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Help! I Need Business Help

Wednesday, January 26, 2011   By Mike Reddy

 

One of the biggest challenges faced by most businesses is sourcing help in a reliable, timely and affordable way.  It’s neither practical nor desirable – and often not even possible – to employ people with the expertise in all the areas your business needs.  At the same time you need to operate in a professional way.

Businesses and people like to do business with professionals

Open the door to the Virtual Assistant. Your aim should be to outsource non-core business processes, like bookkeeping, in-bound calls, typing, etc. to a professional person, well equipped to perform these tasks for you in a cost-effective manner. You won’t have to provide office space, equipment, computer, heating, etc. for virtual assistants. They might be part of an organization that specializes in this service and has its own equipment, or they might work from home. Either way you get the benefits of a fully qualified professional working in your business. You will find that even having your phone answered in a professional manner makes a lot of difference to your business.  Keeping up with your bookkeeping so you know where you are at any given time, is vital to managing it successfully. It allows you to recognize emerging problems with cash flow or other issues early enough to do something about them.  All this will make your business much more professional – and provide you with the time and resources to grow.

Virtual workers can be sourced from temp agencies or from contracting firms. Visit the internet for sites such as www.elance.com which offers expert programmers, designers, coders, writers, developers, translators, marketers, researchers and admin contractors with tested skills. These relationships could be for finite time periods or projects, or just to fill a gap due to full time team member’s temporary absence - they are limited by time or project. So again you can afford to bring in professionals to perform tasks for you or your clients.

Since they are variable costs rather than fixed, permanent costs, when the project is completed the contract for your temp-workers, contractors finishes too, so it’s a useful tool for your cost management. If times are harder for your business and you need to reduce costs it is generally easier and faster to terminate a virtual assistant.  If you need to terminate an arrangement early then it’s good practice (as well as courteous) to explain the reason for your decision to your virtual worker or supplier.  The day may come when your business is doing better and you might want to start working with your virtual assistant again. It’s worth the thought that the contractor you hire today may hire you tomorrow on a project he or she is working on - networking is the way to go.

Employing people full time should only be considered for essential, ongoing and full-time work, this way you can provide a more secure workplace for your permanent team members - and maintain a less stressful working environment that allows you to meet your customer demands without working around the clock at tasks that are necessary but not core to your business.


Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.