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What stops you from hiring the help you need?

DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
I`d like to hear from the small biz owners who are doing it all themselves (and coming to the realization that they can`t and shouldn`t do everything themselves in their business). I want to know what keeps you from hiring assistance, such as administrative support.
Is is not having enough money?
Not knowing how to find the right person?
Had a bad experience before?
I`d be very grateful for any and all input. Thanks!


  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
    Thanks, Craig. In order to create the poll, I need feedback first about what thinking or obstacles keep business owners from getting the help they need. I can guess some of the reasons, but there may be others that I would like to know about as well, which is the reason for the open-ended question.
  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
  • BlakemanBlakeman subscriber Posts: 1
    Danielle,I like Craig`s list (no pun intended).  I would add one that I wager won`t get a single vote but may be one big reason people don`t hire help:Short-term blinding greed (sometimes also know as "I`m the only employee I need or can afford").I just got off the phone an hour ago with a friend in another state who owns a franchise and just got back from his national franchise meeting.   Over the three days he got the same predictable comments he got in past years from franchise owners in other states - "Oh, you`re the guy who`s got too many people and is paying them way too much and making us look bad.  Why don`t you at least pay less and take some pressure off of us?" They then launch into complaints about turnover.  This guy has little turnover, and what he explains to each of them is that because he hired early in his business cycle and pays well, he has the lowest turnover in the business, has the largest franchise in the world (and started long after many of them), and makes the most personal profit of the business owners in the company.He is always astonished that they hear all this and then can`t make the correlation between his huge success and hiring good people early in the cycle, then paying them well.He feels the key was that he hired others as soon as possible and took the pay-cut himself up front so that he could work ON his business while others worked IN his business.  That allowed him to focus on growing instead of surviving.  He made MUCH less up front and is making much more now because he doesn`t suffer from short-term blinding greed.If you put it in the survey, maybe you could list it as "I don`t want to grow and have a lot of money", or "I`m unwilling to work ON my business, only IN it."  Probably the best  - "I like being the only employee of me because I get all the attention."  Many small business folks just don`t like acting like owners, they preferred to continue to be employees of themselves just like they were when they worked for somebody else.Small business people think they experience running out of money, but what they really run out of is time.   Buy yourself some time - Hire people to work IN your business as early as you can, so you can work ON it - then watch it grow.  The less you work in it and the more you work on it, the faster it will grow.
    Blakeman2006-11-14 15:49:22
  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
    "Short-term blinding greed (sometimes also know as "I`m the only employee I need or can afford")."
    Excellent point! And not that I`m an advocate for avarice, LOL, but that is definitely a very valid aspect.
    I guess with people looking at it from that perspective, the argument could be made that they could make even more money for themselves if they had even just a little bit of extra help than they would trying to do everything themselves.
    I love the story about your friend! It`s so true, and you don`t even have to look at it from the touchy-feely angle--it`s really just simple logic and knowing human nature and how to best put that nature to work. Paying well, empowering employees to be your best advocates and representatives...all of that figures into increased profit and smooth operation as your friend well knows.
    And you took the words right out of my mouth! LOL. You sure know how to make a VA luv ya!
  • BlakemanBlakeman subscriber Posts: 1
    Danielle,VA`s are a great way for small business owners to solve the problem without taking a big risk on permanent employees right away.    I think as small business owners get familiar with the concept and see it work, you`re going to have your hands full!  Good luck!Chuck
  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
    Oh, you know it! And outsourcing is something any business owner can use, whether they have or intend to have actual employees. VAs can`t do everything an employee can do, but their services certainly offer cost-savings and can be used in a strategic way.
    Chuck, where did you get such a fantastic understanding of Virtual Assistance? Do you have a Virtual Assistant?Danielle2006-11-14 16:24:44
  • BlakemanBlakeman subscriber Posts: 1
    I`m cheating - my wife likes doing the "IN" the business stuff.  But I have a couple acquaintances in my business in Virginia and NC who just got VAs in the last few months and wish they had done it much sooner - having a great experience.You should check out your local Business Networking International (BNI) group.  This is the only networking group I`ve ever found that really truly works.  And it`s filled with small business people who need you badly (and who will refer their friends to you as well).http://www.bni.com/
  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
    I personally am not looking for new clients; my role as the founder of the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce is to help increase awareness of Virtual Assistance in the mainstream business world. We`ve got lots of wonderful, highly-qualified Virtual Assistants who are ready to work with great clients, and I know many of them do belong to BNI.
    Say, do you think you might put me in touch with your friends? I`d love to get their feedback and perspective about how hiring a Virtual Assistant has helped them in their business. We could even use them as a case study (if nothing else, it`s nice additional exposure for their business).
  • BlakemanBlakeman subscriber Posts: 1
    You bet - is my email visible to you?   I`ll give you their names that way.  And I would be happy to be a referral source for your VA Ch. of C. here in Denver.  Great concept.
  • inactivemember2inactivemember2 subscriber Posts: 0
    Thanks for asking these great questions! You have really cut to the chase on "why don`t people use VA`s" - and Blakeman and Craig - both great answers! I have several small clients who - I think - and I`ve never known how to put this before - but Blakeman`s points have illustrated it for me - my clients want ME to work ON their businesses while they work IN them. Thus they get to keep the employee mentality - as you point out. Some of them have laid the full responsibility for building their business on me - and abdicated their own responsibility in the matter. I`m not comfortable with this at all.
    Any ideas?
  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
    Hi, Kate,
    Sorry for getting back to you so late. I`m not getting the email notifications that I clicked on for some reason.
    Anyhoo... let me see if I understand your question correctly. Are you saying that instead of doing admin work, your clients are expecting more consultant-like advice and responsibility from you?
    If that`s the case, what that would signify to me is that there`s perhaps something not getting communicated clearly. As a business owner, you are perfectly entitled to have whatever standards you want in your business such as who you want to work with, who an ideal client is for you, and what services you will and won`t provide.
    That being said, it is up to us as the VA business owners to clearly communicate to clients what those standards are, and that may even include something that let`s them know that you are never responsible for their business, that you are not a consultant, but a service provider. You are not responsible for making decisions and determinations, nor for outcomes, in a client`s business. You provide services that support them, but ownership (in every aspect of the word) remains with them. Of course, you always want to convey things as graciously as possible, but it very important to be very clear, direct and assertive.
    And if you sense they are looking for more direction than you are prepared or equipped to provide, you might also refer them to a business coach or whatever other expert or consultant they might benefit from.
    Hope that helps somewhat. And if I`ve not understood the issue, please feel free to restate.
  • KarelGKarelG subscriber Posts: 4
    To all Small Business Owners,
    Remember, if your work day is flexible and if you network well, then you can always find someone willing to do a little work for just a little money.  Consider me.  Although I have an accounting degree, I`m not an accountant.  I decided to keep my corporate job in program finance as my primary source of funding.  But still, like just about everyone, I could use a few hundred dollars more each month.  So ditch reconciling your bank account, and let me do it.  I`m sure there are lots of people who only want to work a few hours a week, but we never see advertisements for 3-7 hrs/wk jobs or for 3-7 hrs/month jobs.  I don`t want to be tied down to a part time job (since I`ve already got a time intensive full time job).
    So don`t be afraid to talk to your customers and to everyone you meet.  Whatever type of help you need, you can probably find it if you just keep the conversation going. 
  • melcoachmelcoach subscriber Posts: 1
    Great topic Danielle,
    I am an avid supporter of VA`s for small business owners. I actually have a team of 8 people who are all virtual staff. I also mentor entrepreneurs and teach them how to start outsourcing their lower-payoff activities to be able to generate more profit and results.
    In my experience there are 5 main reasons why they don`t hire or outsource.

    They have a fear of letting go because they have been burned or have control issues.
    They don`t know how to justify the cost
    They don`t know WHAT to delegate off their plate
    They don`t want to be a manager or have to handle "employee" type issues
    They don`t think they have the time to slow down and train someone else so it`s just easier to do it by themselves (at least in their own mind)
    This is such a big issue that I developed a new program called Virtual Team Building Secrets to help entrepreneurs learn how to have the right mindset, systems and habits to successfully leverage the power of a virtual team (or any kind of team for that matter.)
    I`d be very interested to learning more about your survey and findings to further our "joint cause" to educate entrepreneurs on the value of outsourcing to virtual team members. I know taking the leap has been invaluable to my success!
    Feel free to contact me! I`d love to get to know more about your mission.
  • DanielleDanielle subscriber Posts: 4
    These are great, Melanie--thank you for sharing and keeping this conversation going.
    This is what I have found also, and I hope your post will spark other business owners to relate what one thing really keeps them from hiring support. So keep`em coming--I really want to hear in your own words what obstacles you "think" are standing in your way.
    What I see most often is that business owners don`t have the money (or think they don`t) or don`t invest in their businesses. I think the related part of that issue is that they don`t understand the value proposition, which is incumbant upon our profession to do a better job of articulating that. This is one of the reasons I formed my organization, the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce (http://www.virtualassistantnetworking.com</A>)
    For the sake accuracy and understanding, I do want to clarify for business owners that there`s a difference between virtual staff (who are employees) and Virtual Assistants, who are in the profession of Virtual Assistance and run their own businesses. Hiring a Virtual Assistant, as opposed to simply hiring an assistant who works virtually, are going to be two completely different experiences. A business owner should never have to "train" or "supervise" a Virtual Assistant like they would with virtual workers/virtual staff.
    By the way, Melanie, so cool to talk with you, too because you and I were both interviewed at the same time by Dawn Rivers Baker last year for her Microenterprise Journal.
  • melcoachmelcoach subscriber Posts: 1
    Great distinction on virtual staff vs. virtual assistants.
    Actually everyone on my team is a contractor who has their own business but sometimes I`ve found that I need someone who is more dedicated to me so they limit their clients to only 2 or 3.
    I`ve found one of the breakdowns between a VA and a business owner is when the business owner grows and needs more help, but the VA doesn`t have the bandwidth to grow because of their full client base.
    Knowing what you need and what your growth dynamics are can help you identify the right VA for the job.
    Danielle, thanks for bringing up this subject...its a great tool to use a VA and I hope more people can benefit from your services.
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