Are you debating whether or not to outsource your PA work? Hopefully, our guide should help you make that decision.
What are the general benefits of outsourcing?
First things first, we’re going to take a look at the main benefits of outsourcing PA services. After that, we’ll look at the some of the key areas within a business that can profit as a result.
So, what are the direct benefits of outsourcing PA services?
1. It gives you immediate access to the best talent
Finding skilled PA staff can be tough work, and you can never be sure who’ll benefit your company and who won’t.
By outsourcing your work, you can pick and choose who you work with, and end the business relationship without hassle should things not work out for you.
Learn how to hire the right virtual assistant for your business.
Then, when you find the right person, you can stick with them for as long as it suits your company. Essentially, it's a much more flexible approach to staffing.
2. It’s the sensible financial option
Full-time employees can be expensive. As well as salary payments, you’ll also have to contribute to NI, pensions, workplace consumables and so forth.
Download our analysis of how business can save by outsourcing.
When you outsource, you have a flat fee and that’s it, and the fee will be much lower than a full-time salary.
For growing businesses that simply aren’t ready to take on full employees, outsourcing is the best financial option.
3. It’ll take the work off your hands
No growing business has time to focus on the little things, but the little things do have to get done. Market research, data entry, emails, arranging meetings…
By passing it all on, you’ll save yourself a huge amount of time and effort. What’s more, cheaper outsourcing costs will mean that you can use that free time for the activities that make the real money.
4. You’ll be able to focus
Running a successful business in 2017 requires a great deal of mental focus, the sort of mental focus that’s easily ruined by having to deal with little, fiddly tasks.
When you get rid of those routine tasks, you’ll be amazed by how much time you have to focus on the things that really matter, such as customer service, effective marketing, managing your staff, and so on.
5. You won’t miss any leads
If you outsource PA work, one of the major benefits is being able to offer 24/7 customer service response.
In today’s world, it’s not uncommon to do business with worldwide clients, and an outsourced team will be able to take and field enquiries from around the world, even while you’re sleeping.
6. You’ll get more done
It might seem like a more obvious point, but it’s worth re-iterating: by outsourcing your day-to-day tasks, you’ll have more free time and as a result, you’ll be able to work on the things that make a bigger difference to your bottom line.
Too many business leaders let themselves get bogged down in things that might be necessary, but don’t actually help their businesses grow.
There are only so many hours in the day, but effective outsourcing can help you free some up.
7. You can scale as and when
Business growth is rarely completely linear. Usually, you’ll have quiet periods followed by periods of big expansion. Outsourcing will enable you to manage this process more effectively, as you won’t have to worry about managing multiple new hires at once. Instead, you can take PA staff on as and when you need them to manage day-to-day tasks.
However fast your growth is, you'll only ever need to hire in the key areas which PA work won't affect.
8. You’ll enjoy a better life-work balance
Let’s face it, no-one starts a business because they want to work 14 hours a day.
However, many business leaders fall into the trap when – with a small investment – they could enjoy all the benefits of running a company without having to sacrifice that most valuable resource: time.
Read our CEO's top 5 tips for work-life balance.
The funny thing is, it’s those smaller tasks that tend to take up all the time, especially if you’re not naturally skilled at managing them.
By outsourcing, you’ll be able to finish your work for the day and head home, rather than having to load up a spreadsheet and start doing the grunt work.
How can outsourced PA staff help you?
Outsourced staff can benefit your business in a number of different ways, and we'll go through some of the key ones here.
If travel forms an essential part of your business, an effective PA could save you huge amounts of time and effort. Learn about our travel management services.
The simple fact is that any kind of international – or long-distance local – travel takes a lot of organisation. You’ll have to focus on sorting out flights (or train journeys), public transport tickets, booking accommodation, making sure necessary travel documents are dealt with and so on.
And, of course, you’ve got to make sure that every aspect of the travelling process ties up. Essentially, you have to operate like someone organising a package holiday!
If you have multiple employees that travel regularly – as part of a sales team, for instance – organising the whole thing can quickly turn into a full-time job.
By outsourcing the process, your business will become more efficient. For less than the cost of a full-time employee, you can have your travel needs completely taken care of. All your transport needs booked, rooms hired and documentation arranged.
All your employees need to do is get up and go.
It’s also worth noting that outsourcing is more flexible. For example, if you find that your travel needs as a business go down, you can simply stop the service. This is a lot easier than having to deal with having to make people unemployed.
Once you reach management level, one of the biggest challenges is trying to get everything done in the most efficient way possible. Effective diary management can be a huge help, and it can be a real time saver when outsourced. Learn about our diary management services.
External PA staff can help:
• Schedule appointments, reviews and other meetings
• Organise refreshments and lunches
• Produce minutes of any meetings
• Help manage any cancellations
And so on. Essentially, your whole schedule can be completely outsourced and managed by someone else, leaving you free to get stuck into your day-to-day work.
This can make a big difference to productivity for anyone in a senior position, where a lot of the stress and distraction comes from having to jump back and forth between a range of little, minor tasks. Outsource those things, and you’ll be able to focus on what matters.
Some industries rely heavily on research, such as those in marketing or finance. However, research is one of those tasks that you only need every so often. As a result, it can be tough to invest in full-time staff knowing they might not be required a lot of the time. Learn about our research services.
Outsourcing is an excellent option in this area. You’ll be able to access the research you need, when you need it, for much less than the cost of hiring full-time staff.
You can outsource almost any kind of research, from information on the preferences of different demographics to existing customer education levels. Essentially, as long as the information is out there, it can be researched. All you have to do then is wait to receive the information.
Knowledge is power, and by outsourcing your research you can get a head start on your competitors.
Bookkeeping can be an absolute burden if you’re not inclined to that sort of work. No surprise, then, that it’s one of the most commonly outsourced tasks in business. Learn about our bookkeeping services.
Keeping financial records can be very complicated in certain industries. A coffee shop, for instance, might have hundreds of transactions every day, every one of which must be logged and calculated. Indeed, for some companies, keeping financial records could extend each working day by several hours.
By outsourcing the process, you’ll be able to take your daily information and pass it on to someone else, safe in the knowledge that everything is being taken care of. Meanwhile, you can get on with actually running your business.
Then, at the end of the year, you can pass this information from your PA straight over to your accountant and let them take care of your assessment.
For smaller firms, dealing with finances is one of the biggest time and energy burdens, and letting someone else take care of it can be a real relief.
All offices have some admin to take care of, and the bigger the company, the more there is to do. Learn about our admin services.
However, admin is another one of those tasks where there is inevitably ebb and flow: some weeks there will be tonnes of it, other weeks will be quieter. Outsourcing allows you to adjust your finances depending on your needs at the time, and again it gives you a flexibility that hiring employees simply doesn’t.
Admin covers a range of bases, including:
• Email and phone support
• Calendar management
• Data entry and spreadsheets
As well as a number of others. Finding a full-time employee with knowledge and experience in all of these tasks can be tough, which is another benefit of outsourcing. As long as you find the right outsourcing company, you’re guaranteed versatile skills and – more importantly – the knowledge that your PA has been there and done that.
Effective outsourcing can do wonders for your business and can save you a substantial amount of time and energy.
How to find an outsource supplier
Outsourcing is a great way to cut costs, spread risk and access expertise.
Here's what you should look for in an outsourced supplier:
Quality and Reliability
The quality of your supplier will have a direct impact on the performance of your business as a whole. After all, your customers will only see your end-product or service. Also ensure that they offer a reliable service. If you are let down by their services, you risk disappointing your customers.
Experience in their sector is essential; the right supplier should know how to deliver services in your industry, or at least have experience in delivering services similar to those you are searching for. Ask for references!
Speed and Flexibility
Your outsourced supplier must be able to respond to the changing needs of your business. They should be flexible enough to adapt to these needs and any emergencies that may arise. Essentially, they should be an extension of your team.
Value = benefit / cost, therefore receiving value for money does not necessarily mean going with the cheapest option. Decide how much you are willing to pay for support - strike a balance between cost, quality, reliability and service.
A supplier's culture encapsulates what they stand for. For example, their customs and common behaviors. If your supplier operates in a way similar to your own, you will be working towards goals that are alike.
You need to be able to communicate well with your outsourced suppler. They should be in contact with you on a regular basis to find out your current needs and how they will be able to better support you in the future.
If you’re interested in finding out more, get in touch with us today, we’d love to help.