In a recent episode of The Marketing Strategy Show Kym was joined by Angela Beale Founder of BMG Outsourcing to discuss the do’s and don’ts of outsourcing so you can do your best to ensure Outsourcing success for your business, check out the key points from the interview below;
- Where to begin with Outsourcing
- Three different models of Outsourcing
- Tasks you can Outsource
- Common mistakes made when Outsourcing
- Tools that you can use for Outsourcing
If you want more information from this episode check out the transcript below.
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Kym Heffernan: Hi and welcome to today’s Marketing Strategy Show. The Marketing Strategy Show is all about getting the right marketing for your business. In our Marketing Strategy episodes we pull back the curtain over the next bit on a specialised topic, [00:01:00] or someone who’s got quite experience with that topic. Now, we all know doing more marketing and sales and having a marketing and sales strategy is important, but you’ve got to actually get it done. How do you find the target, trying to run a business, do your regular work to do it all? How do you do it yourself or how do you find the budget to employ someone to do it for you?
The answer for most businesses lies in the fact they can’t find the time or budget, so a critical marketing activity never gets done. Well, there may be an answer. [00:01:30] You may have heard of it and it’s called outsourcing. It’s both affordable and if you work with the right people, you can find skilled talent to help you get your marketing done at a very very reasonable rate.
Today we’ve got Angela Beale from BMG Outsourcing who’s an outsourcing expert to take us through some of the pitfalls and understand the ins and outs of outsourcing, excuse the pun. Hi, Angela. Are you there?
Angela Beale: Yes, hi, Kym, and thanks for having me on your show today.
Kym Heffernan: No worries. Great to have you.
Angela Beale: Yeah. Thank [00:02:00] you. Looking forward to talking about this topic that’s very passionate to my heart.
Kym Heffernan: I’m sure it is.
Angela Beale: Yes.
Kym Heffernan: Tell me a bit about the Angela story, how you actually got to be running an outsourcing company.
Angela Beale: Well, that’s a good question. About seven years ago, I’m an accountant by trade and a lot of our clients are ageing. They’re getting into that 40-year plus. They weren’t keeping up to date with what all the new kids were coming up with on social media and blasting their message [00:02:30] out. Some of our clients started to try outsourcing themselves, and to be honest they had so many horror stories. Some were cheated. They weren’t delivered the service that they were expecting. They paid upfront.
I just took the bull by the horns and said, “Right. We need to look after our clients, so let’s set up our own outsourcing business and guarantee the result,” and that’s what we did seven years ago. We set up a small [00:03:00] company then, in the Philippines. We’ve grown steadily. We don’t want to be the biggest, but certainly we want to offer quality service, so it’s a managed growth model.
Kym Heffernan: It’s really interesting. In my own business, I have lots of people who’ve done it too, have been down the outsourcing route for both full time employees and part time employees and project work. It is a really really good model in theory, but like in anything, the devil’s in the details, isn’t it?
Angela Beale: Oh, absolutely. [00:03:30] To outsource successfully you have to have processes in place, or you have to have a virtual assistant that you work with to put those processes in place. The best tasks really that you can outsource are those that can be repetitive. The best way of explaining to your staff member is to keep the instructions simple, document them so that they have a process to follow, and know what the result [00:04:00] should be so that you’re working towards a goal.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah. Managing remote staff, even in your team and without outsourcing, is sometimes difficult. Having that communication and that process is really important. Why don’t we actually just cover off … I was really interested when you raised this with me. three different types of outsourcing models there are, because people think of it as one big world, but there’s actually different types of outsourcing out there.
Angela Beale: There are. Look, I guess you could break it down into [00:04:30] three, Kym. The first model, which probably many people have tried, which is the work from home outsourcing companies. There’s some sites around. There’s Freelancer. There’s Upwork, where you can get project work done very easily through them but they’re not really a solution for a long term result for your company because the person may not be there next time you need them. You’re sharing your IP. You’re training them up. You need someone that’s going to be there for you.
[00:05:00] Work from home, you’ve got those traps where, “Have they got a high speed internet? Is it actually them that’s doing the work? How do you contact them if you can’t find them very easily?” You can’t guarantee that they’re going to be there long term. The second model-
Kym Heffernan: I’m sorry, if I can cover that one off a little bit.
Angela Beale: Yeah.
Kym Heffernan: I’ve had some personal experience. I’m sure a number of people have this, with frustration on that. I think while the [00:05:30] things that I’ve learned from this. You really need to ask the person who’s doing the work where they’re located. You actually [inaudible 00:05:37] then google, do they have a different internet connection, a decent internet connection there because that’s a major problem, isn’t it? Because in the Philippines particularly some of the region there, the infrastructure is not very good, is it?
Angela Beale: No, well, and they have their tsunamis. It does cause a real problem. The real problem there too is that you don’t know [00:06:00] who you can trust, so it may appear that that person is doing the work for you, but I’ve heard horror stories where they’ve got their own little outsourcing company happening [crosstalk 00:06:09].
Kym Heffernan: their cousins are actually doing the work.
Angela Beale: Yeah, exactly, it’s cousins, aunties, and everybody else, and they’ve got 10 jobs on the go. The reliability isn’t there either. Look, sometimes it can work out and you can get a golden nugget, but there’s a high risk in that model.
Kym Heffernan: I think if you’ve got a small [00:06:30] ad hoc project, you don’t need someone full time, by all means do that, but be very careful about what you brief and how you brief it.
Angela Beale: Exactly, exactly. The second, should we move on to the second one?
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, let’s move on to the second one, yeah.
Angela Beale: Just to recap, we’re looking at the three models about outsourcing. We’ve got the work from home. The next one is a service office model where there’s many companies that are now advertising for outsourcing services for clients in Australia. [00:07:00] There’s two models there again. One is like a bums on seats model. You probably know what I mean by that, Kym.
Kym Heffernan: Yes. How does that work?
Angela Beale: Bums on seats is where you pay a company to recruit a VA (virtual assistant) for you, and they find the person that matches the skills that you need through their recruitment process and then you’re left to it. The problem that we found with this model is that the client has to give all the task to [00:07:30] the virtual assistant but often they don’t really know how to do the task themselves, which is why they looked at outsourcing in the first place.
They’re trying to teach their virtual assistant how to do a Facebook ad or what is required to keep up to date on the latest trends in Facebook, for example. They really don’t know how to give the instructions. Often that model fails because there’s a frustration on behalf [00:08:00] of the business owner that’s outsourcing that it all gets too hard and the poor VA over in the Philippines, they start to sense this frustration so they start to feel inadequate, and they don’t have the tools given to them how to manage that client. The bums on seats model does have a risk associated with it as well.
Kym Heffernan: That’s a really interesting point you raise there as well, about expectations I think as well. I think [00:08:30] sometimes it’s unrealistic expectations about people’s capability and what training they need. If you’re employing someone in Australia, for example, or in your own country, wherever you are and you said, “I want an employee to do all these different things,” and you provide no training, no support, and no instruction, you’re not going to get a great result. It’s even harder if you’re from a different cultural background.
Angela Beale: Absolutely. Really, the model should be no different to hiring [00:09:00] a staff member in Australia. If you were looking to put on a marketing expert in your own company in Australia, guaranteed you’d spend a few hours with them at the beginning, going through. You’d be checking in with them all the time. You’d be sharing documents with them. You’d be there with them. The bums on the seats model, it really does have less risk than working from home, but it does carry its own risks.
If we move on to the third model which is the model that BMG Outsourcing [00:09:30] have created, which is fairly unique now in the outsourcing companies. We offered a managed service for your virtual assistant. Over the years what we’ve done is put together a series of templates that cover many aspects of the different roles. When you embark on the process of outsourcing, we’ll sit down with you. That’s where we’ve come [00:10:00] together, Kym, because we can both together offer a great strategy for the client and we work together on this to say, “Okay, well, what do you need?” Then we put that plan in place for you.
We can look at the next 12 months. We can have a look at the strategy, what you need to achieve. Then, we train your VA up on how to do the specifics for your business. That person, if they’re in media marketing for example, they most probably [00:10:30] have a degree in marketing, but they will need to understand how you want it to work and what process you want to follow, and that’s where we come in. We give them the templates, templates of what makes a great blog post, where you need to put your keywords in. We give them feedback. They work with a buddy in the office so that if they’ve got any questions, they’ve got someone to ask.
It takes away the time that you would have to spend [00:11:00] managing that. That’s what we found has worked really well with the Australian companies, is that managed service. They’re never bored. They’ve never not got tasks to do. They’ve got this master plan they can follow. For example, if it was an accounting VA and there’s the peaks and troughs when-
Kym Heffernan: [Crosstalk 00:11:21].
Angela Beale: … you’ve got the financial year end. Then there’s a lull in the beginning of July for example. Well, they can [00:11:30] pick up the sheet and say, “Hey, let’s have a look at writing a blog post. Let’s have a look at putting some marketing together on Facebook. It takes the pressure off the client.
Kym Heffernan: Also too, I guess it gets people up and running much quicker because that’s the biggest problem with any new staff. It’s an outsource via VA or staff locally. The onboarding and getting them up to speed takes some time. You haven’t got time to create the processes to help them do that. The model you’re talking about is fantastic [00:12:00] for that.
Angela Beale: Yeah. Look, we’ve had so much success over it that … What we also find as well is once you’ve given the VA the confidence in you, as the Australian client, they almost become part of your family. In the Philippines the people there, they’re so accountable. They’ve just got a very beautiful personality that wants to please. They try very hard to meet your expectations. [00:12:30] If you embrace the basic culture of the Philippines and you try your hardest to get the great result that you’re looking for, then that should be perfect.
Where the pitfalls happen, where the client is very ad hoc, they’re not really committed to the process, but they’ll try it, but they haven’t put the systems together. They haven’t really worked out what the goals are that they want to achieve. A few months [00:13:00] down the track, it just all gets too hard. However if you take it seriously, there’s a step by step process with most things in business. If you follow a process that’s been tested before, you’re going to get the result. The process that we suggest with our clients is to have a look at what you want to outsource.
The first step would be, “What are you doing now that you shouldn’t be doing?” Are you working on your business [00:13:30] or in your business? If you’re trying to update your website yourself, if you’re trying to do all your marketing yourself, if you’re trying to manage all your database yourself, is that really helping you to grow your business? They are the sorts of tasks that you can very easily outsource. Have a look at maybe over a month, at the daily tasks, the weekly tasks, and the monthly tasks that you’re doing and say, “Why am I doing this? [00:14:00] Who could I get to do this better than I could do?”
They’re the ideal task that you can outsource. However, if it’s a project task, like a one-off task, setting up a website, or setting up a Facebook page, setting up a new CRM, you may require someone with a higher level of skill to do that project. As an ongoing role into the future, that same person wouldn’t necessarily [00:14:30] be satisfied in a career where they’re just doing low level updates to a website, or just doing odd Facebook pages.
What we suggest is that we divide the role up between a project base and an ongoing base. Here in our outsourcing company we have a core team that can take on the projects, get them up and running, and then your outsourcing member can take over the ongoing role. In that way, you’re matching [00:15:00] the skills that you require for the ongoing role to the person that’s going to be with you longer term. Does that make sense, Kym? I’ve tried to explain that the best I can.
Kym Heffernan: It makes perfect sense. I often see that, even with staff recruitment here. They want a marketing person that can build a website, do graphic design, write content, upload stuff, send emails out, call customers, [00:15:30] and that person doesn’t exist in real life.
Angela Beale: No.
Kym Heffernan: That’s three or four different personalities. There’s no difference. I guess what you’re saying is that ongoing VA role, it’s really that ongoing work, not the creation type work, where you need a high level graphic designer or a web developer, or someone to write your marketing strategy. That’s not the right person. The same thing wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t get a marketing coordinator to do that here. Why would you expect to get a VA that can do that in the Philippines?
Angela Beale: Exactly right. In this process [00:16:00] that we follow, we give you two planners. One is the project base tasks, and we ask you a series of questions. Have you got these systems in place for these major projects? Then, there’s a questionnaire which you can fill up of all the tasks that could be outsourced. We’ve identified about 110 of them in the various different categories, under bookkeeping, under web updates. There could be administration tasks. There’s a whole number, [00:16:30] data entry, data mining, social media management. SEO is a very good one that can be outsourced.
However, if you are outsourcing tasks such as SEO and Google Ads, do make sure that the people that are working on those tasks are certified in that, so that they have got the Google certification and that they know what they’re doing. Within our company, we make sure that they’ve got those essential skills.
Kym Heffernan: [00:17:00] It’s key you get the strategy right. Could I ask, why the Philippines? There’s lots of outsourcing options. There’s India, in particular people would know about. There’s Eastern Europe, and even Australia. Why the Philippines?
Angela Beale: Well, do you know what, good question. About seven years ago when we first tried, India was the main country where people outsourced to. What we found in the Philippines is that the people shared the same [00:17:30] basic values that many Australians do. The religious background is fairly similar to the religious background of the beginnings of Australia. The time difference is only between two or three hours, depending on daylight saving.
Also, the culture and the work ethics of the Filipinos is second to none. They really want to pursue a career. They take their career very [00:18:00] seriously, but the Filipino government had the foresight to ensure that English is well taught in the schools. Some of the schools are 80% taught in English, so their English communication skills are very clear. They’ve got a slight American accent, which is quite cute actually, but the clarity in their diction is very good, compared to other countries, such as India, Croatia, probably great countries to outsource [00:18:30] to still if you get the right person, but the language skills we have found on the whole is not as good.
I guess the clench for us was we found this unique location in the Philippines which is not earmarked as being the Silicon Valley of the Philippines, called Clark. The new president has got this blueprint now for Clark to be the major city for the Philippines for high technology. Our offices [00:19:00] are located in Clark, so we’ve got very high speed internet. The roads were built by the Australians. It’s a secure area. It was the old American air force space actually, so some of the listeners-
Kym Heffernan: Oh, right. Okay.
Angela Beale: Yeah.
Kym Heffernan: I knew of Clark air force, of course.
Angela Beale: Yes.
Kym Heffernan: That’s over there.
Angela Beale: Yeah, it’s low rise, lots of grass, and the employees, they just love coming to work there, great air conditioning, easy transport. It’s important for the Filipinos, [00:19:30] that they pursue a good career with a reliable respectable outsourcing company who take outsourcing seriously. In that way, we can attract the best staff because they know that there’s a long term career for them there.
Kym Heffernan: I think you can never discount the timezone, because that is a major problem with Europe in particular. Because you’ve got that 10 or 11 hours behind it, and even India with the five hours behind. You can lose a day or [00:20:00] a day and a half going backwards and forwards on instructions. You’ve got very limited windows when you can talk with staff. You end up talking to staff late at night because they’re on the same timezones. Yeah, the Philippines, I found with my own staff and even contractors, you can generally get them to work Australian business hours of 9:00 to 5:00.
Angela Beale: Yeah. That’s exactly right. What we found too about Clark, it’s got the international airport there, so we found a lot of our clients, once they embrace [00:20:30] the outsourcing model, they love to go and visit their virtual assistant over in the Philippines. You don’t want those night flights where you wake up there and you’re absolutely exhausted. The travel to the Philippines is very easy from Australia, particularly to Clark.
Kym Heffernan: What about the costs? I’ve been through this process. I’m sure many other people have. [Inaudible 00:20:55] I really need a full time person. I’ll try it part time first [00:21:00] of all. That model really doesn’t work for a couple of reasons, does it?
Angela Beale: No. Look, let’s go back to the model that we spoke about earlier, where you’ve got your project tasks and you’ve got your ongoing tasks. You can get the project task done part time, particularly if you’re with an outsourcing company such as BMG Outsourcing where they have got a core team that you can use to do those project tasks. That’s more of a part time role. However, taking it from the position of [00:21:30] an outsourcing company, like I own myself, we have to manage productivity to be able to offer the great rates.
We’ll talk about the cost in a second, but we’ve got to make sure that that person has a full time job. Some people have come to us and said, “Look, can we share a VA?” Yes, that’s great. You can, but what happens if you want to increase your hours or they want to decrease their hours? Someone’s got to pick up the lag. Or [00:22:00] you may find that the model works perfectly for you and you want that person full time, so then you’re knocking the other person off the perch.
Ideally, and what we found even with very small business, if you really think about it, and I do encourage you to download from the link that Kym’s going to send you, we’ve got 110 tasks that you can outsource. Have a look at that and tick the boxes of what you feel you could outsource. I’ll challenge you. I think that you would [00:22:30] find that you have got enough with your own personal life and your business life to have someone full time.
Kym Heffernan: You want compassion to grow too, don’t you? You don’t want to have an employee full of jobs on day one. They need time to learn and grow and all those sort of things as well. I guess if you think about from an employee’s viewpoint, I think sometimes there’s a tendency when we’re looking at outsourcing in their eyes, to be a bit dispassionate about it. Think about it from the employees’ viewpoint. [00:23:00] The employees, do they really want to work part time? They have to earn money to live full time, so they need a full time role. If you give them a part time role, they may not be that loyal to you, because they want a full time role.
Angela Beale: Exactly. That’s what we’ve struck before. Obviously there’s a little bit of flexibility for certain situations, or maybe there is a model within the company whereby there is someone available part time, but generally [00:23:30] we’re all looking at success, and generally they’re looking for a full time role.
Kym Heffernan: I guess also too, if you think about it from your viewpoint, is that the person managing, and you want something done by this afternoon, if they’ve got another job, you have to wait till tomorrow morning or if you’ve got two people sharing that resource, you have to wait till the other company is doing it. It creates all sorts of issues, doesn’t it?
Angela Beale: It does, yes.
Kym Heffernan: No different if you had an employee working for two companies. They work [00:24:00] for you in the morning and someone else in the afternoon, or you on Tuesday and someone else on Wednesday. You don’t get the workflow going properly if you do that, and just don’t get the benefit from it really.
Angela Beale: That’s correct.
Kym Heffernan: That raises the cost because the cost is not that much. When you look at that, a third of the cost, am I right, of labour in Australia?
Angela Beale: Yeah. That’s exactly right. That’s on the fully managed service. If we have a look at the breakdown of what is involved in [00:24:30] outsourcing, many outsourcing companies, such as BMG Outsourcing, we make the salary cost very transparent to you. The process would be to find out what skills you do require. We’d recruit that person. On average for general VA, we find with all the on costs, which are the health, they have a 13th month pay. That’s another story.
Kym Heffernan: That’s another [crosstalk 00:25:01].
Angela Beale: [00:25:00] Absolutely. That’s correct. Then the contribution towards the overhead of the office, and the computer. We amortise that over 24 months and the incidentals. We like to create a culture in the office. It’s really important that you provide a facility where they have not only a strict work pattern, but also can have fun, so lunchtime [00:25:30] or after hours. We encourage them to do a bit of karaoke on a Friday. It helps them to bond together because we’re all human beings and particularly in the Philippines, they’re a community based people.
Taking all that into account, on average for general administration person, it would be between $10 and $11 an hour, or if we look at that over a month, it’s about $1600 a month. You compare that to what an administration [00:26:00] person would be earning in Australia, and this is way below the basic wage that’s just been announced in the budget. You’re probably over a third of the cost.
Kym Heffernan: I want to dispel the myth here, the $3 to $5 per hour person you might occasionally find on our work as well, because I don’t think that’s a true reflection. As I said, it’s probably the person out in the country, [00:26:30] with no internet connection, no idea what they’re doing. People get hung up on dollar rates. If someone is going to[ 00:26:35] take twice as long to do it, and twice as long for you to get them to do it, what’s the point in the saving of $5 per hour? Pay someone a decent wage, get the job done properly, get it done efficiently, and you’ll get better results.
Angela Beale: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. I’m very surprised how people could even get a task done for the $2 an hour. It might be someone that’s doing it as a hobby, [00:27:00] something on the side, because it’s a passion they’ve got.
Kym Heffernan: That’s a problem, that they work full time and want extra cash and you can’t get it done. When you look at that, $1600 a month, you’re talking about saving a couple of hundred dollars a month. How important is your business that you’re trying to [inaudible 00:27:19]. You’re creating probably thousands of dollars worth of extra management time. Because that’s the other key difference, is having a managed type solutions like you’re talking about. It takes a hell of a lot of management [00:27:30] time away, doesn’t it?
Angela Beale: It does, and what’s your time worth? I always challenge my clients. There’s always a client that just loves graphic design when they’re in retail themselves. They don’t want to let go of that. I go, “Okay, well, that’s fine. If you really love doing your graphic design and it’s something that fulfils your life, then carry on doing it, but all these other things that you’re doing, is it really the best use of your time?”
Australian business now is so [00:28:00] competitive and we’re meeting challenges all the time. Technology is changing, and that’s the big one, particularly with the baby boomers. We are behind in understanding and embracing it at the speed that the younger people are, so we need help. The best way of doing that, as you said at the beginning Kym, is look seriously at why you’re doing certain tasks and consider the model of outsourcing. I’ve now in my own business, I’ve got a marketing [00:28:30] company. I’ve got nine that work for me, privately. They form the core team then that help the virtual assistants on the floor that work for other clients.
It is definitely a model that works. We’ve got 90 staff there now, and they’re all assigned to different clients in Australia. With a 92% staff retention rate, it is a model that works.
Kym Heffernan: Lately that was, business process outsourcing, very competitive in the Philippines, isn’t it? It’s [00:29:00] hard to hang on to good staff, I guess, if you run an outsourcing company.
Angela Beale: What I found over the time here, Kym, is that we are one of the earlier embracers of it. Then people that were looking at the commercial opportunity of creating an outsourcing company, but they haven’t got the professional business acumen behind them themselves to assist other businesses to make their outsourcing a success. [00:29:30] They were very much the bums on seats model, the second model that we spoke about. Their business goal was to be the biggest. We’ve seen a few outsourcing companies in the area where we are, where they went from one to 200 within the first year, to 400 in the second year. Some of them are down to 60 now because they didn’t fulfil the promise.
They were good at selling the model, but they didn’t deliver the result. [00:30:00] It was their downfall. Unfortunately that’s where outsourcing has started to get a bad name for itself. That’s why we’ve grown slowly and we’ve made sure that clients are satisfied with the results. We’ve grown on the model, improved the model, and we really qualify clients very carefully to make sure they are ready for outsourcing. At the end of the day, we’re looking at lives in the Philippines, people that are supporting multiple families, [00:30:30] that are taking their careers seriously. We want to match them with the best client.
Kym Heffernan: It’s got to be a win-win for both therefore, doesn’t it?
Angela Beale: Absolutely, yes.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah. It’s like anything. Sometimes, as I said before, you think of VA and some are dispassionate [inaudible 00:30:49] employee. They just happen to be sitting in a different office.
Angela Beale: Yeah. Look, with tools like Skype and GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, [00:31:00] you can sit there and you can see your staff members. Sometimes I just sit there and they’re on my screen all the time and we have our little chitchats along the way. It’s no different to having someone working for you in Australia. Yeah, it can work very easily. It’s not rocket science.
Kym Heffernan: I love this idea of outsourcing. I’m not getting my marketing stuff done. I want to hire a marketing VA to get it done. What do I need to think about, so I don’t [00:31:30] get it wrong?
Angela Beale: Look, I think it comes from you, the client, first having the right mindset to succeed. Then you have to look at what you’re trying to outsource. There are some people that are outsourcing symptoms of problems that you need as a client to fix first within your business.
Kym Heffernan: Can you give an example of what you mean by that? What do you mean by that?
Angela Beale: Well, sometimes business have grown very quickly and they’ve probably [00:32:00] got some staff conflicts or they’ve got some internal conflicts. They are basically trying to outsource something to prove that it can’t be done.
Kym Heffernan: Oh, okay, right.
Angela Beale: They’re setting up for failure to show that, “Yes, see? I’ve tried outsourcing it and it doesn’t work.” When we get these narcicisstic people sometimes that want to win at all cost and prove, [00:32:30] let’s have a look seriously, get your own backyard straight first before you try to send it overseas. I guess the next part is expecting a superhero to come and solve everything. A VA or an outsource staff member cannot do everything standing on their head. It’s no different at all to Australia. They are human beings. They’re not robots.
Next part, I would say, is, [00:33:00] as I mentioned at the beginning, is having a proper system to follow. Now, we’ve had clients that use their VA to create systems. There are some great tools that we use and recommend. One is Screencast-O-Matic where if the task involves following a computer system, we can record the screen moves, and send the recording to the VA to follow, or they [00:33:30] can be recording what you’re teaching them over in the Philippines on a tool such as Screencast-O-Matic, and create the systems for you.
We recommend Google Sites as being one of the easiest. The VA can set up a simple site for you, and then start putting all the processes in there.
Kym Heffernan: That becomes your intranet which again is a business asset because you’ve got all your processes now defined.
Angela Beale: Absolutely. If your exit plan is to sell out within a couple [00:34:00] of years, it’s a no brainer really. You’ve got all the systems of how you run the business. Also, if you get sick or you get injured, someone else can step in and run the business the way you do it. Having systems either they create or you create, but having a commitment that you’re going to have systems documents at some point. I guess another part, some people when they’re too busy, often the model of outsourcing comes about when you’re stressed, [00:34:30] when you’ve tried to take on too much and you’re falling in a heap.
You try to give them verbal diarrhea, if you excuse the word, but you make your instructions too complicated or you use business acronyms or words that are very particular to your industry. Let’s make the instructions fairly simple, fairly straight forward.
Kym Heffernan: Don’t talk to my staff then Angela, haha they’ll say the same thing [ 00:34:54].
Angela Beale: [00:35:00] Yes, I’m afraid I have to watch myself sometimes, yes. I don’t know. I did my personality profile the other day, the disc profile came. Have you ever done yours?
Kym Heffernan: I have. I’m actually a DISC certified trainer[00:35:19].
Angela Beale: Oh right. Yeah. Yeah. I learned something about myself which has helped me to improve the way I communicate sometimes. However, let’s get back to the conversation.
Kym Heffernan: Yes.
Angela Beale: Not getting constructive feedback, [00:35:30] we all like to know whether we’re doing well. Particularly because you are remote and they don’t see you all the time, they like to know, “What’s the truth?” If they do a good job, tell them. If they’re not doing a good job, be constructive. Give them constructive feedback on how to improve. The worst thing you can do is yell at them or degrade them. Often if they’re not doing their job right, it’s because the client [00:36:00] hasn’t given them the right instructions.
Kym Heffernan: That’s usually the case with most staff, isn’t it?
Angela Beale: Absolutely. Yeah. I guess one of the other pitfalls is not having the time to train them properly. You’re just throwing tasks at them and expecting them to be that superhero that just reads your mind. Let’s get the training in place. A very big thing is not paying them on time. It’s so important that you respect them [00:36:30] and you pay them on time. In fact what we do at BMG Outsourcing, if someone does hire a virtual assistant through us, we ask for two months upfront, and then we’ve always got a fund in a trust account there to meet the demands of pay. We pay once a fortnight.
If ever you’re behind in submitting money, there’s always the money there to pay. Then another issue is not having enough work for them. That’s why the managed service [00:37:00] comes in because they’ve got work sitting there in the bottom drawer that they can just pull out when they haven’t got ongoing tasks and they can surprise you with those because some of the processes that we’ve got in to help with them, with marketing and with the basic VA administration, sometimes the staff member, when there’s been a bit of a lack in connection over a few hours, and they suddenly send the client a new brochure or something [00:37:30] and say, “Hey, I didn’t hear from you and this is what I’ve done for you,” and they go, “Wow. This is amazing.” That’s the benefit of, yeah.
Kym Heffernan: There’s always stuff like competitive[ 00:37:39] research or cleaning out databases, always-
Angela Beale: Absolutely.
Kym Heffernan: … tasks you never get around. It’s always good to have five or six of those of staff regularly in Australia as well. People have it. People get bored if they’re twiddling their thumbs[ 00:37:54]. People think they get lazy.
Angela Beale: Yes.
Kym Heffernan: It’s not that they’re being lazy. They just get bored because [00:38:00] not given enough work to do.
Angela Beale: Exactly right. We’re all the same and once they get bored and if that becomes a continuous thing, they’re looking at, “Well, is this the right career for me?” There’s a responsibility on both parts. I guess to sum it up, what we spoke about, getting someone for the ongoing role, making sure that that recruit is prepared for the ongoing role, that you’re not getting someone [00:38:30] too senior employed at the beginning for every day tasks. Have a look at that mix between the project setup tasks and the ongoing tasks.
Another big thing for the Filipinos is safety. They want to be in a culture where they’re respected, where there’s no bitchiness at work. Sometimes outsourcing companies, when they get too big, they become little silos of people. [00:39:00] We take this seriously where we have training twice a year on how to be productive, how to create a productive team, how to give constructive feedback to the client. If the client is asking them to do a task and they know a better way of doing it, have the confidence to say, “Hey, Mr. Client, have you thought about doing it this way?”
That empowers them and we all like to be empowered. [00:39:30] It doesn’t have to be a case where you just go, “Virtual Assistant, I want you to do task A, B, and C.” Say to them, “Look, hey, I want to run a promotional activity and this is my market that I’m aiming at. What do you think I could do?” They would love to brainstorm with you and say, “Well, hey, have you thought about this, or let’s do it this way,” and they would feel really engaged in your company that way. Give them a little bit of empowerment.
Kym Heffernan: [00:40:00] A bit of encouragement right, to be able to speak up. Yeah.
Angela Beale: Exactly. Yeah. Let them to use their mind, because they’re very well trained. Their university systems over there are very strong. The other part, we talk about the culture. Just looking at the contractual side of what to be aware of in the pitfalls is, owners locking contracts, both from the client perspective and the staff member. There are some outsourcing companies out there that will lock you in for a period of time, like 12 months [00:40:30] and also lock your staff member in for a period of time. It could be 12 months to years.
Well, I beg to ask the question then, “If you’ve got a staff member that’s not working out for you, do you really want to lock them in for a period of time, because they can become quite toxic.” I feel that it’s best to say, “If that staff member isn’t working out, well, let’s let them go and don’t have them in a locking contract.” Also for the client, [00:41:00] if outsourcing isn’t the right model for you, why would you want to stick around doing it?
There are companies that are having you locked in for periods of time. We don’t take that model. We think if we get the ingredients right upfront, that you’re ready for outsourcing, then it should work for you and your staff member. Also, location is very important, that you’re not in a cyclone zone, that you’re not in an unsafe area like [00:41:30] Manila, where it’s very hard to ensure that your staff member’s going to be on time, because the traffic is just so bad there.
I guess the last one, just to sum up, I can’t reiterate it enough, is not having a managed process.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah. I think that’s so important, not to have that. People want to think of outsourcing and try it, it makes sense to outsource [00:42:00] a couple of projects, get a feel for it before you jump in full time, doesn’t it?
Angela Beale: Well, exactly right. We can certainly offer that to you. We offer a trial period for three months, whereby we find out what type of skill you need. I’ll just reiterate what some of those areas are. It’s data entry, data mining, social media management, graphic design, website updates, website design and [00:42:30] development, SEO, bookkeeping. They’re all great tasks that can be outsourced. It’s really just getting those processes together.
Kym Heffernan: I guess having the right onboarding process and getting started process. You sent me a link, which I’ll put up in the show notes for people, which talks about how to get started and all those things we discussed, which is a great resource. I’ll put that in the show notes.
People want [00:43:00] to inquire more, and where do they go to? BMGOutsourcing.com or you? Is that the best way?
Angela Beale: Yeah. Look, Kym, if I could ask you, I’ve put a special page together for you, which has some of that downloadable templates. We call it our welcome pack. It just gives you some ideas of project tasks, ongoing tasks, and how to get started in outsourcing. Together with a great delegation planner, which makes you think, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” [00:43:30] The link to that is the same. It’s BMGOutsourcing.com.au/welcome-pack.
Kym Heffernan: Perfect. I’ll put the link up right in the show notes as well. I’ll put it up on the website, so people can just click and they can go to it directly. Angela, thank you very much for your time today. It’s been fantastic. I really appreciate it. We covered a lot of ground. I guess there’s a lot of ground to cover. You’ve been doing this for-
Angela Beale: There is. Absolutely.
Kym Heffernan: … for a number of years. You probably distilled all your learning over 30 minutes.
Angela Beale: Yeah. [00:44:00] For sure. Look, what I’d like to do to all your listeners today is the notes that I’ve created on outsourcing and what we’ve spoken about today, why don’t you send those notes out to your listeners too, Kym?
Kym Heffernan: I will. I will. I’ll send that. There’s a [crosstalk 00:44:17] with the podcast link, so we’ll certainly put the links to those downloads as well.
Angela Beale: Yeah.
Kym Heffernan: It’s [inaudible 00:44:24] I guess anyway, that we’re not going to do outsourcing, just to think about in your own business with what you’re outsourcing to people [00:44:30] in your business and people locally. Think about some of the tasks you can outsource, right, because very often we get our [inaudible 00:44:37] outsourcing are not ready yet. There are things you can outsource to other people in your business and externally in [00:44:43] your business if you don’t hire a VA. It gets you thinking, doesn’t it?
Angela Beale: Exactly right. What I’ve added is a little bonus here, the tools that we use to help with managing the whole process. The online cloud based tools for project management, for [00:45:00] Screencast, for password savers, all that sort of stuff I’ve put together in the documents, so please, yeah.
Kym Heffernan: Isn’t that fantastic? If you’ve got remote staff here or staff in the state, or even dealing with supply of our customers, [inaudible 00:45:16] it’s a great list of tools as well. Angela Beale from BMG Outsourcing, thank you very much for your time today. More importantly, thanks for sharing all your knowledge and there’s great resources. I really urge people [00:45:30] to think about outsourcing, check out the resources, and if you want more information how you can outsource staff, I’ll speak to Angela, BMG Outsourcing. Thanks again, Ange.
Angela Beale: Thank you very much, Kym. Thanks for your time, everybody. Bye bye.
Tiz Porreca: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Marketing Show. We hope you got some practical effective tips and ideas, so your organisation gets more prospects and nurtures those prospects to becoming long-term customers. Just a reminder, the show [00:46:00] is sponsored by the Marketing Strategy Company who help B2B organisations develop winning marketing strategies and sales and marketing automation systems to turn their sales and marketing efforts into new customers and dollars through their marketing.
Check out the show notes for this episode, and the Marketing Strategy Company’s planning and marketing services at the MarketingStrategy.co. That’s the MarketingStrategy.co. Until next time, happy [00:46:30] marketing.