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Questions & Answers

Posted by Heather West on 2013-10-11 10:33:32
Title: I am a solopreneur. I would like to use partnerships and sub-contracting to grow my business. Do you...
Category: Leadership

I am a solopreneur. I would like to use partnerships and sub-contracting to grow my business. Do you have any suggestions as to how I should manage this process to optimize return for my business without sacrificing control or quality?

Answer:

Lisa Taylor
2013-10-16 16:43:25

Having a virtual team certainly comes with its advantages. Most significantly, a virtual workforce grants business owners enhanced flexibility. However, contractors will also often have other priorities that compete for their time. They must be allowed to direct their own work and the way it is done. They may be passionate for the clients they serve, but it is a rare contractor or partner who will throw their hearts into growing your business with you.

Your concern about control and quality is an important one. Taking on a virtual workforce does not exempt you from many of the management issues companies with employees face. Here are four steps to assist you as you prepare to manage your virtual workforce:

1. Structure the relationships right. Subcontracting arrangements and partnership agreements come with specific legal considerations. Make sure you are properly protected. Seek legal advice from a reliable source; there are many online resources and small business lawyers ready to help you. Just as good fences make good neighbours, good contracts make great partnerships.

2. Document your processes. A good operations manual will help you be a more efficient manager and will keep your virtual team focused on their work. It will also help you recruit the right people and bring new contractors and partners on-board.

3. Use technology. There are many no-cost and low-cost tools that can help you stay up to date with the progress of your virtual workforces’ work. Invest in tools that best match the type of work you need people to do – from project management to document sharing to client relationship management and beyond. Use your operations manual to inform your choice of tools with a focus on efficiency and your ability to oversee what is happening.

4. Be a good hiring manager. When interviewing, have a clear idea of the competencies you need. Once hired, sub-contractors and partners will need feedback, oversight and encouragement. They will need to learn how you like to work and what they need to know about your brand. Budget your time to ensure you continually manage your team.

Growing from a solopreneur to a small virtual business owner is a great milestone. Congratulations on taking this step.

Lisa Taylor, President, Challenge Factory Inc


Mark Burdon
2013-10-26 11:53:51
Followup question:
I have found LinkedIn groups and local networking communities to be good sources of building relationships to pursue opportunities. Coworking facilities are a good place to connect with other solopreneurs that tend to be open to creative collisions as they call them. You can measure things seven ways to Sunday but first finding places to connect with collaborative partners is important. YouInc.com obviously is a good place!

Kim Sarrasin
2013-11-08 17:58:49
Followup question:
Answer: Heather, I've been working with virtual assistants since I started my company 13 years ago. It's extremely cost effective because they are contractors - not employees. One company I've been VERY happy with is Contemporary Virtual Assistants (CVA) - highly recommend checking them out. And, the more monthly hours you retain - the more your p/hour fee drops! CVA website: http://www.contemporaryva.com Oh! And be sure to mention my name (Kim Sarrasin - The Queen of Hearts) - they take very good care of peeps I send their way :)