Tag Archives: time

26Jul/13

Does Someone Who Does Stuff for a Living Know More About it than YOU!

What business are you in?

Construction, finance, engineering, marketing, retail?

Do you know a lot about that little niche of yours?  I bet you do, else you wouldn’t be running the business you are.  You wouldn’t know enough about the market share, the products, the top dogs of the industry.  You wouldn’t know the best places to go to sell your stuff or the best people to approach.

And how have you learned all this?

Experience.

You’ve been in your niche for a long time probably before you decided to venture out on your own and test the waters of self-employment.

You know all there is to know and some…

You run your own business don’t you?

So you run your own business and you know a lot about your own business sector or niche.

Am I right?

So, is it not a given that other people who run their own businesses also know a lot about their given business, niche and customers etc?  Makes sense to me.

If you’ve ever considered hiring staff, you have probably thought about the costs involved of equipment for them to use, office space for them to occupy, pension plans to provide for and tax and national insurance contributions to worry about.  With all that on top of finding the right person is it any wonder you are put off by the idea of finding paid help for your business.

However, have you ever considered outsourcing jobs that take up your time to those people who are working in the virtual environment? These people have their own equipment, provide their own office and contribute to their own personal pension plans and pay their own taxes.  Sounds too good to be true.  Well it isn’t and there is more.  And probably the most important part of all.

Virtual Assistants nowadays run their own businesses.  They aren’t like the folk who apply with their CV looking for their next stable 9-5 job.  These are tech-savvy individuals who have taken advantage of the internet revolution that is taking place across the world that enables them to work alongside people in the UK, US, Europe, Australia and anywhere else you can think of at one and the same time.  They provide an invaluable resource that can be hired long or short-term, dependent on your preference or complexity of the job in hand and they don’t have the added costs of equipment and office space.

Yes, you pay them the same amount per hour as a regular offline employee, or you should if they are worth their ‘salt’ because despite what people think, i.e. oh they work virtually so we can get them for pennies because they don’t have to travel – they never consider what the hidden costs of employees really are.

Once you begin to add up the costs of office equipment, space and contributions, you begin to see that minimum wage for virtual assistants isn’t that expensive at all.  With no contracts as such, no redundancy packages, they are the new modern solution to our ever-burgeoning workload as entrepreneurs.

Consider the benefits of working alongside a virtual assistant when you next start to think about hiring employees but get put off with all the hidden costs they come with.

Plus, if these people are running their own businesses and know all about their niche, doesn’t it make sense they will be more adept at running the administrative side of your business than you?  This is something they have experience in and can probably do in the half the time you do it.  Surely the time saving alone has to be worth looking at it more deeply.

The online virtual world is becoming more and more attractive every day, don’t overlook this valuable resource when you next feel overwhelmed and exhausted by just trying to keep ahead of the game in your business.

26Jul/13

Are you Throwing Money Down the Drain?

Do you believe the mis-guided (in my humble opinion) notion that if you do everything yourself you get it cheaper?

Do you spend inordinate amounts of time doing things that you don’t want to do?

Why?

It’s either because a) you feel you can do it better than anyone else, b) you feel only you can do it, c) you believe that it will be quicker if you do it yourself or d) you believe it will be cheaper if you do it yourself.

Okay, well I can accept a and b because that has been my motivation for pretty much most of my life.  And to be fair, it’s hard to hand over admin and organisation to other people when you’ve been doing it since the womb and everyone else seems to miss those important little details.  I know, you often feel, why didn’t I just do it myself, it would have been quicker and I’d have got it done the way I wanted it done in the first place.

110% agree with you, but – and it’s a big but, you are not only selling yourself short, but you are selling a raft of potential helpers short too.

So what’s the answer.

Training my friend.

Training  your ‘staff’ to understand how important certain aspects of your system and organisation are and how they impact on your business. Training them not to do the job per se but training them in how they fit into your organisation, instilling them with the same kind of motivation and excitement for your business as you have.

No, they will never really ‘get it’ to the extent you do – else they would have set up the business you have – but bear in mind that they are in business themselves.  They have to go out and find clients to work with just the same as you, they can’t just rest on their laurels and hope that jobs just miraculously appear as if from nowhere.

But isn’t that just spending MORE time on doing stuff than you would normally by having to train people?  Well yes it is, but it is money well spent.  You have to see beyond the time you spend now in training and toward the time when the person you’ve engaged can do the job and it frees up your time.  You need to build this vision of your business being sustained by not just you but an ‘army’ of helpers who know what you want and need and are happy to provide it either long or short term.

Being a virtual assistant myself, I’m a great proponent of working virtually – I appreciate it’s not for everyone but it suits my lifestyle and to boot,  I don’t have to own a car or commute daily to earn my income.  It’s a win-win situation for me.  Whilst I am a gregarious person, my first offline jobs usually involved having my own office (as one does, being a PA because you’re dealing with confidential information), so I sort of got used to working alone or with just one boss.  It’s the way I like it and I just love the flexibility working at home affords me.

But you can find people who are happy to come in and work at your office premises say one day a week and then spend the rest of the time working remotely for you.  This works particularly well for small businesses such as plumbers or electricians or builders who have a raft of receipts and never find the time to do anything with them other than filing them in a shoe box, which they ceremoniously hand over to their account on an annual basis.  His heart must sink when he sees that each year, or they unceremoniously hand it over to their already stretched other half and hope that it gets done.

Imagine that plumber or builder using a remote worker who collected their receipts on a weekly basis and then entered them in to either an accounting software package or a simple Excel spreadsheet.  It would probably take an hour a week tops.  Would you be prepared to pay £6.25 for an hour of someone’s time – who, incidentally, does this for a living or two or three hours of yours or your significant other’s time who do it because it has to be done.

Is that really saving time and money?

How much can that builder earn in that hour?  You could argue, well they do that at night, so they can’t work then but they still have to do quotes and work out quantities to order materials etc.  Why more builders don’t employ a local VA to outsource their admin work to is beyond me.

It makes you think doesn’t it?

Are you throwing money down the drain?

Are you spending your very profitable time doing jobs you hate or could be done faster and ultimately better than you for less money?

Try looking for an administrative assistant and start using your money and your time more effectively.

26Jul/13

Who is Your Number One Enemy in Business?

Who is your number one enemy in business? I bet you’re going through a myriad of names now of competitors who’ve nabbed that deal before you got chance to get your tender in or people who’ve pipped you to the post for that long sought-after promotion.

And to be fair, it should read WHAT not who but then it wouldn’t have made for such an eye-catching headline now would it!

Just for a minute though, think about how many tasks you perform during a single day; a myriad of them before you even get to your office – and your head, if it’s anything like mine, is always full of a zillion and one things that need doing and you have ‘to do’ lists as long as your arm.

It gives you a headache just thinking about doesn’t it!

But let’s just concentrate on your business day, how many of these do you process in a day?

  • Emails – more than you can to mention!
  • Meetings – one or two a week, or more.
  • Follow-ups – most days.
  • Admin – when I have to!
  • Invoices – when they need paying!
  • Social media updates – don’t get me started, how many accounts do I have?
  • Phone calls – how do I turn this thing off?

Seriously though, do all of these things contribute to your business?  Well, of course, you say, else why would I be doing them?  Well that’s a great question to ask yourself.

Why are you doing them?

Are you good at them?

Do you enjoy doing them?

Or, are they necessary ‘evils’ that have to be processed?

Do they really contribute to running your business?  Do they create income in and of themselves, or do they just suck time like vampires?  Agreed, some phone calls and meetings are absolutely necessary and will bring you income but is it necessary for you personally to make those initial calls to set up a longer call to talk things through?  Is it necessary for you to sort out times to meet and book that client into your diary?

Another great question to ask yourself is, what are you good at doing?

You must be good at being an entrepreneur else you wouldn’t have started your own business, so you must have drive and commitment and vision to see where you want to go.

Wouldn’t your time be better spent honing your vision and making sure you are on the right track, making the right connections with the right people at the right time?

If all of those administrative tasks could be given over to an assistant, virtual or otherwise, how much business time would it free up for you?  I’m guessing over 75%.  Yes, it costs money to hire staff but how much can you earn as opposed to how much you need to pay an assistant?

There is also the added benefit that working with a virtual assistant helps lower your costs, they are running their own businesses and take care of their own tax bills and have all the equipment ready in place.  They are used to doing these jobs and will have them processed twice as fast as you.  Your business will be more productive than ever.

So, given all of that, how many of these necessary ‘evils’ could be off-loaded onto someone else?

Think about it.

Time is your number one enemy.

It’s something you’ll NEVER get back so pay someone else a cheaper rate for their time, so you have more capacity to charge a higher rate to your clients for yours.