Off shoring virtual assistant services – is it a good idea?
Outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants is a perilous venture. The most obvious disadvantage is the difference in time-zones which, considering the pace at which businesses operates today can easily be a deal-breaker. In addition, there is the inevitable difference in language and culture which, despite global familiarization with English, often leads to a disastrous communication gap.
Another widely faced problem is the fact that the offshore virtual assistants work for outsourcing firms, unlike their onshore counterparts who are mostly small business owners in their own right. This converts to treatment of the virtual assistance task merely as a money-making opportunity, with no personal interest in actively involving with the business owners for their businesses’ growth. Further – and this is the most hurtful for businesses whose data is sensitive to their interests – the data-protection laws in countries outside the US might not be nearly as strict, thereby limiting the accountability of the virtual assistants.
The disadvantages, thus, are many, with the one advantage being the money factor, as offshore assistants are willing to work for much less. How are you, as a business owner who is equally concerned about expanding your business and saving on money, expected to surmount these challenges?
So many disadvantage – then why to select virtual assistant ?
First and foremost, analyze the situation financially. Is it worth saving a little money by risking your business interests? Is the amount you are likely to save large enough to matter at the scale which your business operates on? The answer to the first question, for any prudent business owner, is no. The answer to the second, however, may imaginably be yes. If so, then the choice of the country you are hiring offshore virtual assistants from is critical. Make sure that the time difference is not more than a few hours. Knowledge and understanding of English is very important, and so is knowledge of how businesses run in the US, including market scenarios, standards and recent trends. Study the data-protection laws of the offshore country and see if the kind of data you will be asking the assistants to handle is adequately protected under them. Try, in any case, not to outsource confidential data.
The nature of assistance you require is the most telling factor in the kind of services you are likely to get. If, for example, you only need secretarial services, offshore virtual assistants may easily suffice. You don’t need to spend a fortune on an onshore virtual secretary. If, however, more specialized jobs like making effective presentations or market research are required, it is advisable to go for expert virtual assistants who have a better understanding of what works in the American environment, and what doesn’t.
The experience will probably be not as smooth and hassle-free as with onshore virtual assistants, but in the end, money does matter.
Yes , offshore virtual assistant can be a good fit ! when ?
If the offshore virtual assistants learn with time and begin aligning themselves better with your business interests, you have made a wise choice. If not, it is time to choose another firm, preferably one that has a good past record in terms of satisfying business owners in the US. As your business grows and your affordability increases, you can shift to an onshore virtual assistant for more dependable work.