This article has been contributed by Maya Vertigans, an eco Virtual Assistant from Planner Bee VA Services. Our CEO Cheryl first met Maya at a Masterminding Day in London. Maya shares our passion for inspiring people to start their own businesses (as well as our love of pink).
Also operating within the B2B space, Maya leads a small team of 3 Virtual Assistant’s who specialise in supporting sustainable and ethical businesses with their digital marketing. As small business owners, we can do anything but not everything, so in today’s article Maya talksabout her tips for playing to your strengths and the role of outsourcing in growing a successful business.
Doing what you do best as a small business owner
For many of us, we start our small businesses either as solopreneurs or with a business partner. We don’t have a team, systems or processes to support us and so we have to take on multiple roles in order to keep the business going. In addition to delivering our products/ services we take responsibility for the marketing, sales, bookkeeping, business development/ strategy and more. When you first start your business, often taking on all of these roles is the only option, whilst you grow your client base and generate the revenue you need to start growing your team.
As your hard work starts to pay off and your business grows (yay!), frequently the natural next step is to grow your team (either through outsourcing or employing), to enable you to focus your time and energy on work that plays to your strengths.
Identifying your strengths as a business woman
Every ship needs a strong Captain, to stop the boat from sinking. Similarly, your small business needs you to be a strong leader, to enable your business to thrive. The most effective and the most fulfilling way of achieving this is to lean into your strengths and focus on what you do best.
How to identify your strengths as a small business owner:
- Write a list of everything you are good at when it comes to running your business, for example your list could include planning and strategy, social media, liaising with clients, setting up processes etc. As women, we can find identifying our strengths challenging, so if this is a struggle, ask friends or your partner to help you get started.
- Write a list of the tasks you enjoy. This list is likely to overlap with your strengths, but note down the tasks within your business that you really enjoy doing, the things that you look forward to.
- Review how you are currently spending your time. Look through your to-do-list/ calendar and critically review the tasks listed. Make a note of the tasks that fall within your strengths or the areas you enjoy – when you are working on these tasks, you are doing what you do best!
- Now look through the remaining items from your to-do-list/ calendar and identify tasks that are draining your time, you don’t enjoy and perhaps are not very good at. The tasks on this list are probably not the best use of your time – so these are tasks that you could look at delegating or outsourcing, to enable you to focus your time and energy on playing to your strengths as a small business owner.
The role of delegating in playing to your strengths as a small business owner
In order to be able to play to your strengths and focus your time and energy on the areas where you excel, you need to be able to delegate the tasks that don’t fall within your zone of genius. There are two main options for growing your team:
- Take on an employee who works for your business. As an employee, they are contractually committed to your business, which can help you to build a stable and reliable team. However you also have contractual responsibilities to your employee which can include additional costs (pension, national insurance, holiday pay etc) and reduced flexibility because (depending on their contract) you may be required to provide them with a specified number of hours work per week.
- Outsource some of your workload to a freelancer or small business. Although outsourcing can come with a higher initial investment than hiring an employee, there are no additional costs such as pension or holiday pay to factor in, you only pay for the services you need. Outsourcing also brings greater flexibility if you need to change the services provided, based on business needs. If you only have a small budget, outsourcing can be the perfect option as the contract can be tailored to your budget and the services required.
As the Founder of a Virtual Assistant business, outsourcing is my area of expertise, so this article will be focusing on the role of outsourcing in growing a successful business. For more information on hiring your first employee, consult a HR specialist.
Finding the right outsourcing partner for your small business
When it comes to finding the right outsourcing partner for your small business, the first place to start is with your list of tasks that drain your time, you don’t enjoy or are not very good at – these are tasks that you could outsource. Once you have a clear idea of what you would like to outsource, you can look for a small business or freelancer who specialises in these areas.
There are likely to be an array of small businesses who provide the services you are looking for, so I would suggest further narrowing your search down by:
- Values – it is important that the small business that you will be outsourcing work to shares your company values and ethos, this will help you to build an authentic brand.
- Ways of working – check that the processes and communication channels used by potential partners are compatible with your business processes, to ensure that outsourcing the work will be as seamless as possible.
- Reputation – review the testimonials of potential partners and also ask anybody in your network who has outsourced work to the small business for their feedback.
Doing due diligence checks and narrowing your search down based on the above suggestions will help you to find the perfect outsourcing partner, so that you can hit the ground running and make the relationship as successful as possible for your business.
The benefit of outsourcing and playing to your strengths as a small business owner
Outsourcing can help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your business, whilst also making it possible for you to play to your strengths and create the biggest impact that you can with your small business. Not only can outsourcing help to free up time and headspace for you to focus on doing what you do best, but by partnering with a specialist, they will also be able to support you in creating better results for your business. Plus, when we are working within our zone of genius and playing to our strengths as business women, running a business can be much more fulfilling (and really, that’s what it is all about).
For more information on how to make outsourcing as successful as possible for your small business, take a look at our comprehensive outsourcing guide here.
If you have any questions about outsourcing or how you could grow your business with the support of a Virtual Assistant, please do reach out!