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3 Key Oversights in Outsourcing

3 Key Oversights in Outsourcing


Outsourcing is business strategy that continues to gain popularity on a global scale. More companies are entering into outsourcing services agreements because it has been proven to lower costs while improving productivity. But there are engagements that fail because of these 3 key oversights in outsourcing.

1. Contracts

Contracts are often looked as a “necessary evil” in business. When a client meets the outsourcing service provider for the first time, relations are pleasant and professional. However, discussions always become more serious in tone when it comes to contracts.

A contract contains provisions intended to protect the interest of both parties which is why it goes back and forth in the negotiation process. The purpose of the contract is to have a legal reference point as bases to resolve issues that have been raised in the duration of the engagement.  

Your contract should contain details on the following provisions:

  • Scope of Work
  • Obligations of the Client
  • Obligations of the Service Provider
  • Mode of Payment
  • Grounds for Pre-Termination of Contract

The contract is issued by the Client to the Service Provider. It has to be signed by an authorized representative from each party. Attachments include copies of valid passports from each signatory and the bank coordinates of the Service Provider. The signed contract will be notarized by the Client and a hard copy provided to the Service Provider.

2. Research

One of the biggest mistakes by first-time clients of outsourcing is lack of research. It’s not enough to read online material and feel secure of your knowledge on outsourcing.

You should extend your research methodologies to actual interviews with companies or people who have experienced outsourcing. If you are able to arrange sit- down meetings with them, bring in key personnel from your group and procure as much information as you can.

They will share their pitfalls, oversights and other common mistakes. They may even offer advice on how to shore up outsourcing operations. Make sure you bring personnel designated to handle recruitment, training, operations and IT during the meeting.

The information you get will be used to firm up your comprehensive project study on outsourcing. It should include studies on the market, the feasibility of the project and financial benchmarks.

3. Due Diligence

You will often come across a few former outsourcing clients who will discourage you from the planned venture. They will say outsourcing did not deliver the expected results and in fact led to huge losses.

If you breakdown the reasons the outsourcing arrangement did not work out, it will come down to one thing: lack of due diligence.

The global outsourcing industry is a business with an assessed value of US$250 Billion. Its market value has grown by as much as 142% over the last 15 years. Many businesses want a piece of that outsourcing pie; even unscrupulous, shady companies.

Before you even meet with any outsourcing services provider, you have to conduct due diligence. Contact the regulating agency in its state and ask for referrals or a list of members in good standing. A simple Google search may yield surprising results.

Outsourcing is a great strategy for developing business despite periods of economic uncertainty. But it is still an arrangement between 2 parties with distinct business interests. Do not be complacent; make sure all stones are overturned before finalizing the outsourcing arrangement.


5 Tips on How to Improve Communication with Your Virtual Assistant



Communication is a vital component for any business to succeed especially if you hire a Virtual Assistant. You have to make sure instructions are well understood and there are no questions on the project. Otherwise, miscommunication could lead to very risky and costly mistakes. Here are 5 tips to improve communication with your Virtual Assistant.

1. Establish the Scope of Work

Miscommunication arises if there is misunderstanding. It’s one thing to verbally dictate what the scope of operations is and another to have it formalized as a formal document.

Once you’ve hired your Virtual Assistant, provide a copy of the Scope of Work. Discuss each item in detail and give the Virtual Assistant opportunities to ask questions or clarify.

2. Set Up the Best Communication Systems

When you are working in the virtual world, close collaboration can be a challenge. It’s different when you don’t share the same space as the person you are working with. You have to trust that the Virtual Assistant is clear on the project details or scope of work.

Occasionally you should check in or set a schedule during the day or the week where you can discuss the progress of work with the Virtual Assistant. If an audio-video meeting is not possible, make sure other media will be available.

As a rule always have 3 communication media accessible for the Virtual Assistant. This should be e-mail, chat support and audio-video services.

3. Ask For Feedback

You could have a Virtual Assistant who tends to be on the quiet side. He or she may not request for clarification on your instructions even if these were not properly understood.

At worst, the Virtual Assistant may continue to work based on his or her understanding of the instructions. This may cost you more time and money.

The best approach would be to request feedback from the Virtual Assistant. Ask the Virtual Assistant to relay the instructions back to you in sequence. While the Virtual Assistant is taking you through the process, you should point out any misunderstanding.

Feedback is like role-playing or role- reversal. But it is an effective way of ensuring the instructions are clear.

4. Follow Up with a Written Summary

After you meet with your Virtual Assistant, ask him or her to send you a written summary of the meeting. This is like the “minutes of the meeting”.

It is another way of securing feedback only this time it is in written format. Review the minutes and call the attention of the Virtual Assistant for any mistakes in the summary.

5. Get to Know Your Virtual Assistant

Probably the most effective way of minimizing the incidence of miscommunication is get to know your Virtual Assistant better.

This is especially true if your Virtual Assistant is from a remote location such as the Philippines and India; 2 of the leading countries for outsourced services, but where social and cultural nuances may lead to frequent miscommunication.

It will take more than one informal discussion to have a deeper grasp of the language and culture. Thus, the more often you engage the Virtual Assistant in an informal setting the better your understanding of how he or she thinks and behaves.

A Virtual Assistant will make your work easier and less stressful. You can definitely become more productive. The key is to make sure there is clear understanding between you and the Virtual Assistant on the things that have to be done.


3 Benefits of Outsourcing Services for Small Businesses

3 Benefits of Outsourcing Services for Small Businesses


Running a small business has its own unique set of challenges but these can be managed simply by outsourcing services. When you are starting out, you have to make sure you can manage risks because the future remains greatly uncertain. There are many benefits that you can realize by outsourcing services but these are the top 3 that will have a productive contribution to the success of your business:

1. Manage Your Capital

Small business owners have limited capital and access to funding. They have to keep track of their outflows while the business is still trying to gain traction.

By outsourcing services such as administrative tasks, back office support and more specialized, technical work the small business can stretch out its budget.

Outsourcing saves you more money because you are capitalizing on comparative cost advantages that exist. Labor is the most significant cost advantage and you can save 40% simply by outsourcing services to third party providers.

2. Focus on Core Competencies

Small business owners should focus on functions that work on generating revenue. If you are in real estate, you should spend more time meeting prospective clients and showing them properties for sale.

You will not be able to allocate time on these activities if you are tied down in the office filtering e-mails, updating lists, taking phone calls, preparing presentation materials or contracts and scheduling the payment of your bills.

At the same time, you will be able to improve on the quality of work especially if the outsourced tasks do not fall under your core competencies. For example, social media marketing is a skill that requires time, effort and expertise. “Time” alone disqualifies you from managing your social media campaign.

3. Level the Playing Field

If you want to be number 1 in your industry, you have to match up with the best. These are usually the more established giants who have been in the business for a long time. Due to their success, they have the resources to explore new territory and expand their business.

When you outsource, you level the playing field. You are able to expand your operation and scale the business faster while incurring manageable expenses.

For example, you are a retailer of fashion apparel. You can outsource these services to scale up your business:

  • Outbound services
  • Telemarketing
  • Surveys
  • After-sales support
  • Customer support
  • Inbound support
  • E-mail support
  • Chat support
  • Back office services
  • Accounting
  • IT
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • E-mail marketing
  • SEO

The cost to your operation will be minimal. If you were to outsource these services to a remote location like the Philippines, you would only spend US$9 to US$12 per hour and this includes salary, benefits, rent, power, Internet and contingencies.

In developed countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, average wage rate alone is already at US$18 to US$20 per hour.

All in all, small businesses should consider outsourcing services because it reduces your risks while improving your outlook for income generation. It is the best and definitely, most efficient way of running your small business.

How to Achieve Balance in Life and Work with a Virtual Assistant



A Virtual Assistant is proof positive that technology can never replace humans. Despite its evolution and light year advances, there has not been a single creation of technology that can add more hours to the day. You will always have 24 hours.

Technology has succeeded in making it possible for you to do more things in one hour. Thus, technology has presented a dichotomy: it has made work efficient but people are busier than ever before.

Case in point: the phrase “multi-tasking” came about as technology became more compact, convenient and mobile. The mobile phone wasn’t just for calling; now you could run your entire business with it.

So you will often meet people who say (or complain) about the following:

“I missed my son’s soccer game and my daughter’s dance performance.”

“I put on so much weight because I don’t have time to exercise.”

“I can’t make it to your wedding because I have so much work to do.”

Time has become the crux of your situation. Even with the latest smart phone or tablet, time remains at 24 hours. And unless you don’t sleep, you only have 16 to 18 hours to do everything that needs to get done in one day.

If technology can’t help you find life and work balance the Virtual Assistant can:

1. Delegate work

Hiring a Virtual Assistant will free you up valuable time to directly attend to the things that need your immediate attention. This way your day becomes more productive. The more tasks you accomplish in 1 day, the fewer tasks you will have to do for the week. This will leave you more time for non-work related activities.

Your health is very important and you should always find time in the day to exercise. Business icons such as Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg always find time to exercise and so should you. Delegating work will find you the 1 hour you need to visit your local gym.

2. Manage your business.

Do you have an anniversary to attend to? Is your child about to perform her first piano recital? These are milestones that you should not miss out on. Once gone, you can never get them back the following year. When events such as these present themselves, simply trust your Virtual Assistant to manage your business. You’re only talking about a few hours. Authors Tim Ferris and Michael Hyatt leave their businesses to virtual assistants for weeks and look how their businesses turned out!

3. Conduct personal services.

Even though virtual assistants are tasked to perform business responsibilities, you can ask them to assist you in personal matters from time to time. For example, you could ask the Virtual Assistant to search for the best steak house in your state and make a dinner reservation for the family. You could also ask the Virtual Assistant to book your flight including lodging accommodations. These are a few personal services that you can request on occasion.

When you have a Virtual Assistant onboard, you will finally get to breathe and experience life once again! If you have only 16 hours in a day, you should get to live in it and not simply exist.

The Virtual Assistant: The Secret to Your Success

The Virtual Assistant: The Secret to Your Success

You may not see the Virtual Assistant unless you have an audio-video conference. But 100% he or she is working as you are and making sure your business remains on track for success.

Virtual assistants are highly experienced, have great expertise, skilled and talented. It is no wonder that even the largest companies are starting to include virtual assistants in their workforce!

Here are 4 reasons why the Virtual Assistant could be the secret to your success:

  1. More Productive Time.

When you have a Virtual Assistant, you clear your plate with tasks that are important but otherwise non-essential. Among these include functions such as e-mail filtering, appointment setting and scheduling payment of bills. These are important tasks but are time-consuming.

By delegating these tasks to your virtual assistant, you will be able to allocate more time to activities that are related to generating money for your business.

Thus instead of spending the first hour of your morning filtering e-mail you can schedule it for more productive activity such as business meetings, preparing for presentation or attending to client calls.

Your focus on these revenue generating activities will also be greater as you can be assured the Virtual Assistant is overseeing the other tasks and responsibilities of your business.

2. Manage Costs More Efficiently.

Virtual assistants are the most efficient option for businesses that need different areas covered. Unlike Full Time Employees or FTEs, virtual assistants are paid per productive hour. If they are not working, they are not paid. An FTE is paid even when he or she takes coffee breaks.

Virtual assistants are contracted not hired full-time. You are not obligated to pay virtual assistants benefits or overtime pay unlike an FTE. It is estimated that you can save up to 40% on compensation and incremental costs on operations by hiring virtual assistants over FTEs.

3. Scale Business Faster.

The Virtual Assistant can shift the balance of power to your favor when you are competing with the giants in the industry. If you are a small business owner chances are you will not have the capitalization to match the resources of big business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t scale your business.

Once you business has gained traction, set up a virtual team. This will be composed of virtual assistants tasked to cover different areas of your business while you look to explore new prospects or boundaries. You should designate one of the virtual assistants as a Project Manager.

4. More “Me” Time.

Having more time for yourself could potentially be the biggest reason why virtual assistants are the secret to the success of many businesses.

Entrepreneurs could be hard-working to a fault. They don’t realize that eventually it will come to a point where every incremental unit of effort would lead to diminishing returns. But still, they refuse to ease up on the gas pedal thinking that a foregoing work would mean lost opportunities.

A Virtual Assistant can ensure that no opportunities are lost. You only have to develop a clear plan of communication to make sure you remain on top of the situation even if you’re not actively involved in the business.

Thus, you can take a few hours off the normal course of business and attend to non-related but otherwise important functions such as:

  • Attending to family matters
  • Taking care of personal errands
  • Exercise
  • Get much needed rest

You can also take a vacation to recharge the batteries. When you get back, your business will remain functional.

However the change is you will have greater focus, motivation and a renewed commitment to become more successful than you ever have been.

5 Large Impact Styling Tips to Help Sell Your Small Apartment


It’s not easy to sell rooms most especially small flats. Buyers will always look for something spacious. What you don’t know is that there are ways to give an excellent impression with those people who are looking at your unit. Check these fantastic tips to help you with your long awaited sale.

1. Make Space

Making your flat spacious in the eyes of the buyer is a big key to being successful on the sale. When you are about to present your unit to a possible buyer, it helps if you will use a variety of small furniture. It will give your apartment the illusion of being bigger than the actual size.

2. Brighten Your Flat

A small amount of investment will not do you any harm. If the location of your unit does not get good lighting, get some lights changed. If you give your apartment a bright aura, it can create a good impression with your prospected buyer.

3. The Scent

No one would be giddy to close the deal if you can smell something inside the unit that is literally fishy. It’s going to be a major turn off. Make sure you take advantage of a humidifier before letting anyone inside your apartment.

4. Make the first impression last

It is essential that the buyer will see how you value the unit. Think it in a way like it’s going to be your first date. Dress to impress, right? Same goes for the first time that your potential buyer can see the whole flat. Everything should be crystal clear. Added tip for you is to make use of spotless white linens.

5. Fix it Up

We cannot avoid having some broken things inside the unit. It could be the shower, bathroom door knobs or even the kitchen cabinets. If you want to get your sale, have the broken stuff fixed before you even think of letting people visit the place. No one would want to buy something broken. You can risk it, though, but I’m giving you a heads up. Be ready for the haggling spree in relation with the broken things.


apartments hacks infographic

4 tips to make a home buyer instantly fall in love


Selling a home can be a long and tiring process. You will get tons of visits from prospected buyers. Haggling all the time but will delay the purchase giving you time to give in to their demands. It’s not a walk in the park, but there are some tips to let them fall in love with your house at first sight. Let’s ponder on these secrets.

1. General Cleaning


You want your house at its best. It’s a tough task so don’t hesitate to call for help if needed. Make sure that every part of the house is sparkling clean. No buyer would be delighted to see old stains in your kitchen sink. Keep unnecessary things packed. Yes, that’s not what a house looks like in reality but keeping it simple yet super clean will show the buyers their dream house.

2. No Pets Allowed

We all know that your pets are friendly enough that they would like to greet the guests, but it’s a no. Hide them for a bit. Animal lover or not, it will not give a good impression if they can already smell your pets even before opening the main door.

3. Patch Things Up


Make you home look brand new. Prospective buyers would not want something that they think will just need more time and money to repair. Worn out carpets and flooring won’t help you with the same. Invest in getting a new rug so they will see how well is the maintenance of the house.

4. Paint Away

Painting is always a good remedy to get your buyers drawn to the property. It will give the home a brand new vibe that can attract those prospects to actual buyers. Spend a little on the paint and get your sale the soonest.

Top 5 ways to increase the value of your home


The current state of your home will dictate its market value. If you are trying to sell, you want to raise the value of your home as much as possible. It’s not impossible. There are ways to add more value to your home so you can get a good price for it.

1. Ask The Expert

You can seek assistance from either a realtor or a designer. They can point out what’s the best way to improve your home. Experts are very reliable when it comes to these things.

2. Inspect and Replace

You need to make a thorough evaluation in your home. It’s like getting an executive check-up for you. You need to know what is wrong so you can do some damage control. Broken fixtures should be fixed. No imperfection in the house should be visible to your buyers.

3. Pace Your Space

Make your home spacious enough. It is a fact that you can’t change the actual measurement of the property, but there are a lot of things you can do to maximize the space in your home. You need to make some room so that prospected buyers can have an area of imagination.

4. Bathroom Enthusiast

If you don’t have all the money to do a major renovation for a better market value for your home, there is still a way. You can focus on just one part. I would vote for the bathroom. The bathroom gives the impression in what kind of people lived in the house.

5. Clean Up

It doesn’t matter if it’s the living space, den or the lawn. Clean it and keep things tidy. Buyers seeing a neat and tidy home show a better percentage of being bought. Place yourself on the buyers’ side. Will you purchase a property that’s all messy and dirty? I don’t think so.

Enjoy the tips and let market value of your home skyrocket to success.