Friday, 20 December 2013

Businesses Supporting Businesses - Do You Outsource?








Home businesses are a dime a dozen now. With so many other options for consumers it's never been more important to present a professional and cohesive image to your potential customers. From being professional in your accounting to presenting a professional brand it all matters. Every little detail.


When you're a one mum show in business you very easily get caught up in the "I have to do it all" mentality. You transform yourself from a creative person making your wares to sell to, a graphic designer, a bookkeeper, accountant, web designer, marketing expert, blogger and shop keeper. While there are systems and tools to help you with some of these tasks the point I am trying to make is that you not only don't have to do it all but sometimes outsourcing some of these tasks can free you up to create more to sell and you end up better off for having made the investment in outsourcing.

When you hear outsourcing does it sound dirty? Do you think of oversized call centres overseas? While that is outsourcing on the corporate stage it's not what I am talking about for you and your business.

It could be hiring a few people local to you to do tasks that are in their skill set, perhaps you could hire an accountant who will just require the absolute minimum from you or possibly just some reports for your finances to be kept in order. Or your local secretarial business who could manage your newsletter and possibly social media. You could even see a professional copy writer to actually write your newsletter and blog content for you! Whatever task or job you have to do in your business you can usually find someone who's business is doing that job for you.

With the increase in online home businesses there has also been an increase in these service based businesses (myself included). Now there are virtual assistants who you can hire to do just about anything for your business and better yet, they don't have to live in the same area as you. You can do it all online!

The Internet has levelled the playing field when it comes to being a one mum show. If you don't know how to do something a quick search, a couple of blog posts maybe even a video later and you are armed with enough knowledge to get the job done. While this is possible and perhaps even essential I want you to stop for a moment, and consider what you could do if you got someone else to do the task.

So, just to get you thinking, I am going to highlight some tasks that handmade businesses could outsource so you can a) spend more time producing and earn more money and b) spend less time working and more with your family.

I recently met Miriam here in the virtual world and learned she has just started her own virtual assistant business with some creative tech expertise from her graphic designer husband. I asked her how she got into it. Here is her story:
You hear it all the time. ‘It’s who you know, not what you know’, and this has never rung true for me more so than in the last year. It’s all the ‘Who’s’ that I have been speaking to which have helped me discover there’s a wealth of everyday Mums out there with amazing talents and aspirations but just don’t have the time or know how to get themselves ‘out there’.
Every week I get to speak to mums at playgroup who are working on various small businesses or business ideas and I always love to help find solutions to any obstacles they may be facing. I definitely always opt for the more positive outlook of ‘You can do this, there is a way’, rather than the ‘It’s too hard, give up’. There’s a buzz you get when you get to be a part of the solution.
It’s this buzz which has driven me to change career paths and form my business Ignite Virtual Assistant. I love being able to offer support and encouragement to Mums who want to spend more time doing what they love. Working with my husband, who is a graphic designer, it’s our vision to offer various packages which help to market the specific products or services across the social media platforms. 
A Facebook business page can look so much more enticing with a great cover image and beautiful product shots in the timeline, and how amazing would it be to present your range of products in a video lookbook.
These are the types of services we can offer, at an affordable rate, to help save your sanity so you can focus on the creation and we can focus on making it look amazing.
Many Mums do the market circuit with their products and require pull up banners, flyers or other printed material and we can create all of this at a reasonable price to help you grow your brand.

Miriam (and Kirk) are just one business in the ever growing industry that is the Virtual Assistant. There are VA's for all sorts of tasks so when you look for one, try to find one that has the skills you need.

Here are some quick tips for you if you're considering utilising a VA in your business:
  • don't think that one VA will have all the skills you want, each have their own strengths and weaknesses;
  • you get what you pay for, you can't expect the world for nothing though if you make your budget known and build your relationship I'm sure you can reach a middle ground;
  • do your research, check customer reviews or if not available have a test run where you assess your fit;
  • set clearly defined boundaries and expectations, identify when your VA can make decisions without you and when you need to be consulted;
  • consider the impact of varying timezones when selecting your VA, if you want to work closely it might be a good idea to stick to your timezone or not too far from it;
  • let go, the point to getting a VA is to free up your time to either get more production happening or be with your family, don't ruin that by being a micro manager;
  • enjoy it! Build a relationship with your VA, they are a person too.
So, my challenge to you while you have some down time and consider your options for next year.... is there anywhere in your business that you could enlist the services of a VA?

Supporting you in business





5 comments:

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