This article is written by guest writer Felix Tarcomnicu. Felix works with OutsourceWorkers and helps entrepreneurs hire Virtual Assistants.
In today’s globally competitive business environment, the difference between success and failure may be measured by time, volume or currency; all of which may come down to one crucial decision. Expansion programs are no longer as clear, cut and dry as they used to be because the world has changed dramatically over the last 15 years.
Businesses have to shift their focus and adapt strategies that allow them to be more flexible and mobile. Those who maintain a rigid approach in strategy will fail to adapt to change. Even search engine giant Yahoo took a big step outside their comfort zone in 2011 and integrated virtual assistants into their work force. Since then, more than 100 of the largest companies have followed suit and have embraced the Virtual Assistant into the manpower fold.
The decision to hire Virtual Assistants has yielded results that have been measured in time, volume and currency. It could very well be that your decision to hire a VA may spell the difference between success and failure.
It’s not just about cost savings
Yes, it is a fact that hiring virtual assistants will generate cost savings. Comparative studies have shown that hiring Virtual Assistants over regular employees will generate cost savings between 40 to 80%. This is because VAs are self-employed. They are in fact, proprietors of the Virtual Assistance enterprise. This means they are not entitled to mandated and company benefits.
The incremental cost of hiring Virtual Assistants is significantly smaller compared to regular employees. As business owners themselves, they are accountable for their cost of business. You do not have to allocate expenses for rent, Internet and power in the monthly budget. On the other hand, a regular office employee will require additional space, accommodation for Internet and utilities. For Internet alone, the standard bandwidth allocation is 85 kbps per computer. The space you allocate for the employee is considered revenue generating. Inclusive costs are power, office supplies and other utilities on top of compensation.
But the genius of hiring virtual assistants are more than just realizing cost savings. Now, you can delegate non-essential tasks to people with the requisite skills to have these functions done right. Most business owners are tied down by having to attend to both core and non-core functions. Even though non-core functions are considered non-essential they do play an important role in keeping the business organized. With virtual assistants on-board, the business owner can focus on tasks that fall under his core competencies. More importantly, these tasks directly translate to revenue for the business.
The cost savings the enterprise realizes from hiring virtual assistants can be used to fund revenue generating activities. In business, this is called budget re-alignment. It is an effective way of streamlining operations and an efficient strategy in funding expansion programs. By generating cost savings, you are reducing the risks incurred by businesses that want to scale up. This is because your source of funding remains internally generated and not through third party borrowings or loans.
The productivity conundrum
The late founder of Apple Steve Jobs once said “Pricing does not equate to quality.” While the famed technological visionary obviously referred to the expensive iPhone, the same principle can be said of personnel.
In the past, people were skeptical of hiring virtual assistants because of their lower cost and an apprehension of working with people who do not share the same space. It all comes down to the productivity conundrum: Just because their services are more affordable and they translate to cost savings do not mean productivity is compromised.
Most people who become VAs came from the traditional office job. As digital technology evolved and the Internet became more prevalent in business and life, new opportunities for commerce opened up in the virtual world. The virtual assistance industry gave them an avenue to own a business, generate more income and work at pace of their liking.
So the Virtual Assistant is not someone looking for a first paycheck. He or she is a seasoned veteran; an experienced soldier from the concrete battlefield. They have the skills, training and expertise to get the job done accurately. This is why virtual assistants are either paid on a per productive hour basis or on a per project basis. In both schedules, there is the common denominator of having milestones. The Virtual Assistant must complete work to comply with the payment schedule. Thus, results and productivity can be guaranteed.
In our example earlier, hiring a regular employee will require the employer to accommodate incremental expenses for rent, Internet, utilities and office supplies in the monthly budget. The space allocated for the regular employee will be regarded as revenue generating. Now, what happens if the regular employee does not generate productivity? What is the return on investment?
Studies have shown that a regular employee only accounts for 90 minutes of productive work per day. What can be accomplished in 90 minutes? And what about the rest of the 390 minutes that will be paid for?
As for the matter of not sharing the same space, there are programs online that can address this matter. Of course, being in the virtual world, it would be impossible to share the same space. But what should be of greater importance is the ability to oversee work, if needed. There are programs online that make use of WorkView a software tool that allows you to see the computer screen of your VA. You can also use time tracker software such as Time Doctor to monitor productive hours. Finally, there are collaborative software such as Asana and Dropbox which will enable you to organize work between you and your VA. Technology has made it possible for businesses to go past the four walls yet maintain high-touch contact points with a VA.
If you want to take your enterprise to the next level amidst all the uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos in today’s business environment, the Virtual Assistant may be your best solution.
In fact, the Virtual Assistant may be your only option.
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