduct research on the best times of the day to post content so it will have greater potential to reach your target market.
4. Frees up your time.
If you do a proper accounting of how you manage your available hours in a day, chances are you would end up with roughly 6 to 8 hours allotted for work. For most owners of start up businesses, 6 to 8 hours is not enough to get everything done. Hiring virtual assistants will allow you more time to focus on functions that require your core competencies and immediate attention. Also of equal importance is that hiring virtual assistants will free up some time for you to take a much needed vacation!
These are just a few of the benefits your start up business will realize if you decide to outsource work to virtual assistants. Properly integrated into your system, outsourcing to virtual assistants will allow your business to streamline costs while contributing to productivity.