Hire a Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Hire a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Are You Ready?
So there’s no getting around it, we have to talk about Covid and both the short term and long term impacts on the real estate industry. The main question everyone is asking: will there be a way back from this situation? The short answer is that for some businesses the...
This is it. We’ve reached lock down in just about every country in the world. If you’re not already working from home, you soon will be. As a real estate business owner, you’re probably wondering - how can real estate businesses work from home? It’s not impossible. It...
Do You Have a Need and are You Ready to Hire a Real Estate Virtual Assistant?
Are you ready to hire a real estate virtual assistant
Could your real estate business benefit from outsourcing? And if so, are you actually read to take that step?
Hiring a real estate virtual assistant can dramatically change your business. Moving low-value tasks offshore will lower your overheads and contribute to your profit margin. But offshoring isn’t a magic bullet. You have to know what you’re getting into.
If you’re reading this then you’ve already been considering if an offshore solution is right for you. There are a lot of things to think through and we’ll cover those in more detail below. To start, there are two absolutely fundamental questions you need to ask about your current business set up. Is it generating value? And is it efficient?
When we talk about value, we’re talking about the things that actually generate income for your business. In real estate, that means selling and renting homes. All the other stuff is essential – paperwork, filing, updating databases, creating ads. But these tasks don’t actually make money. They are ‘low-value’ tasks.
When it comes to efficiency, it’s about how well your business handles processes and workload. Are there things that take too long? Can you handle the amount of work coming in? What if it were to suddenly increase? Or vice versa, are you generating enough business to pay your staff and your overheads and still make a profit?
Those are the basics. Our quiz will take you through all the questions you need to ask yourself about your business to find out if outsourcing is right for you. If your business could benefit from hiring an offshore team, the quiz will also check to see if you are ready to take that step.
Are you or your staff performing tasks well below the value of their hourly rate?
Good people make a good business. You want to pay your staff what they deserve and reward excellent performance. But too often, your staff are stuck doing menial tasks that are well below their qualifications.
Think about it. Are your staff spending time on tasks that are essential but which don’t generate income?
Is your accountant data entering receipts and processing expense claims? That’s several hours a week they could be building out a proper financial plan focused on growth.
Are your sales people spending 2 hours a day responding to emails? That’s time they could be making calls and talking to leads.
What about your property managers? Are they wasting time typing up inspection reports and chasing up overdue utility bills? That’s time they could be using to canvas for more properties.
Are there tasks that will generate more business that you just do not have time to get to?
It’s really normal to get so caught up in the day-to-day running of your business that you don’t have time to try out new things. No doubt, you watched a webinar or attended a conference and were inspired to do something new but how and when can you actually implement it?
For example, you want to build out a proper sales funnel, improve your Instagram, or create local community mini-sites. All brilliant ideas that will definitely benefit your business. Who can you assign it to? Who in your team currently has the capacity to take on a whole new project? Does anyone have the time resources to manage it from beginning to end?
Are there roles that would help the business, but the business cannot afford to put on a local team member for the role?
This is closely related to the last question. In an ideal situation, you would hire someone to take care of all your social media marketing, for example. That’s a big outlay and not one every business can afford. As we all know, it’s not just salary and superannuation. There also overheads like a desk and computer, training and induction. That’s a lot of money to risk on a brand new role.
And if it is a new position, who will handle training? Do you know what to expect from the new hire and who will manage it? No wonder it’s easier to just ignore it!
Are you in a position where you are knocking back business because you do not have the capacity to handle more?
Hopefully your business is generating a heap of enquiries, you’re taking on dozens of clients each day, and delighted customers are leaving you glowing reviews. Congratulations!
Can you handle it if business were to double tomorrow? Or would your staff struggle to keep delivering the same great experience?
Every business goes through awkward stages where there’s too much workload for the current human capacity but not quite enough income to cover hiring more staff. These transitional phases can be a real balancing act. Most business owners manage to negotiate their way through it but it can be a headache with overworked staff and less than happy customers.
Or vice versa - are you in a position where the amount of business coming in does not cover current costs and you need to lower the expenses?
You have to spend money to make money – that is true. And when your business is ticking along nicely, you’re generating enough income to cover all your costs and have a nice healthy profit left over.
Sometimes, businesses go through tough times where this just doesn’t happen. Interest rates go up, the market slumps, external forces bump up your costs, or internal problems affect your business. At these moments, it’s time to look at reducing your expenses so that you can start to make a profit again.
Are you willing to take a risk on something new if it could improve your business?
You like the idea of reducing your costs, getting more value from your staff, and boosting your profit margin – but are you really ready to try something new?
Outsourcing is a whole different way of doing business. You will learn a lot through trial and error and that can be scary. Your staff might be afraid about what it means for them. You will have to deal with new people and new cultures. You’ll have to change your leadership and management style.
Are these things you are willing to try for the good of your business?
Ready, set, go
By now, you should have a clearer idea of some of the ways that outsourcing can benefit your business, but also some of the challenges that go along with it. If you feel that yes, hiring an offshore team to reduce costs in your real estate business makes sense to you, great. Now let’s find out if you’re actually ready to start.
Have you identified the areas of the business where you will need assistance?
Nobody knows your business better than you. Hopefully, you already know exactly where the pain points are.
If you don’t, it’s time to get thinking. Where are logjams happening? Are there any processes that simply take too long? What do customers complain about? What tasks do staff hate doing? What keeps you up at night and what do you know could be done better?
Then you need to get granular. Which will you move offshore – tasks or roles? Have you sketched out job descriptions? Who will manage the offshore team? What communication tools will you use?
How does your local team feel?
Offshoring can make local staff feel nervous. They feel like their jobs are being ‘shipped overseas’. Their concerns are genuine. Do you have a management plan in place to communicate with your local team? How much will you incorporate them into discussions about job descriptions and tasks? Do they share your vision for making the business better through outsourcing?
Are your current procedures robust and detailed? Are they aligned to KPIs?
For an offshore team to be successful, your business must have really strong procedures. You can’t expect a new hire to know all about your company culture, brand identity, or processes. They’re not in the same room (or country) as you so they can’t ask questions about basic things.
To avoid confusion and to make sure everything runs smoothly, you need to have written procedures in place for almost all of your processes. That way, everyone knows what they’re doing and when. This benefits both your local staff and your offshore team.
Having good procedures also helps with tracking performance. If your staff know that they need to reply to emails within 30 minutes, for example, you can assess their performance against that. If it can be measured, it can be managed.
Have you embraced the cloud? Do you have the right tools in place?
This is one of those obvious things that often gets overlooked. When your team is decentralised, you can’t rely on old technology. Everything from email to customer management to accounting systems needs to be in the cloud. Do you have any legacy systems that are still on local computers in your office?
And what about communication? Sending text messages might not be ideal if some of your back office staff are offshore. Have you looked at other communication options like Slack or messaging?
What’s your onboarding process?
Ensure your new staff have the best chance of success by having a thorough onboarding process in place. Your local and offshore staff will feel more comfortable with each other if they have gotten to know each other, share the same vision for your business, and understand the company culture.
These are things that take time, that’s for sure, but it’s not impossible. There are various tools you can use – Loom, Slack, video calls, collective whiteboards, Asana. If you don’t have a process already, map out what you think is a logical progression of things for your staff to learn.
Finally, who will manage the whole process?
Have you decided who in your local team will be in charge of your offshore team members? Is it something you need to manage? Or would someone else be a better option? How much support will they need to manage offshore staff? Are they ready and willing to take on this new challenge?
These are some of the questions you need to really think through before starting out on your outsourcing journey. They can be hard to answer. Outsourcing can definitely transform your business for the better, but it does require careful thought and planning. There’s a lot to think about. So just one last question.
Are you ready to start your offshore journey?