Not long ago I was introduced to a business that probably would not have existed — at least not in the same form — beyond a decade ago.
MyBusinessAssistant.com is a business that exists precisely because of the accelerated growth of globalization, the existence of the Internet, and the tendency toward businesses to operate virtually.
It is also a business that is taking advantage of other trends — the disruptive technology changing the face of the telecommunications industry today and the current affordability of technology which enables even thinly-capitalized startups to outsource business functions affordably. In short, this is a business that exists because the founders have figured out a way to spot business trends occurring around us and create a business that responds to the needs driving those trends.
MyBusinessAssistant.com provides a menu of services to help the back office operations of startups and smaller businesses. It provides call center, phone answering and PBX/switchboard; Website management; administrative and back-office services; bookkeeping; IT support; and shared office space and a virtual office presence.
Gourab Nanda, Co-Founder and CEO, says his company provides general, non-industry specific services — the kinds of non-core activities that small businesses can and should outsource. He sees the biggest demand coming from services industries, including IT services, financial services or marketing services. These are the kinds of services that can be offered virtually. Ecommerce companies that need back-office and call center support also tend to use his company’s offerings, as do businesses from countries outside the United States that are looking to establish a U.S. office presence.
Early stage companies and startups are his business’s sweet spot when it comes to target customers. Why? Startups operate leanly out of necessity.
MyBusinessAssistant.com is headquartered in Maryland here in the U.S. Yet, Gourab says his business has customers from around the globe. Most of them are not local to Maryland.
Gourab said, “I see growth potential as nearly limitless, because we can handle customers from all over the world. In fact, we have to say “no” a lot. We will not do a printing job or something that is a one-time thing. It must be a general type of service we can replicate again in our business.”
So, if you are considering outsourcing, how do you decide what to outsource and what to keep inside? According to Gourab, “Outsource functions that do not generate revenue. That frees up time to devote to your core business and earn more. Don’t outsource something that is the heart and soul of the business. For instance, if you run a Web business, don’t outsource your Web operations, because that is your business. But if you are a manufacturing company or a law firm, and the Web is not core, then it would be appropriate to outsource the Web piece.”
As always in these situations, I press business owners to give me concrete examples of how their services help their customers. Gourab described a customer that has an eCommerce business selling cookies online. It is run by a gentleman who has a full-time job and runs the cookie business as a side business. The entire back end of that business is outsourced. Orders are taken online or over the phone and sent directly to a bakery. MyBusinessAssistant.com handles the phone orders and takes customer service calls for the cookie business. During this past Valentine’s Day season, the cookie site sold literally thousands of orders and MyBusinessAssistant.com took 700 calls, enabling the cookie site to do a booming business despite being a part-time sideline for its owner.
If you needed an example of how watching trends and meeting the needs behind those trends can put money in your pocket, MyBusinessAssistant.com is it. Spotting and taking advantage of business trends is their lifeblood.
Thank you for helping to raise awareness of the Virtual Assistant profession. There are as many different kinds of VA’s as there are clients who need their services. The profession is growing in leaps and bounds and is definitely a worldwide service provider.
Businesses, even those who operate locally, can benefit from such services since many have fewer than 10 employees.
It would be nice to know more of the basics such as where are the workers located? How many employees are there? What are the costs and plans? What are the qualifications of the workers? It’s nice to have a success story, but help us to evaluate the fit and usefulness for ourselves. I have started a comparison sheet for different VA vendors and am happy to update it as I get new information.