How to Get More Value out of your Outsourcing Agreement

How to Get More Value out of your Outsourcing Agreement

Since the 1970’s outsourcing was a strategy that was utilized by companies needing to reduce the cost of business. Back then, it was more of a stop-gap measure. A policy that would come in whenever business conditions were not ideal for revenue generation. Focus would then shift to stream- lining in order to maintain profitability.

However, as global business conditions became more unpredictable and unstable, companies looked to outsourcing as a double edged sword. It could be a strategy that would not only stream- line costs but also improve revenue generation.

Silicon Valley, USA. It was in the mid- 1990’s that technology firms in Silicon Valley started outsourcing services to technology companies located in India. Not only were the US companies able to reduce costs but the Indian IT companies were able to improve products, services and quality of deliverables.

Soon, more outsourcing agreements were entered into between US and Indian companies.

By the new millennium, as equities markets collapsed around the world, businesses began outsourcing services as a way to remain profitable. From the year 2000 to 2016, global outsourcing has been on an uptrend. It has grown from a US$45 Billion industry to a US$105 Billion industry.

But not all outsourcing agreements have a happy ending. There are a number of engagements that turned sour.

So what went wrong?

Technical and fundamental issues aside, many of the faults can be found at the human level. If you want your outsourcing agreement to flourish you have to change your approach and view it from a different perspective.

Keep an Open Mind

No one can lay exclusive claim to knowledge. Just because you are the client, it does not mean you know everything. You are the expert at what you do. But so is the outsourcing services provider. Whether you contract a Virtual Assistant or an outsourcing company, you should keep an open mind and allow the service provider to do what they do best.

Adapt a Strategic Partnership

When you have shared interest, you stay on the same course. Get your outsourcing services provider involved in the business. It is a great way to foster trust and remove fears and biases that inhibit productivity.

Take the Time to Build a Relationship

The best way to manage a business engagement is to understand how the “other side” works. This is especially true if your outsourcing services provider is from a remote location like India or the Philippines. There are social, cultural and behavioral nuances that exist. The best way to overcome them is to develop a better understanding of these traditions.

Moderate Your Expectations

Outsourcing has been proven to be an effective business development strategy. But it is not a “magic formula”; neither is it the proverbial “lighting in the bottle”. It takes time for success to manifest in outsourcing. There is the Learning Curve that you must respect. But if you keep your expectations to manageable levels, you will succeed.

Before considering a strategy of outsourcing services, do some research and learn all you can about the concept. Then write down your goals, objectives and expectations. From there you should take the time to qualify your ideal outsourcing provider. Taking a more purposeful approach to outsourcing will translate to long term growth and sustainable success.

4 Frequent Objections to Hiring Virtual Assistants

4 Frequent Objections to Hiring Virtual Assistants

Outsourcing services to virtual assistants is becoming a global phenomenon. More businesses are adapting outsourcing services as a mainstay business strategy and the Virtual Assistant is an important component. But for those who have given virtual assistants serious thought and hesitated, you are not alone. It is understandable that you have apprehensions to someone who works on the other side of your PC.

Here are the 4 frequent objections to hiring virtual assistants and how you should put the answers in perspective:

1. “What Tasks Will I Outsource to Them?”

Outside the place of work, hiring a Virtual Assistant is no different from hiring a Full-Time Employee or FTE. You have to know first why you are hiring before determining what to delegate.

If you are outsourcing work to virtual assistants for the first time, start out on a conservative note. Delegate non-essential tasks such as e-mail filtering, calendar management, appointment setting, phone handling and limited correspondence until such time you become confident with your Virtual Assistant.

2. “Nothing Beats Shared Space Collaboration”

This objection may hold weight 10 years ago as the Internet was slowly gaining popularity.

Today, you have a host of online tools and programs that will make shared space collaboration easier and more effective. Here are some of the programs available online:

  • Project Management – Asana, Bitrix-24, SalesForce
  • File Sharing – DropBox, Accellion
  • Communication – Skype, Slack, Viber

You can even use social media. For example, create a closed group in Facebook and use it as a forum to communicate with members.

3. “I Can’t Trust anyone when it comes to my Business”

Whether you hire an FTE or a VA, you have to accept one harsh reality: you cannot do everything yourself. It’s less a question of trust than it is a matter of effective time management.

By hiring a Virtual Assistant, you will be able to allocate more time to handle the activities that translate to more dollar and cents for your business. Besides, trust is not a value you give openly. It takes time for anyone to develop trust whether in the real world or the virtual world.

4. “Dealing with Social, Cultural and Language Issues is a Waste of Time”

This is a common objection for business owners who are thinking of hiring virtual assistants from remote locations like the Philippines, India or Brazil.


First off, there is a reason why these countries are leading the world in global outsourcing. Yes, there are significant cost advantages to be realized but more than that the quality of work is world class. If you study the history of outsourcing, many point out to the success between Silicon Valley’s ventures with IT companies in India as the jump off point.

Meanwhile, the Philippines which boasts of a 98% literacy rate and the number 1 ranking in business English according to GlobalEnglish has its outsourcing industry growing by 20% every year.

It does not take much to understand the culture. Research online, watch videos and talk to Filipinos, Indians or Brazilians in their local communities. It will be time well-spent.

The best way to know if outsourcing services to virtual assistants is for your business is to give it a try. Start out with one Virtual Assistant and take it from there. Your first small step may lead to a big leap for your business.

 

What Are the Risks of Outsourcing to Remote Locations

What Are the Risks of Outsourcing to Remote Locations

We all know outsourcing services can greatly reduce cost while improving productivity. If you want to reduce costs even more, you should consider outsourcing services to remote locations where labor costs are lower and the market is rich in talent. But as with all ventures there are risks to outsourcing to remote locations. The good news is these risks can easily be mitigated:

Political and Social Unrest

The best outsourcing destinations in the world also have a reputation for political and social unrest. The Philippines has been in the news lately and has made headlines more often than it has in previous years.

A new volatile, unpredictable and unconventional administration has seen the country’s equity markets spiral downward and a spike in concerns on safety, peace and order.

But you should not worry about outsourcing to the Philippines because it is business as usual. Filipinos have gone through similar periods of unrest and continue to remain focused on accomplishing tasks.

If there is stoppage due to unrest, companies have contingencies in place such as having office-grade facilities at home for employees to work with.

Language Issues

Language issues will persist because perspectives will always be different. How you relay instructions may be perceived differently by people who reside in remote locations. Some may feel intimidated to ask questions because they believe it may be taken against them.

The best approach is to request the remote worker for feedback. Instead of asking if the instructions were understood, ask for the instructions to be fed back to you. More specifically, instruct the remote worker to take you through the entire process.

From there point out mistakes and correct the remote worker. Keep the feedback loop going until you are certain the instructions have been understood 100%.

Cultural Nuances

When you outsource services to a remote location, you should always anticipate cultural nuances to influence the working relationship. Each country has its unique culture which has been shaped over the last few generations. The practices and behaviors of a people are a result of these experiences.

You have to research and develop an understanding of these practices. If you plan to hire virtual assistants or engage the services of a third party provider from the Philippines or India, you have to respect their traditions and practices. These have been inculcated in their values and are part of who they are.

Concerns on Infrastructure

Infrastructure should be a serious concern because it could affect the quality and timeliness of deliverables. The premiere destinations for outsourcing services such as the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Malaysia have been flagged for having slow Internet service.

In the Philippines, many outsourcing services providers use multiple back-ups with some enlisting the services of foreign companies such as PacNet Australia as the primary provider. It is also a standard feature to have 24/7 back-up power in the event of electrical outage.  

Virtual assistants will usually have at least 3mbps primary ISP and 1.5mbps for back up.

Outsourcing services as a strategy has to be subjected to the same risk-reward process for decision-making. Overall, the benefits remain much greater than the risks. The keys are to be prepared before undertaking the venture and ensuring contingencies are in place for any eventualities.

 

outsourcing

5 Valuable Tips in Assembling Your Virtual Team

If you’re planning to diversify your current business and venture into new markets or industries, the most cost and time efficient way is to assemble a virtual team. A virtual team is composed of virtual assistants each one tasked with a specific set of responsibilities related to the group’s purpose.

Here are 5 valuable tips on how to assemble a virtual team for your business:

1. Identify the Skills You Need

Before you start the recruitment process, you have to identify the skills you need for your outsourced service. For example, if you are planning to outsource Digital Marketing the skills should include:

  • Web Designer/ Developer
  • Graphics Designer
  • SEO Professional
  • Social Media Manager
  • Content Writer

Once you have identified the skills, create an individual list of responsibilities for each position. The list will be used to draft their respective “Scope of Work”.

2. Hire a Project Manager

The first position you should hire is a Project Manager for a number of good reasons:

  • The Project Manager will assist you in assembling the virtual team.
  • Start building a strong relationship with the person who will be entrusted to manage your virtual team.
  • Capitalize on the experience of the Project Manager to fine tune your business.

In our previous example, the SEO Professional should be the Project Manager because his or her work carries over to the others. So among all the personalities, it should be the SEO Professional who has a firm understanding on the responsibilities of everyone else.

3. Set Up Job Posts

Create and set up job posts in various networks. Your initial objective is to acquire a list of candidates then slowly qualify them.

Make sure the job posts pose a challenge to the applicants. Here are a few tips on how to craft your job post:

  • Make it exceptionally long; as long as the network would allow.
  • Include a lot of details.
  • Use long, drawn out sentences and large paragraphs.
  • Add a key pre-submission instruction somewhere in the middle of the content.

You job post can help qualify the candidates by helping you determine which applicants read the instructions carefully and thoroughly.

4. Create a Short List of Candidates per Skill

Do not hire the first candidates who submit their applications per skill. Always create a short list of 4 to 5 candidates so you can have the benefit of making performance comparisons.

Check all of their papers thoroughly. It is very important that the candidates include references and copies of their portfolio. Do not treat these submissions only for show.

If contact numbers or e-mails are provided, make the effort to reach out to them. If website links are provided, check the authenticity of the sites.

5. Subject all Candidates to Thorough Testing

Lastly, make sure all of the candidates will be subjected to thorough screening and testing. These include the following:

  • Preliminary interview
  • Test on basic skills
  • Test on technical skills
  • Test on logic and reasoning

Since you are assembling a virtual team, include a group test in the qualifying process. Ask your Project Manager to work with different sets of teams for a paid limited engagement. The Project Manager will assess which ones are able to work well within a team setting.

A virtual team is a great way to expand your business. You can have the important tasks delegated to experienced and highly-skilled people while you shift focus on new business development.

 

How to find an amazing villa for your next holiday

How to find an amazing villa for your next holiday

I need to make this a great ordeal for the women and men out there. Nothing more awful than booking the wrong villa and your significant other’s desires going downhill. It will make for to a greater extent an occasion from damnation as opposed to heaven.

1.Narrow your inquiry down

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Make beyond any doubt you search for private estates. This takes a tiny bit of time after relying upon zone there may be numerous properties yet, in the long run, it should be possible. When you are signed in into the Airbnb site,

  • Check the case that says the whole place
  • Property sort – estate
  • More channels: type in a pool

2. Pay attention

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Make beyond any doubt you look through the photographs. I know inside pictures are vital yet for me by and by the outside are significantly more essential. If I am searching for an amicable or private occasion, I need to ensure there is practically zero plausibility of somebody seeing me. Numerous cutting edge villa will have different houses beside them, or it will be with an open greenery enclosure. These are entirely pointless to me since I can’t sunbathe. So I ensure I investigate the photographs and attempt and discover photos of various points to watch that there is a high divider, or it is in a free territory.

3. Request information

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If you discover a property you like, however, you don’t think there are sufficient photographs or data ensure you email the proprietor. You can ask that they give extra information about the zone or how private it is. Large portions of these properties will oblige you to lease an auto so ensure you have all the essential archives also.

4. Reviews

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Always check if there are audits accessible for the property you require. Surveys can be exceptionally talented and no big surprise they are more trusted than whatever else. They give you extraordinary data about the property, the region, and the host. You can discover practically 50% of your inquiries just by perusing audits. It additionally demonstrates to you that the property and the proprietor are real. Airbnb screens each property and they have measures set up to secure you and the host anyway it pay to be watchful. On the off chance that you can’t discover audits for the property on Airbnb do a google look, as a rule, you will find extra data.

5. Appreciate and Reciprocate

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Airbnb is a group so once you have returned from your vacation survey the property and the proprietor. It is awesome for you to have a review on your profile for your next occasion and by assessing you are giving data to different explorers like yourself. I work with the mantra what comes around goes around.

Four reasons why you should invest in Spanish real estate

Four reasons why you should invest in Spanish real estate

The draw of going to Spain is verifiable and property financial specialists everywhere throughout the world at the end of the day have Spain on their radar as a nation to put resources into property. In spite of the fact that the budgetary atmosphere has been trying in Spain in the course of the most recent five years, specialists in the monetary and land ventures concur that now is an incredible time to put resources into Spanish property.

Attractive Property Prices

The cost of properties in the course of the most recent five years have dropped by right around half, as indicated by specialists in the field. The decrease in costs changes relying upon the sort and area of the land property. Regardless, the costs are low, which gives a lucrative money related chance to financial specialists. This incorporates main living places, occasion homes and business improvements, for example, shopping centers.

An Increase in International Investors

Following quite a while of breaking down the Spanish commercial center, there are more than two hundred speculators who are keen on putting resources into the Spanish property market. With more interest in the framework in Spain, more employments will get to be accessible after some time. As the economy enhances, the land market, including the rental business sector, will increment considerably.

Increased Partnerships with Foreign Investors

In case you’re occupied with buying the business or private land in Spain, there are numerous chances to join forces with remote speculators. Key organizations with remote financial specialists will help you to extend your speculation so that your capital venture increments considerably. This will permit you to purchase significantly more property than you would have the capacity to all alone, while as yet keeping up administrative self-sufficiency.

Increased Profitability

Not just have costs dropped significantly on Spanish land in the most recent five years, the net revenue has additionally expanded drastically. The arrival on property ventures is twofold what they are in most other European nations right now.

The present land commercial center in Spain offers the astute property financial specialist a significantly higher profit rate for his or her venture than in earlier years. The danger is additionally higher, yet as the economy balances out in Spain, the arrival on a venture will even now net a nice looking return.