How May I Assist You?

Spotlight
January 2017


The global work environment changed radically has over the past decade. Everyone realizes now that businesses that don’t implement online solutions risk being left behind. 


With start-ups and small businesses focused on saving costs, SMEs trying to streamline their businesses and corporations implementing various solutions to organize the workflow in a more effective way, there is a clear indication that the business community is hungrily looking for smart solutions that can ease their workload.


More and more virtual assistance becomes a preferred choice for many companies as the promise of excellent talent coupled with cost-saving options. Experts predict that by 2018, working online across the globe will be worth $5 billion as the demand for outsourcing continues to grow.  While once seen only as a service used by small businesses, today the virtual assistance service is widely used by corporates and business consultancies, giving big organizations a perfect balance in confidentiality, providing support with administrative tasks, and offering the all-important cost-effective solutions tailored to the region and its specifics.  By incorporating virtual business solutions into their business culture busy corporate and consultancy firms can: 


Save direct costs 

VEA professional services can demonstrate an immediate return of up to 35% of the consultant’s time to be put towards billable tasks with long-term.


Increase productivity

Since the reputation and business success depends on the service provided, the virtual assistance provider strives to keep the productivity and efficiency high with the strict internal processes controlling the quality and perfect execution of tasks as well as constantly investing in the training of its employees. 


Gain highly skilled professionals with local knowledge

VEAs usually come with over five years of corporate Executive Assistance at a senior level, especially within the GCC. Clients don’t need to invest in additional training and resources. They are based in Dubai, so each team member brings with her the crucial ‘regional’ experience.

Save operational costs 

Virtual Executive Assistants work remotely allowing companies to minimize such expenses as employees’ salary and health insurance, additional office space rental, buying additional software, or investing in training.

Drive business growth

Studies show that in average managers work 49.4 hours each week; with 52% of office workers log into work outside of business hours every day. Only 59% of a manager’s time is spent on activities that add value; while the rest of time is spent in wasteful meetings, on excessive emails, and administrative tasks. Time efficiency as well as keeping non-core costs to a minimum has become a crucial part of the survival game in the competitive business world. 


How can UAE/ MEA businesses save costs and unlock the potential of their middle management?

By saving their consultant’s or executive’s time and helping them concentrate on key tasks, companies can speed up their business’s growth.


Studies show that up to 36% of the mid-level consultants face gaps in administrative assistance. It’s also a bit shocking that 67% of business owners struggle to focus on the primary purpose of their business due to the administrative burden.  As providers of virtual or outsourced business support solutions, we find this is the case predominantly with the middle management in professional service companies, where that segment is often overlooked for solid administrative assistance.  High operational costs among others make it a bit challenging for companies to have pools of admin assistants. One of the fast emerging solutions to this gap is to utilize the cost-effective services of locally based outsourced or virtual business support solutions.


While virtual assistance services is a norm in the US and growing rapidly in Europe, businesses based in the Middle East are still discovering the benefits of this offering.  Not many companies here realize that a qualified virtual assistance provider can support them with so many tasks as email management, agenda planning, invoice recording and overall operational support. VEAs efficiently handle clients’ routine tasks, leaving them more time to focus on achieving goals, and work on essentials that require their expertise. Moreover, such smart virtual solutions give businesses the freedom to pay only for what they need and avoid hassle with hiring additional full-time staff, buying additional software, or investing in training. 


Dubai rulers’ inspired vision for a technologically smart city has ensured that businesses are technologically capable and ready to make use of what it brings to accelerate their growth. So I’m confident that virtual business solutions will be adopted here really fast.


Shocking productivity statistics and what can be done to increase ROI

Studies show that globally, only 59% of a professional’s time is spent on value-added tasks or billable tasks. And some interesting stats have come to light for the UAE as well, where nearly a quarter of the consultants work an extra 10 hours per week and despite this 53% do not feel that their productivity has increased. And that is because while around 59% of our time is spent on billable tasks, the remaining 41% is usually spent on paperwork, lengthy meetings and largely, administrative tasks. Time is money, particularly in consultancies and this 41% is going straight out of the company’s bottom-line. 


Are there still obstacles and challenges to VA’s in a time where everyone seeks to be as tech evolved as possible?

The tech savvier, the better!

 Outsourcing is set to change the future of the way traditional business operates, and it is important to continually educate the decision makers on how this business model can bring huge cost savings for their companies as well as increase productivity of their team. As the mindset of change and adaptability comes about, the virtual business support industry is settling in.

 

What was your light bulb moment when founding the business?

In early 2009, when the economy was slowing down, the process of opening a business was simplified to encourage small and micro businesses to establish new ventures. At that time, a large number of consultants/professionals in Dubai were setting up their own micro-businesses and at one point I was helping one such person, a friend, with streamlining some of the new company’s admin processes. That, I think, was the light bulb moment, the defining point in leading to Platinum VA being set up - to help small businesses with flexible administrative solutions so that they can focus on the purpose of their business. We have since evolved in this fast paced city to now cater to the outsourcing needs of big companies as well, supporting big corporations and consultancy firms in the UAE and across the region. 


What has the service you provide taught you about how to manage your various roles better?

Effective delegation, prioritizing, constant improvement of myself and my business skills have all helped me wear several hats and manage a couple of businesses simultaneously. When you are passionate about what you do and feel that you make a change in someone’s life or business, there are no more borders in front of you. And we certainly want our staff to love what they do as it reflects on their lifestyle, work performance, and eventually, makes our clients happy. 


I opened Platinum VA back in 2010 being inspired by work with corporate leaders across India and the Middle East. I felt great helping businesses deliver great results by taking from their shoulders some tasks in which I’m the expert. 


I feel that passion that has taken me to where I am now should be the core of any business. For some people that dedication evolves naturally, but for others, part of the problem is finding their passion in the first place.


The Digital workforce  

Nowadays a lot of people, including this Millennial generation, are looking at their options, how to become more productive, in the smartest way possible. A business structure like ours still offers you a corporate environment but with the opportunity to be more flexible, work remotely, and, if needed, stay closer to your family.  


The digitalization of working processes is given the opportunity for many experienced professionals to be still employed and have that job satisfaction; there is no need to give up on your career if you say, a working mum or an experienced professional who had to leave your full-time job to support your family. If you have the right skill set, desire to work, and passionate about what you do, you’ll be surprised how many doors the virtual world can open to you. We also value people who are ready to take ownership of his/her role, somebody who feels she/he brings in that level of confidence and value to the entire team.


By: Warsha joshi

Warsha Joshi is the Founder and Managing Director of Platinum VA and Chief Executive Officer of Expressions Arabia. Joshi set up Platinum VA in 2010 to provide Virtual Executive Assistance to regionally based consulting firms operating in the GCC.  With more than 17 years of senior-level business experience across India and the Middle East, Joshi’s wisdom and relentless pursuit of creativity led her to successfully open Platinum VA confidently into the future. As CEO, Joshi is the driving force behind influential projects, with a solid reputation for spearheading growth and long-term value. Joshi holds a master’s degree in Economics from Osmania University in India. 



November, 2017

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