Oh, how time flies!
We can’t believe it’s been five years…yes, five years. For most businesses, five years may seem relatively new, but for us, these five amazing years have given us a lot more than we can imagine.
A mix of thrill and excitement—it definitely is a ride!
So we asked the Davids, “In those 5 years, what lessons have you learned?”
The things we learned about outsourcing and more
As we, in VBP, all know, DC (David Carney) and DD (David Deegan) met in a conference way back, talked business, drank some beer and the rest, as they say, was history.
From 2 employees to now over 300, handling everything in a rapidly growing business in a foreign land is definitely no piece of cake.
Here are 10 things that they’ve learned about running an outsourcing business according to the Davids: (in no particular order)
1. Limiting beliefs
In outsourcing, most people think about the limitations, the things they can’t do. But one thing we’ve learned in this industry is to be open-minded, to have the ability to find things that you can can let go of and maximize the potential of an off-shore team. Because with the proper process and training (for your team members), you can get more done from outsourcing than you may think.
2. The importance of priorities
As a business that has quickly developed in five years, there were tons of things that we had to go through—more complex clients, office expansions and most importantly IT upgrades and security. Currently, we have given more time and efforts in handling information security, this is why we are now in the process of getting certified with ISO 27001 – Information Security Management System (ISMS).
3. “Culture trumps strategy”
A quote from business management guru Peter Drucker. We’ve learned the importance of a strong culture and that a culture is present in any business whether we design it or not. Designing our culture has helped us get to where we are now. Nurturing an amazing team has, in turn, improved our quality of service.
4. Business is about relationships
Essentially, the importance of relationship in a service business has been paramount to what we believe is our success with our clients; ensuring that we teach our staff to be confident, to communicate better so they can let the clients know what they need and want. In the same way, we encourage our clients to build relationships with their team members. Which is why a common tip that we give our clients is to consider their offshore members as part of their own team, have regular huddles and treat them how they would with their Australian team.
5. The power of clear instructions and documentation
We see a lot of assumed knowledge in the financial services industry. Our FPAs/PPs start with less to zero knowledge before they undergo intensive training with our team. To ensure accuracy and minimal reworks, we encourage our team as well as our clients to practice giving clear instructions in any task assignment and process. We have also learned that developing a good documentation process is the ultimate tool to achieving desired results, consistency and efficiency.
6. Engage everyone in the business
So if you’re going to outsource we believe it is important that everyone understands the WHYs and the objectives. Don’t assume they understand the reason for outsourcing and don’t assume they will necessarily be on board from day one. Make sure you have someone in your oganisation accountable for the success of outsourcing (have it as part of their KPI) and involve those that will be closest to the outsourcing team easely in the process so they understand what to do and why they’re doing it.
An important framework that we have in our business is called the Situational Leadership which was developed by The Ken Blanchard Companies. This has allowed our staff to be self-leaders and take ownership in identifying the training and development they require. Regular one-on-one sessions with their managers allow them to ask for the support and direction they need from us or from their clients.
Paul Stapleton (Senior Consultant, Blanchard International AU)
Situational Leadership training at VBP Cebu Office
8. Feedback, feedback, feedback
In the course of five years, one of the most important parts of our growth is feedback. Of course, feedback from clients on how we provide services, feedback from our team towards our clients and feedback from the staff on how we are as a company. Whether pinpointing slip-ups or recognising performance highlights, feedback is vital for everyone’s growth. Make sure you are asking for feedback from clients, staff and your licencees on what’s working and what you can do better.
9. System set you free
It’s simple. When you have a clear process and a system in place, it allows you to have more time to create, and evolve your business model. Don’t use original thought for routine activities. In fact, it is so important to us that we created these mouse pads to have in our desks as a simple everyday reminder.
Mouse pad design
10. Continue to evolve
Looking at it now—the structure, how we do training, onboarding process, etc.—it’s vastly different from how we did everything a few years back. And no matter how old we get, the business will continue to evolve. Every business has 6 -10 main processes (Advise Delivery, Ongoing Service, Sales, Recruitment etc.), pick one area a quarter and review everything you do in this area, get everyone involved and look for incremental improvements. Then next quarter, pick the next area. In the span of two years, you can renovate your entire business.
Remember most people overestimate what can be done in a quarter (try to review everything) but underestimate what can be accomplished over a few years.
Let’s raise our glass to our 5th year and to many more years of supporting our clients!