Free up your time by outsourcing clerical, creative, or technical work to someone who can work with you and do these tasks remotely. Hire a virtual assistant so you can give 100% attention to your core responsibilities.
A virtual assistant is essentially like an administrative assistant or secretary but a lot more cost-effective since it is usually offered by offshore outsourcing companies. With virtual assistants, you are free from overhead costs, employee-related taxes, and logistic concerns. You only pay for the service provided to you.
Here are some of the tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant.
For the general tasks, you will need a virtual assistant who has strong organizational and communication skills and experience with data entry and research, as well as proficiency in digital and online tools such as navigating the internet, emails, and messaging apps. Of course, for the specialized services, you would need a virtual assistant who has knowledge and experience with the corresponding job.
Hiring an individual or a team of virtual assistants through outsourcing firms in the Philippines like MicroSourcing gives you access to a competitive pool of Filipino talents who are fluent in the English language and has a strong affinity with Western culture. Grow your business more effectively; learn more about the virtual assistant services you can acquire from MicroSourcing.
Business process outsourcing (BPO) proves to have significant benefits in cash flow, operations, and logistics. However, having an offshore third party provider also comes with risks that when managed poorly, can cause major damage to your business.
According to Exigen Services CEO Alec Miloslavsky, outsourcing risks are generally divided into three:
Reducing outsourcing risks is a continuous practice that starts during the decision-making process on choosing the right outsourcing partner and continues throughout the course of the partnership. The decision-making stage is the perfect time to define the risks and plan how to minimize them. Along the way, as your outsourcing partnership develops, reducing outsourcing risks becomes a shared responsibility.
On your end, here are the ways you can successfully reduce outsourcing risks.
Ask for a trial
Among the potential outsourcing partners you have shortlisted, a trial of the services you require can ultimately help you decide the right outsourcing firm to go with. A trial saves you from impulsively finalizing agreements and contracts and lets you put potential partners to test without commitment.
Identify your goals and set checkpoints
In outsourcing, you can delegate tasks in volumes that depend on your budget and confidence in having your business processes outsourced. You have the option to break down your projects and outsource them by task; or when you outsource a long-term project, set progressive milestones and checkpoints to keep track of the project's progress and its deliverables. Identify your objectives and goals for each project and share your expectations with your outsourcing partner.
In addition to communicating your objectives and expectations with your outsourcing provider, it is also important that you define quality standards and set key performance indicators (KPIs) for your offshore outsourced team. These can help you have a measurable gauge to analyze how well they are performing.
Your outsourcing provider should be explicit with their methodology. Ask them about how they manage and execute projects and find out if they have the flexibility to adjust and scale their processes to your own set of standards. Changes and demands in the market and the industry constantly varies and it is important that you have a partner that is agile to changes.
Obtain raw files, not just the final product
The main point of outsourcing is delegating business functions to vendors that have the experience and right skillset. Thus, you might only be interested in the final product or deliverable and you might not find the raw files useful. But look at the big picture. What happens when you decide to change your outsourcing partner? Obtaining the raw files will allow your new vendor to take over or make changes to the project easily and without having to start from scratch.
Make your provider sign an NDA
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) protects your business and bounds your outsourcing partner under a contract to keep your projects confidential. When you outsource a production job, such as app development or creative work, it is your privilege as an outsourcing client to have the product white-labeled. The signed NDA will not only protect trade secrets and proprietary knowledge, but it will also keep your outsourcing partner from revealing that they work with you and which of your projects they are working on or have worked on.
Outsourcing involves two parties: you and your outsourcing partner. And as any partnership goes, both of you should have accountability for accurate process execution. As we mentioned, reducing outsourcing risks is a shared responsibility. When something goes wrong, both parties will be affected and therefore should work together to cultivate a collaborative relationship.
Thursday, November 23, 2017 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
How do you manage customer issues in your company?
For many companies, it means setting up an issue tracking system (ITS) in place to help the support team manage and keep track of issues from beginning to end when they finally get resolved.
An ITS is especially helpful for companies who provide IT support services to customers and businesses. Also referred to as a ticket management system, an ITS is a piece of software that organizes information in a central location to make it easier for your team to offer support and resolve customer issues so that your customers remain happy with using your products.
But even with a ticket management system in place, many businesses still have a hard time managing technical support queries due to problems with poor process management, messy workflow and lack of training. Poor customers support can lead to your business losing valuable customers.
An effective ticket management system is vital not only to the support team but also to the success of your overall business. Here are 5 ways to maximize your ticket management system and make it work for your team:
The best customer support is one that can quickly provide solutions and make customers feel important. It looks like a simple process on the outside, but there's a lot of operations that should always be kept in top shape to ensure an efficient ticket management system. And if you need an outsourcing company, MicroSourcing is here to provide great quality of service that will help boost your business performance.
Startups and small businesses tend to want to take control over everything – for them, it is easier to monitor progress when you keep it in-house. However, delegation is a practice that is essential to achieve real business growth. When you have a small team, it is not ideal to juggle tasks. Handling many different responsibilities will distract you from your core business competencies.
When delegating work, know that this doesn't always mean that you have to hire more staff. Expanding your in-house staff can be costly. Allocate your resources instead to scaling up your business and delegate work by outsourcing them.
Outsourcing is a cost-effective solution that gives you access to a highly skilled workforce without having to worry about the additional costs and logistics concerns that come with it – you only have to pay for the service you require.
Additionally, outsourcing offers various flexible options to help you get started with delegation. You can start with outsourcing specific tasks first to test how it works for you. As you gain more confidence with outsourcing and with your outsourcing partner, you can gradually outsource larger projects and arrange for a long-term partnership.
The success and the continuous growth of the outsourcing industry can be partially attributed to the wide range of services different outsourcing companies offer. Nowadays, you can outsource almost anything; you can start with outsourcing administrative tasks to a virtual assistant or outsource different back-office departments such as finance and accounting, recruitment and human resources, and IT. There are also outsourcing services for marketing, creatives and production, as well as customer service.
Deciding when it's time to outsource varies from case to case. Essentially, you need to assess your team's current workload and identify the areas that need more focus. Based on your priorities, would you have enough time and manpower to handle all of them with equal dedication? If your answer is no, then the higher level priorities should be handled by your team and outsource the other tasks, with the volume of work to be outsourced depending on urgency and your budget.
You should also identify the areas that need special skills that your team lack. Obviously, you need to outsource these projects to gain access to professionals with the right skills and resources to get the job done.
Overcome stagnation and delegate parts of your business processes. Consider outsourcing work to third-company providers that offer outsourcing services with the managed operations approach. With managed operations, you will have full control over your outsourced operations, with your outsourcing partner serving as your representative in supervising your external team.
by: Sidney Liquigan
Monday, November 20, 2017 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
We can't stress enough how outsourcing might just be the key for your company to save money, expand capacity, and have access to extensive resources and specialized expertise for many of your business functions. However, all these can only be achieved if you do it right. Make an outsourcing mistake and the consequences will be critical – it can cause you to waste more time and money, have poor customer service, and even cause your business to fail.
The first step to avoiding outsourcing mistakes is to be aware of them. Here are four of the most common outsourcing mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Going for the cheapest service
Outsourcing generally provides you high-quality solutions at affordable costs. However, choosing an outsourcing provider based on price alone is not always a wise idea. Select your provider through competitive bidding. Review each proposal to see which of the potential vendors will meet your specifications at reasonable costs. Identifying the outsourcing company that you can build a long-term partnership with should also be taken into consideration.
Your in-house team follows a set of guidelines and processes in order for your company to have a streamlined system and to run smoothly. Outsourcing essentially means you are hiring new people. Considering that your outsourcing provider will be working with you remotely, they need to have more guidance in the form of comprehensively documented guidelines and procedures that they can incorporate into their own processes.
The common mistake among companies that outsource is failing to provide enough guidance. Requirements and scope of work should always be clear to help encourage accountability and management of expectations. Defining the project clearly will also help you identify an accurate job description, which in turn will help you find the right provider fit for the job.
Lack of communication
Just because you can delegate work to experts who have specialized skills for the outsourced job, it does not mean you are free from the responsibility of supervising your outsourcing partner. Just as you require your offshore team to be available for correspondence and to be mindful of deadlines, you should also always be reachable so they can receive support and supervision, especially when they need information from you in order to perform their tasks accurately.
Feedback is also an important part of the process. Work with your outsourcing provider in managing your outsourced operations. Regularly provide constructive feedback that will help them identify the areas they need to maintain or improve. Telling them exactly what works and what's not working for you can help them provide better service and achieve the results you expect.
Unfamiliarity with the differences in time zones and cultures
Offshore outsourcing is more efficient and cost-effective than outsourcing to local providers. This entails challenges that lead to misunderstandings. The most common challenge is the cultural and time zone differences. Take time to know and understand your offshore team's values and culture, and their ethics when it comes to work and communicating with clients. Also, understand that your outsourcing partner may be located in a different time zone.
Keep an open mind to these differences and make room for allowances. Communication is the key to building a strong and lasting partnership. Choose an outsourcing provider that is accountable and has the skills and resources you need to add value to your business. At the same time, you should also do your part in being responsible in choosing the right partner and in being a proactive client and supervisor.
Whether you're extending your own company to the Philippines or just outsourcing a part of your operations, partnering with MicroSourcing guarantees that you will receive all the support you need in managing your operations here. Managed operations with MicroSourcing means that we will manage your Filipino team together. You can choose to have your own locally-hired managers or take advantage of our operations managers to serve as your representative in providing training and support to your offshore team.
by: Sidney Liquigan
Thursday, November 16, 2017 | Comments (0)
Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends
According to Gartner, vendor management is "a discipline that enables organizations to control costs, drive service excellence and mitigate risks to gain increased value from their vendors throughout the deal life cycle."
For an outsourcing partnership to work, there are things that both your company and your vendor or service provider should take into consideration. Successful vendor management is not how you are able to get the lowest price or a really good deal. Vendor management is about working and communicating with your outsourcing provider to make arrangements that are valuable to both parties.
Here are some vendor management tips for a mutually successful outsourcing partnership.
Having a clear communication with your outsourcing vendor allows them to serve you better. You don't have to share all confidential information, but just enough to avoid misunderstandings. Share with them key business strategies that involve the product or project they are working on so they can also gain some insight that they can apply in the work that they are doing for you. For your security, make sure that you have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed with your outsourcing vendor.
Communication and Collaboration
It is also important that both parties know and understand each other's priorities. Let the vendors know exactly what you need and give them enough information to allow them to provide the best solution for you. In turn, your vendor should also let you know what you can expect from them and the turnaround time. These concerns should be settled before signing a contract. The scope of work and the timeline must be clear.
Set up regular communications and project management arrangements with your vendor to ensure that agenda and priorities are monitored and on-track. Communication can be done through email and messaging platforms such as Slack or Skype, while agenda and deadlines can be managed through project management systems such as Asana.
Offer Commitment to Gain Commitment
A successful vendor management is when you form an outsourcing partnership with a vendor who will commit to helping you reach your business goals and priorities. In turn, you must also be willing to give your vendors your commitment to work with them. This doesn’t mean that you will agree to their pricing right away. It simply means that both sides should reach an agreeable rate that is reasonable and competitive.
Building a long-term outsourcing partnership can save your more money than constantly changing vendors to look for a cheaper solution. A long-term partnership means consistent service quality. Trust is also stronger with this kind of relationship. Further, it is also easier to reach agreements with a long-term partner that already understands your business, and on the same hand, a partner with a system that you understand and has been customized to adapt your processes.
One of the most common mistakes that startups and small businesses make is not asking for help. Business owners, regardless of scale, will inevitably face challenges along the way. If you think you can make it on your own, it's possible, but the progress will be painfully slow.
According to the Small Business Facts report of SBA, about two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least two years, while about half survive at least five years. Startups fail during the volatile first few years because of low productivity and poor cash flow management – both of which can be solved by outsourcing.
Accounting and bookkeeping are business functions that should be ideally outsourced, especially if you have a small staff and few resources. Hiring an outsourced financial specialist gives you access to a highly skilled expert that has a deep understanding of your industry.
Delegating tasks to a third party provider also offers a refreshing insight from an outsider on how your business can be further improved. Outsourced accountants and bookkeepers will do more than financial reporting; they will also help you identify issues and find ways to improve in those areas and maintain stability in the areas that are doing well.
How do you know if your business needs to outsource accounting? If these red flags apply to your business, then it's time to consider outsourcing.
No existing financial management
Poor financial management, or the lack thereof, will be the number one cause of your company's downfall. Your cash flow plays a big role in making important business decisions. If you have no idea about how your business is doing financially, it’s time to outsource finance and accounting to the experts and get it under control in no time.
You keep track of your finances but cannot interpret the data
Keeping track of your earnings and expenses is a good practice, but not enough to drive your business towards your goals. If you don't know what to do with the data you have and how it can help with creating business strategies, then a financial analyst will help you identify your assets and liabilities and what to do with them.
You need an accountant but don't have the budget
One of the advantages of outsourcing is the processes and project arrangement is tailored to your requirements. You can acquire the services you need only when necessary. The options are also scalable to your budget. You can outsource a specific task to a single person, or hire a team to work within that budget. As your financial situation improves and becomes more stable, you can then increase the capacity of your outsourced team.
Time spent on managing finances makes your productivity suffer
Handling your finances on your own or delegating the tasks to other members of your team who also have other roles is counterproductive. Finance and accounting are time-consuming and require a dedicated specialist to do the job. Outsourcing finance work frees up you and your employees' time to focus on your core business processes and will boost your business efficiency.
In the Philippines, MicroSourcing is a leading outsourcing provider with finance and accounting professionals who are trained in international accounting standards. Outsource your financial processes to us, including payroll, bookkeeping, financial reporting, tax compliance, and more. Contact us to learn how we can help.