At the core of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s mission is an unwavering commitment to helping entrepreneurs at every stage learn and grow. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 18-22, EO is hosting EO24/7, a five-day, free virtual learning event aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with skills and strategies to reach new levels of leadership.

Brad Stevens is a seven-year EO member and President-Elect of the EO Atlanta chapter. He's an author, speaker, career entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Outsource Access, which provides highly vetted and trained virtual assistants from the Philippines to entrepreneurs, CEOs and busy professionals worldwide. We asked Brad how entrepreneurs can leverage outsourcing to maximize the contribution of their full-time staff. Here's what he shared.

The true cost of low value-add tasks

Time is money. It's a finite resource: Every business professional has precisely 24 hours each day--and spends between eight and ten of them working. How you maximize those hours becomes the primary differentiator between success--and extraordinary success.

Investing too much time in low value-add tasks guarantees that your company will leave lots of money on the table. Employees bogged down by repetitive tasks such as creating reports, data collection and data entry inevitably dedicate less time to more strategic initiatives that grow your business.

Up to 40 percent of a typical employee's time is spent doing non-strategic work. The loss in productivity and revenue this represents is staggering: Workers spend at least 69 workdays a year completing repetitive tasks that could either be automated or outsourced. That adds up to nearly $5 trillion in lost productivity worldwide every single year.

With six out of ten startups going bankrupt within three years, knowing how to free up employees' time to focus on strategic, high-growth tasks is key to carving out your unshakeable market advantage.

What's the solution?

It's simple: Outsource administrative, repetitive, non-value-add tasks. 

You want employees to work on your business, not just in your business. You want managers to manage and develop leaders versus being caught in the weeds.

High value-add tasks--such as strategic and creative thinking, identifying new markets, competitor awareness, staff development, client relationship building, leadership development, marketing and business development--should have your full-time employees' full-time attention. After all, that's what you're really paying them to do. By eliminating even two or three hours of daily repetitive tasks from their plates, you can effortlessly free up numerous hours each week for them to focus on projects with a far more significant impact on your company.

I've worked with and spoken to thousands of company leaders; you'd be amazed by how much job clutter most are completely unaware of in their businesses. For example, I've seen countless companies whose VP of Sales spends five hours a month generating a copy-and-paste sales report. Very few think in terms of opportunity cost, but it would be to their benefit: A Virtual Assistant could complete the report for $30, providing the VP with enough time to close a deal worth thousands of dollars in revenue. The opportunity cost to your business of having your VP of Sales generate that report is thousands of dollars.

There's a collateral benefit to outsourcing: By empowering full-time employees with the resources and time needed for more strategic work, you enhance their overall job satisfaction. Their feet hit the ground each day excited about doing what they love in their role--rather than the repetitive "must-do's" that they don't. 

The more engaged your workforce is, the higher employee retention rates will be. And happy, engaged employees drive productivity and business growth.

Outsourcing 101

Q: How do you outsource repetitive tasks to free up strategic employees' time?

A: Hire Virtual Assistants in the Philippines.

In my 20-plus years of working with entrepreneurs and starting several domestic and global firms, I've noticed one consistent theme: Entrepreneurs resist letting go. This is true of employees, too.

However, when you make the one-millimeter shift in thinking to look for ways to work smarter, not harder, you open yourself up to considering alternative options--like outsourcing. With 600 million talented, highly qualified virtual workforce professionals available for hire across the globe, removing repetitive tasks from your strategic employees' to-do lists is easier than ever before. Not to mention, up to 80 percent cheaper! 

A college-educated, fluent English-speaking Filipino Virtual Assistant makes $6 to $8 an hour. A comparably skilled American-based worker makes $20 to $25 an hour, plus benefits. When you shift non-value-add tasks to an offshore worker, you empower your American-based employees to get more done. By liberating 15 to 20 hours of their workweek, they become capable of contributing to business growth in a more meaningful, strategic way.

And, you can accomplish their former repetitive, day-to-day tasks--which consumed up to 20 hours a week--for $1,200 to $1,500 a month. With more time now focused on growing your business, investing in a Virtual Assistant (VA) quickly translates to a 25 percent, 50 percent--even up to a 75 percent increase in overall business revenue.

Show me the money

By implementing this model of outsourcing non-revenue-generating tasks, I've helped clients triple their business in a matter of months. Here are two real-life examples:

  1. One of our clients removed 15 hours of administrative minutia (tracking GPS reports vs. time sheets of truck drivers) from an $80,000/year employee through outsourcing. That VP of Operations subsequently had enough time each month to help retain clients and close new business resulting in a $200,000+ annual impact on the business.
  2. Another client's startup was nearly bankrupt. Outsourcing through offshore Virtual Assistants saved the business. Eighteen months later, the company was producing $500,000 in annual revenue and created 11 new US-based jobs to support that growth. In this case, offshore outsourcing filled a gap in workload that wouldn't otherwise result in additional US job hires. Ironically, offshore outsourcing helped save the company and created US-based jobs by removing costly "job clutter." I've seen it happen time and again. 

If you're looking for the most cost-effective, easy-to-implement way to grow your bottom line, offshoring your strategic employees' repetitive tasks to a low-cost Virtual Assistant is a proven, revenue-enhancing method.

Published on: Nov 15, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.