Outsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources. Small business owners can outsource non-core functions to specialized and efficient service providers. It is required of businesses to hire special contractors for particular types of work or to meet the demands put forth by sudden spurts in the workload. Recently, the trend of partnering with firms whose capabilities complement their own giving them an access to resources that were beyond their individual reach has come up. The difference between simply subcontracting and outsourcing is that outsourcing involves the wholesale restructuring of the corporation around core competencies and outside relationships.
As a consequence, has emerged a new class of skilled entrepreneurs – the Virtual Assistants.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office. A VA completes your projects using his or her own equipment, and carries out the work through email, fax, telephone and postal service. Therefore, the location of your VA is not important. This gives you a liberty to look for professionals best suited to your needs located anywhere on the globe. Since they're paid only for time-on-task, businesses can hire several VAs in dispersed locations and have 24-hour support -- paying far less than an employee or temporary would cost for such comprehensive assistance.
The services offered by each VA differ according to his/her skills. The list of services includes general administration services, database and website development, graphic design, internet research, sales support, presentation preparation, telephone answering, bill payments, travel arrangements, bookkeeping, desktop publishing, computer training, medical/legal transcription… the list is endless! Not all VAs offer all of these services. However, by being part of VA Networks, your VA can guarantee client satisfaction by a qualified VA. If your VA cannot complete your task, he/she will find another VA who can.
Why to outsource the work to a VA?
- The primary benefit of outsourcing is economizing since the VA can do it cheaper. VAs only charge for actual time worked.
- By outsourcing to a VA rather than hiring an in-office assistant, you will never need to pay employment insurance, vacation pay, sick pay, or contribute to retirement plans and worker’s compensation.
- A VA has his/her own hardware, software, training, etc. thereby reducing your capital investment. So there is no wear and tear on your office equipment or a need for special equipment.
- Engaging a VA gives you time allowing you to do what you do best. You can focus on delivering the higher value and service to your customers.
- As skilled VAs are chosen to perform particular tasks, they can do it better as they do it all the time. It is their business.
- Like you, VAs are entrepreneurs and understand the needs of businesses today, ensuring the success of their clients. VAs value each and every client; it is because of these clients that VAs can ensure the success of their own businesses.
- The resources of the VA can give your business access to technical advances you would not normally have access to.
With modern day communication, projects can be accomplished without ever having to meet the client face to face. With the growing ease of the Internet, finding a VA almost anywhere in the world is quite simple to accomplish. More so in the developed nations like USA, Canada, Australia, UK and many other European countries the VA industry is highly organized. The potential of developing countries like India can too be exploited to provide skilled VA services.
Jagmohan Saluja is a Virtual Professional providing support services to small businesses. To know more about him visit http://www.internet-researcher.com.