Why Outsourcing tasks will Build a Better Business
It’s the typical catch-22 situation, you’re between a rock and a hard place. You need more time in the day to work on building your business, however, you’re not sure about outsourcing essential tasks as you feel you’ll do a better job yourself.
I get it – I’ve been there, wearing all the different hats, trying to make everything work, trying to please staff and clients alike. And you know what? I very quickly learned the power of outsourcing, delegating tasks and taking ownership only of the things that I’m really good at.
So let’s allay all your fears when it comes to outsourcing and let’s show you how you can build a better business by hiring a Virtual Assistant to become an integral part of your team.
When is a good time to outsource?
Right now of course! There’s no better time than now. If you feel you’re drowning in the day-to-day’s of running your business, if you’re not getting to everything, clients are getting frustrated with you and your lead time, surely that should tell you when it’s a good time to start outsourcing? Perhaps you feel the budget is a bit tight, well then you’ve come to the right place. Virtual Assistants can work on an hour by hour basis or even a task by task basis. There’s is always a way to make your load lighter.
What should you outsource?
I recommend putting together a wish list, a list of tasks that you don’t get to during the day. Or let’s look at it this way, what tasks do you dread doing, those niggly little tasks that keep being put on the backburner as they are not deemed as important enough, yet they are essential for the success of this business you’re building? Simply put, these are the tasks that you need to outsource so that you can focus on the income-generating tasks.
How do you outsource?
Do internet research based on your immediate requirements. Find 2 or 3 reputable companies you would like to work with. Conduct an interview with each one, understand how they work, get a feel for their company culture. From these findings define who is the best person you would like to work with. Perhaps send them a trial task and see how efficiently they complete it. Use all this data to decide who will be the best match for you and your business.
Sometimes we’ve got to make tough decisions. Yet these decisions should always be to the benefit of your company and your personal life. Look at what will speed up the growth and development of your business and base your outsourcing decision on that. Good luck and let me know if you require any help screening your future outsourced team!
How Outsourcing Tasks can save you both Time & Money
As a business professional or entrepreneur you have “formed” the habit of taking on too much – I know, I’ve been there. This kind of behaviour leads to exhaustion, feeling overworked, and quite frankly, ends up being unsustainable and you become less productive.
How do we remedy this? By learning how to delegate of course! Just imagine if you could delegate tasks to a team of amazing people, who will get the job done, on time and you can take that time to build your business and expand your product or service line.
Naturally if you’re a startup you’re watching the pennies, so you’ll probably looking at growing the business without spending too much. A great way to overcome this is to outsource certain duties to a contractor, in this case a Virtual Assistant.
The best way to start is to write down your own wishlist, of where you think you can do with extra help and what doesn’t really require your direct attention or input. These are ideal tasks to outsource. If there are tasks in-house that your permanent staff feels could be handed over, make a list of those too and determine what skills are required to get the job done.
How does this save you money? By outsourcing these tasks you end up making your in-house team more efficient, more focussed and more driven. Now they can focus on tasks that are truly suited to their skill sets and they can work within their genius.
You can outsource tasks like:
- Social Media Management
- Data coordination
- Internet Research
- Website Design and Development
- Content Creation
When you have reached the point where you are ready to outsource, sit down with your team and draft a plan of how and where the Virtual Assistant can assist, draw up timelines and define your expectations. Design feedback loops for the potential Virtual Assistant to follow and work out a workflow.
Once you have interviewed and assigned your Virtual Assistant, given them some basic training and how-to’s, expect to see positive results – in your bottom line and in your day!
Use these Best Practices to Succeed at a Live Networking Event
Effective networking leads to new relationships, business prospects, reputation building and career advancement. Most people feel anxious when they have to meet new people. These best practices will help you to let go of anxiety and become a successful networker:
Speak to at Least 5 New People
Networking is about making connections. Going to a networking event and standing in a corner will most likely not get you any new contacts. Make a commitment to speak to at least 5 new people at the event.
When speaking to new people, break the ice with an interesting comment. This takes practice, however, if you are a beginner networker all you have to do is speak less about yourself and show more interest in the other person.
Furthermore, you can introduce the new contact to somebody else. This will make you more relevant at the event.
Familiarise Yourself with Current Affairs
In order to remain relevant among a group of people, keep yourself updated on current affairs up to the hour before the event. This will give you more confidence to speak to strangers at the event.
Smile and Relax
Networking is not a selling event. You are not there to sell your brand; you are there to build relationships. Smile at the event and make sure that you look relaxed.
Have a Pack of Your Business Cards Ready
You should have your business cards ready in case somebody wants to get in touch with you later. The worst thing is trying to write somebody’s number on a piece of paper, as loose papers get lost. Your business card should clearly show your name, business and contact information.
Do Not Discuss Sensitive Topics
Remain neutral at all times. Topics such as religion or politics should never be discussed, even if somebody else starts the discussion. Learn to remain neutral when sensitive topics are being discussed.
Prepare a 15 Second Introduction
Although networking is not a selling event you will be asked about your occupation. You might know what you do, but you might not be good at articulating it to other people. That’s where practice comes in.
Your answer should not be forced. It should be a 15 second smooth introduction of your name, company and industry.
Life is about who you know; therefore name dropping is a good networking strategy as it makes you more relevant. Be careful to do it tastefully as you do not want to appear like an obnoxious person. The key to name dropping is taking the attention off yourself and putting it on the other person. For example “Mr x once said that …….” instead of “I have met Mr x before and he said….”
6 Effective Ways to Stop Procrastinating
We have all fallen prey to procrastination. Sometimes we wake up in the morning with so much enthusiasm, but end up losing it when we realise the amount of work that we have to do. According to Forbes, the top 5 reasons for procrastination are:
- You don’t really want to do it
- The task is too easy, difficult or boring
- The task is just too overwhelming
- You are tired
- You’re afraid to take the leap
In this article, we discuss 6 methods that you can employ to get out of the procrastination circle:
1. Implement a reward system
Reward yourself for milestones reached. Your milestones may be simple or complex, it is up to you. When you know that you will be rewarded for reaching a goal, you will have more motivation to complete your tasks.
The reward system should be written down and you should not deviate from it. Rewards may be as small as getting to watch your favorite movie, or as big as going on that special vacation. Ensure that the reward ties up with the goal, don’t reward big gifts for small goals as that will defeat the purpose of the reward system.
2. Plan your day
There is a famous saying by Benjamin Franklin that goes “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. This is true, planning your day allows you to stay focused on the specific tasks at hand. When you are not sure of your daily schedule you may end up putting your hands into many things with no success.
Your plan should be written down. Many people have mental plans which is great, however, writing it down gives you that added visual reminder of the tasks that you will be required to complete for the day.
3. Set realistic goals
Procrastination often times happens because we have a look at our to-do list and find that it is too much too handle.
Break your work into small realistic and achievable goals. If you find that you are working hard, but are still not able to reach your goals, chances are that you have set unrealistic goals. Revise them and try again.
4. Publicize your goals
Publicizing your goals will give you the added pressure to get working. If you are planning to publish a book for example, put your launch date on your website, this is sure to give you the motivation to complete the project.
If your goals are more personal, you may publicize it to your friends and family. This will still have the same effect.
5. Remove distractions
Aim to remove any distractions preventing you from achieving your goals. In our post titled How to Create a Productive Home Office Environment, we discuss how distractions may affect your productivity and methods you can implement to make your environment more productive.
6. Stay Positive
Finally, stay positive. Do not be discouraged if you have not reached a certain goal.
Learn from the failure, make changes to your plan and stick to it.
How to Get Business Support from Your Family
Managing a start-up company can be difficult. In the beginning you might have to rely on friends and family to support your business. It is with their assistance that you can have the initial resources needed to succeed.
Some entrepreneurs do not ask their family for support in fear of rejection. These 5 steps to requesting support will be able to give you more confidence in getting business support from your family:
Step 1. Draw up a business plan or proposal
The best way to show that you are serious with your business is to draw up a business plan and a proposal for your family members. Include expectations, costs, revenues and milestones. Your family needs to know whether you are requesting financial or non-financial support.
Your proposal should summarize the 4 W’s and an H- why, where, when, who and how? Your family might not understand what your business niche is, therefore your proposal needs to be written in simple language.
Step 2. Get a mentor and build your confidence
Getting a mentor who owns a successful business can assist you to deal with possible rejection from family members. A mentor will motivate you to succeed, offer tips and train you in the business field.
The 7 habits of highly effective people(Stephen R. Covey) are to be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw. These 7 habits can help build your confidence in business if practiced regularly.
Step 3. Set up the minimum business requirements
Before you contact your family members for support, make sure that you have acquired all the minimum resources and skills that you need to operate. This will show your family members that you are serious about your business.
Step 4. Compile a contact list
It is important to compile a list of all the family members that you will contact. Gather general information such as their occupations, locations and family life. For example you don’t want to ask a “struggling uncle” for support; therefore do some proper research before you contact your family members.
Step 5. Push for a commitment
Once you have compiled the contact list, start calling to schedule meetings. Take your proposal with you along with any possible questions that you can anticipate.
Push for a commitment at the meeting, not forcefully, but assertively. Your family already knows you, so it would not be viewed as offensive if you are a little bit assertive.
If you are calling a family member that you haven’t talked to in a while make sure that you don’t go straight into business talk. Make a first call to discuss family, interests, updates, etc. and then make a second call a couple of weeks later to inform them of your business.
Put these 5 steps into action and be sure to give us feedback on your results. Never lose your will to succeed because perseverance makes a difference between those who succeed, and those who don’t.