Your Right Hand

My Virtual Assistant Limited


Building a Top Notch Virtual Team

Posted on October 31, 2012 by Justine Curtis - My Virtual Assistant

Whether you run a business from the comfort of your own home office, or you have a ‘real’ office and operate with a team of outsourcers, subcontractors, home based or office based employees, chances are you will be working virtually with some of your team members.

Outsourcing to an experienced professional makes perfect business sense. It’s easy when you first start out to try and save every single penny by doing everything yourself. Then when the cash flow has improved, you might try outsourcing on the cheap, a project to a student, an everyday task to an admin service in India, a design task via an outsourcing bidding site such as Elance. Been there? Ever done it again? I thought not.

Trying to do everything yourself, or outsourcing to the cheapest option is false economy. In your business you need hire professional outsourcers who are experienced, skilled and proficient at the services they provide. Established businesses who thrive because they take a vested interest in producing high quality work for your business.

The point of outsourcing is not always to find someone to do the task better than you or even cheaper – it’s to offload the majority of your daily required work so that you can focus on the core portion of your business where you add unique value. Think of it as the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort, then spend all your time on that high yielding 20% and outsource the rest.

So how do you go about building a top notch virtual team?

  • Invest in your outsourcing education. If you’ve never outsourced before, or you’re not sure what you can offload to someone else, experiment. Invest a small amount of cash in outsourcing something small. If you don’t have anything small, make something up. If it’s admin, get someone to put all your business cards into a spreadsheet or database, if you’re looking for design work, get someone to design a logo, if it’s proof reading, send over a short document with deliberate minor mistakes. You get the idea. The point is to see what works for you, and to get used to letting go.
  • Look for professionals. Look for companies that have been around for a while and that have a proven track record. Is there a portfolio on their web site, are there genuine customer testimonials. Whilst start ups can be equally good, if the business is established, they are outsourcing partner all over again.
  • Look for outstanding communicators. The secret to a successful virtual relationship is excellent communication. If the company is in a different time zone, or takes days to respond to your messages, you may have problems. If you’re outsourcing a test project, do they ask sensible questions for more clarity, or guess and get it wrong? Communication is key; make sure it’s prompt and effective.
  • Be clear and concise in your delegation. Something you will learn from outsourcing your test projects is how to delegate effectively. If you don’t ask for exactly what you want, chances are you won’t get it.
  • Good outsourcing companies will have a format for gathering this information, or will ask very specific questions in order to get all the detail they need. However, in the first instance be clear about the result you want to achieve giving as much detail as possible, any direction about how you want that to be achieved and give your project budget or time allowed, and your deadline.
  • Manage your virtual team effectively. Once you decided who you want to work with on a regular basis, make sure there is a system in place to effectively manage your team. Staying in regular contact with your virtual team is vital, especially because you’ll rarely, if ever, see each other. It is important not only to be in contact when there’s a new project to pass on, but on a regular basis to keep them up to date with what’s going on in your business. This way they will be aware of up coming projects and your clearly defined goals for your business so that they can assist you more effectively.Decide on which means of communication work best for you and arrange how often and when you will communicate.
  • Don’t forget to show gratitude. If you have found an outsourcing partner that is more interested in getting it right than just getting it done, you’ll want to hang on to them. These people will foresee obstacles and devise solutions before they even occur. When they do have challenges, they present them with potential solutions and a recommendation.When they do go that extra mile, don’t forget to thank them. It’s up to if you want to send flowers, cash bonuses or bottles of champagne, etc. Often a sincere thank you is all the appreciation they need.

One thing to be aware of – outsourcing is addictive. There’s something oddly satisfying about that lovely soothing feeling that comes when everything is just getting done, effectively and efficiently and without any effort from you.

About the Author:

Justine Curtis is the director of My Virtual Assistant Limited which is currently expanding across the UK with a team of virtual assistant licensees and founder of the UK Association of Virtual Assistants (UKAVA) which offers free resources and information to its subscribers. Justine is the author of Setting Yourself Up As A Virtual Assistant and passes on the benefits of her vast experience of the VA role to aspiring and progressive virtual PAs as a co-founder of the VA Success Group. Justine is also a co-founder of Academy for Online Business, a company devoted to helping self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs to build their own online business empires.

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply


  • RSS Latest News

    • How To Get Involved With Social Media – Blogging
      With a blog you can post content in the form of text and pictures and it is possible to have a two way dialogue by way of people commenting on your posts. You can have control over what comments actually appear on your pages if you manage your comments using your preferred blogging software so […]
    • How Can Social Media Help My Business?
      There are various social media platforms you can use to deliver messages to your readers and followers which we’ll look at through the remainder of this series. But before embarking on any marketing activity, it’s important to know why it’s useful. Social media is instant so your messages can be delivered as they happen, and […]
    • Why Social Media is Important to Your Business
      We’ve all heard the phrase social media, but what actually is social media and how can you use it to help your business? In short, social media is a term that encapsulates a number of online communication platforms which make it easy for people to not only publish their own news and views but also […]
    • Small Business Social Networking
      Most of us are aware of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and the rest, but did you know that in addition to those that have been traditionally used for social purposes, there are sites for online networking for businesses too? Are you active on sites such as LinkedIn and Ecademy? When a […]
    • Planning an Event?
      Whether it’s a meeting, conference or personal party, many find that planning a large event can be a daunting task. Sourcing vendors, screening proposals, and checking references and credentials can be incredibly time-consuming. Don’t let the planning process outweigh the excitement of your event. Give us some general guidelines like cost, number of guests, […]
    • What’s Your News? Getting Your Press Release Out There!
      We all love free publicity and nothing will get you more exposure in the media than a well written and syndicated press release. A well-targeted release can showcase your business to your chosen target market and present you as the credible expert in their field. But what should be in the perfect press release? Who […]
    • PowerPoint Presentation Preparations
      Creating a compelling and interesting PowerPoint presentation can be a challenge. At My Virtual Assistant, we have the right tools and techniques to make your slides attractive and keep your audience engaged while making the maximum impact possible. Whether you’re presenting to a networking group or an important client, make sure your presentation looks grea […]
    • Organising Meetings
      Important meetings have the potential to make or break your company, so why not make sure they are planned flawlessly? At My Virtual Assistant we can research venues, make reservations, schedule the appointment with participants, and even follow up a few days ahead of time to make sure your plans are all set. Let us […]


↑ Top