This month, Ipswich Ladies member virtual assistant Liz Baalham explains the value that outsourcing can bring to your business.

Lots of small business owners tend to think that outsourcing is too expensive for them and therefore not an option. But its worth looking at the bigger picture. To employ a member of staff you will need to consider time spent recruiting, training, creating office space, providing equipment and the other associated costs (like payroll and insurance). By outsourcing you can avoid a lot of these expenses and, by hiring the right self employed person who can ‘hit the ground running’ you can also avoid spending too much time in hand overs and training.

Its important to find the VA or support staff with the right skillset for you to outsource to. I have worked in PR and Marketing, Events, Business Development, Office Management and Accounts roles and I have a varied skill set to offer – I can happily take on projects or cover roles across a range of departments. Other VAs are very Accounts and Credit control focused, some offer more research and writing services – find the right person for you.

Most VAs operate on a ‘pick up and put down’ basis – you are not tied to a contract (unless you would like to put a retainer in place) which means you can use only when you need.

VAs can work alongside your suppliers. For example – If you already have a Marketing or PR agency in place the VA can take instruction from them to run the day to day elements of your marketing campaign. If you are wanting to design new promotional literature a VA can source quotes and suppliers on your behalf – presenting you with a pick of best options based on your brief and time saved by you.

Some people worry that it will be too difficult to communicate with someone who isn’t in the office – but video conferencing, emails, messages, mobiles, social media can actually make it just as easy. I work with clients in London and Middlesex as easily as I do my ones in Ipswich and Colchester; mostly via email and when we are working on bigger projects we can conference call and video chat at agreed times.

So if you’ve just successfully signed up that big client and want to give them your attention or you’re finding your marketing strategy too time consuming and need a little extra assistance, maybe consider outsourcing to a virtual assistant rather than spending time and money on trying to recruit.

Liz might be the resourceful solution that you are looking for!