Category Archives: Virtual office visionary

Why Outsource?

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street, we outsource some of the services we sell, so we can provide an all-round quality service to our clients and not have numerous distractions thus ensuring we give every client the best possible attention.

We also act for many industry colleagues as they outsource to us, as they don’t all have the opportunity to have an office in Regent Street but can at least extend the facility.

So why outsource ?

From a small company to a big company, from the financial industry to the creative, from a start up to a well-established business there is always more work to do, then time do it in. The answer more and more companies are turning to is outsourcing their work. But for more small businesses it is an essential part of their growth.

 

In a recent poll conducted by The Guardian’s Small Business Network, they were asked whether business readers outsourced work to freelancers. The conclusion; most answered ‘yes’ with 79% saying that “using freelancers is a big part of our business strategy.”

Three Reasons to outsource:

 Control Capital Costs

Cost-cutting is a major factor especially when it comes to paying rent along with all the overheads that come with renting an office. A popular way for small businesses and start-ups to avoid large expenditures but to gain an established persona is by using a Virtual Office, like Hold Everything that is based on London’s prestigious Regent Street.

Reduce Labour Costs

Hiring a full time person for their particular skills can be expensive when running a small company, so most businesses look at outsourcing work to freelancers for this. For example, SEO work is outsourced to a professional or for short-term projects such as admin audits they are given to freelancers. By outsourcing certain work it allows you to focus your human resources where you need them most.

Web platforms like People Per Hour are great to find that specialised individual and look at their work.

Level the playing field

 Most small businesses can’t afford to match the ‘in-house’ support services that bigger companies can afford. Outsourcing can help smaller businesses act “bigger” by giving them access to the same economies of scale, efficiency, and expertise that large companies enjoy.

Outsourcing to ‘Virtual’ Facilities

Virtual PA/Assistant

Companies that are growing will naturally need to employee additional people. But hiring staff adds overheads, not only that but sometimes you don’t really need someone for a ‘full time’ job. Therefore using a Virtual PA/Assistant has many beneficial factors.

  • Reduces costs- You can hire and pay them for the set hours you want the particular business task completed in, instead of paying someone a yearly salary. Along with this you won’t have to invest your money on training someone as the Virtual PA/Assistant you hire for the task in hand should already have the skills set that is required.
  • Saves time – When it is time to hire someone, it is not a quick or easy task. You need to advertise the role (which can cost money), wait for applications (takes time) then look at applied CV’s, shift through them and arrange interviews. Then there is the interviewing stage. This is a very lengthy process. The solution, all of this can be skipped over simply hiring a Virtual PA/Assistant.
  • You don’t have to share your space – Virtual PA/Assistants are freelancers. They will most likely work from home, plus you won’t have to buy additional computers or desks.

Details of Virtual PA’s can easily be found by a generic search through the internet, or head to The Society of Virtual Assistants for more information.

Call Centre

A popular choice for many companies is to outsource their telephone calls to a call centre. This can be for several reasons such as, customer service professionalism, and the growth of the company. Below are a few of the main aims businesses have for when choosing to outsource their calls.

  • Great customer service at all times – If you or employees in your company are not trained in the fine art of customer service you can turn to a call centre and rely on their professionalism.
  • A majority of businesses use call centres for their customer service help line, by using a call centre for this service ensures the phone is always answered; this can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer
  • Lower costs – Businesses outsource their calls to reduce administrative and operational costs. You are freeing up your time by not being interrupted by phone calls (especially if they are sales calls), you’ll be able to streamline the process and focus on the business task in hand, this makes for better overall efficiency letting you use your time and energy more wisely. You also save money on labour costs by not having to employ extra staff to just answer the phone especially if the company is growing.

So has this helped you decided whether to outsource ?

Taking a break …… a message from Richard Cooper!

As the sunnier weather finally arrives, many of us start to look to our summer breaks and holidays.  One of the big reasons I became self employed was to  be able to take holiday and time off as and when I wanted without the restrictions of a boss or having to ask permission.

As many of you will undoubtedly know, in practice this isn’t necessarily as easy.  If you are the sole owner of the business its not always easy to take a break. When you live breathe and love your business its very difficult to leave it.  So how DO you take a break without breaking your business?

Here are my top tips:

1)      Plan a break – it sounds obvious but make sure you plan some of your holiday time at the beginning of your year.  New to business?  Plan some time now.  It will allow you to communicate to your clients if you will be away.

2)      Use a virtual assistant – even if you are on a beach, your client calls will be answered.  DIVERT your mobile to them – it will save you money when they call and reassure your clients that your business can be contacted when you are away.

3)      Be contactable by your VA (virtual assistant) / Friends and family on a LOCAL sim number.  By using such a service you can save money, be contactable and keep in touch without having to spend all of your break IN your business

4)      Screen your emails.  Some of the most efficient business owners I know screen their emails but don’t respond unless it’s a dire emergency.  Set your email out of office to reflect that you will be picking up emails but only periodically.

Our company provide overseas phone facilities and they are proving extremely popular to our clients.  One of the biggest benefits is the low cost way to keep in touch.

The biggest thing is not to feel bad taking a break.  This is part of the reason many of us started our own ventures, and its really important to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

If your clients don’t like it?  Then maybe you need to review the type of client that you have. Remember that YOU run your business NOT  your clients.

So go on…. Book that break today or at the very minimum write time in the diary to be away fro your business. Some of my best ideas come when I take a break.  I still keep in touch, but not at the cost of my family/home time.

Until next time….

Richard Cooper – Virtual office visionary
Follow us @holdeverything1

Happy New Year from Richard Cooper….

I hope you had an amazing festive season.

As we begin a new year I am pleased to announce (for anyone who doesn’t know) that I married in December.   A day I will remember for the rest of my life.

It’s fair to say that in the run up to the big day, there was a huge amount to plan and it was a very stressful time for both of us and even our families.   But the day went perfectly, and we enjoyed an amazing honeymoon in Thailand.  For anyone who hasn’t visited Thailand, I highly recommend it.

The thing about being on a break is that I usually have my best business ideas when I finally stop to relax.  This break was no different, but that isn’t what I want to share today.

What I found in Thailand was an extremely service orientated culture.   Nothing was too much trouble. There wasn’t one person I met who didn’t go out of their way to make sure my break was the very best it can be.    The people I met weren’t cash rich or money orientated which surprised me even more.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how they do this, because it looked so effortless.      I really wondered how they managed this balance, and genuinely meant their kindness.

I met  with one of my suppliers on my return and was explaining this to her.  I asked her if she had any ideas as to how such a calm outlook on life, and business could be achieved, even when it was clear that in some areas, they lead a life that some of us would look at and consider very simple, possibly even underprivileged.    She looked at me and said “Maybe they don’t sweat the small stuff – and you know, it’s ALL small stuff”.

Asking where on earth she got this phrase from, she shared that she had read a book entitled exactly that.  “Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff”. By Richard Carlson. I have now started to read this book.

It’s based on simple ways to stop the little things taking over your life.  My supplier was right.  The people I was privileged to meet didn’t sweat the small stuff!  They didn’t “sweat” anything!  They seemed to have this understanding that life is more than profit, money, and stress. Ironically they had a profitable life as a result.  The culture, the relaxed atmosphere and the impeccable service was perfectly balanced.

My goal for 2013 is to learn from the Thai culture and build this into my business. I truly believe that business can profit and also be laid back.  If you had told me this before I went on honeymoon I would never have believed you.  Now I can see the vision.   How about you?

 

Read this book, enjoy and make your business better for it.

Happy New Year

 

From Richard Cooper – virtual office visionary

Follow me @holdeverything1