Deciding to outsource some of your business tasks is an exciting prospect. You’ll take some weight off your workload while also having peace of mind that your tasks are in safe hands with a Virtual Assistant or outsourced professional.
But, as exciting as it is, there are a few outsourcing mistakes businesses tend to make that mean their endeavour isn’t always as successful as it could have been.
Here are five things businesses get wrong about outsourcing, and how to avoid running into the same issues for your business:
Diving in too quickly
When your workload becomes overwhelming and you know you need some external support, it can be tempting to gather up your tasks, throw them at a Virtual Assistant and hope for the best.
While this may provide you with some momentary relief, it’ll be short-lived when you realise that, actually, outsourcing successfully requires a lot of careful planning.
You need to consider the right outsourcing option for you, decide on the tasks that you want to outsource based on how much value they hold for your business and find a Virtual Assistant or outsource professional who can provide you with exactly what you need.
While you may feel that going in all guns blazing is the best thing to do when you’ve finally made the decision to outsource, take a few days to really put a plan in place before setting things in motion. We promise it’ll make a massive difference!
Not doing your research
Virtual Assistants and other outsource professionals are a vast and varied bunch. They all come with unique skill sets, and many have niched down into certain industries to really tailor their skills to your specific needs.
This is why it’s so vital to do your research before onboarding a VA or outsource professional. If a VA is an expert in accounting, there’s no point in considering them to take on aspects of your digital marketing.
Don’t be afraid to really refine your research – look into Virtual Assistant groups specific to your industry, pick out individuals who you think align well with your needs at a first glance, study their websites and social media, read their reviews – consume all the information you can.
If you’re stuck between a few, you could even make a quick pros and cons list to help you make your decision.
However, you choose to do it, ensure your research is thorough so that the virtual Assistant you choose is the perfect fit for your business.
Outsourcing the wrong tasks
We all have business-related tasks that we simply don’t like doing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the tasks you should be outsourcing.
For example, some tasks, like payroll, may be better kept in-house – particularly if you like to keep a keen eye on your accounts. Customer service roles may also be better carried out by your in-house team, especially if they’ve already started to build valuable relationships with your customers.
Outsourcing tasks like the above may not be the best idea, especially if you’re just starting out on your business journey.
The best tasks to delegate to begin with are tasks that your personal skillset doesn’t cover. Perhaps you want to boost your business exposure with some social media content creation but you don’t know your Instagram from your Twitter. Or maybe you’re struggling with credit control and would rather move to the moon than make a late payment phone call.
Outsourcing these tasks to an expert will allow your business to grow, without you having to put time and effort into learning a brand-new skill.
Before you outsource, make a list of the tasks you think will be most appropriate to delegate and then go from there.
Not being clear about communication
Most outsource professionals, like Virtual Assistants, will work remotely for your business. This is why it’s absolutely vital that you set up clear guidelines regarding communication right from the get-go.
If you’d like your VA to use a particular email account to communicate with you, make this clear from the start – otherwise, they might be waiting for a zoom call or Whatsapp message that’s never going to arrive!
If there are certain times of the day or week when you won’t be available, let your Virtual Assistant know in advance so they can ask any questions or obtain any information they need to around these times. This way, you won’t be bothered during your time away and your VA won’t have to wait for you to return to complete their work.
Clear communication really is the key to successful outsourcing. Remember, it can be challenging for a VA to integrate themselves into your business immediately due to working remotely, so make it easy from the start by keeping communication channels open and clear.
Not having an onboarding process
Because outsourcing professionals are usually remote, they often don’t receive the same onboarding process as new in-house team members would. While this level of onboarding isn’t always necessary, it is important to remember that outsourcing professionals will still be working alongside your business in the same capacity.
They’ll need clear guidelines on how much work you’d like them to complete and when, and also any information they need about the business. This may include procedures used for certain tasks, any information regarding GDPR or data security that they may need to know or anything about the company structure or hierarchy.
This will give your Virtual Assistant or outsource professional a good idea of how your company works, including values and missions, and will enable them to complete their work to the best of their ability and meet your standards.
Outsourcing with The Edwards Company
If you’ve decided to outsource, congratulations! You’re taking the first step towards building your business to new heights.
If you’re looking for support with content creation, credit control, admin or data entry, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our brilliant Virtual Assistant team. We specialise in providing professional, valuable support for businesses like yours.