Our team often get asked why we are called “Virtalent” or even, “how do I pronounce it?”. Today I wanted to explain the meaning and relevance of our brand name to our mission as a company in the Virtual Assistant industry.
Names have been around since the times of the cavemen as a way to categorise and understand the world around us. These labels give us order in an otherwise quite chaotic world and we have all become quite attached to them. How do you feel when someone says your name? Saying someone’s name to them is a classic way to help build trust and rapport with that person. The same can be said for brand names. When we think of a brand like “McDonalds” or “Marks & Spencer”, what comes to your mind? These are more than labels or names, but have become a way to attach particular feelings, emotions, opinions and memories to these brands.
So, take two minutes to think. What do your customers think of your company name and what does it mean to you?
Ellie and I started out on a mission to radically disrupt the Virtual Assistant industry in the UK back in 2014. We wanted to improve the quality and results that come with outsourcing work, battling the connotations that outsourcing is something to fear or worry about and instead encourage our community of entrepreneurs to embrace the fantastic benefits of this business practice when done well.
Virtalent = Virtual + Talent
We have always embraced the power of virtual or remote working and wanted to reflect this in our name. Small business owners are slowly waking up to a revolution in remote working, mainly by ditching their expenses office spaces for co-working spaces and more time spent working from home (who really wants a long commute!?), but they are also embracing the benefits that can come with hiring remotely too.
- A larger talent pool. If you live in a large city you are competing with thousands of other companies for the same talent, whereas if you live in a remote or rural area you may have very little talent to choose from. By removing geographical restrictions you instead recruit based solely on how competent or experienced a person is and not simply how close they are to your office. Why limit yourself in this way?
- Reduce your overheads. Say goodbye to 12 month lease agreements, desks, canteen areas, water coolers, boxes of stationery, utility bills… hiring remotely means you can spend this money on growing your business and not on chocolate biscuits or Sarah’s penchant for green A4 notebooks.
- A better work-life balance. Let’s face it, commuting to work is a complete waste of time for many of us. We all race into an office, far from our home, only to sit there at the same desk and computer monitor we could have at home. What could you and your team do with the hours you all spend travelling to and from your office or spent sat in long meetings discussing what Sally was up to at the weekend? What else could you all spend the money on? Removing the need to sit in the same room as each other, at least every day, means more time spent adding value (or, yes, spending time with our loved ones!). This leads to greater job satisfaction, motivation and a feeling of empowerment that will soon show when you next have a project to deliver. Surely it is about the quality of the end result and not the quantity of hours that someone sits in their grey cubicle? Even allowing your team a little flexibility in their hours will mean they will, more often than not, flex to meet the needs of the business when you really need something to be done. It’s all about trusting and respecting that person as an individual, and not about dictating their entire lives to them as if they are simply cogs in a machine.
For Virtalent, this means we can give our customers the most talented people that the UK has to offer, we have very low overheads and so can pass on these cost savings to our customers, and our staff feel motivated and happy. In turn, they excel at their role and stay with us for a very long time. We work hard to ensure we maintain a positive work culture and everyone is kept informed about the company, but I very much doubt we have any “office politics” or petty rivalry to contend with. We’re proud to have built an enjoyable place to work in which our team feels supported but not suffocated.
One concern we hear frequently is that employers find it hard to trust someone when they work remotely and can’t see their computer screen. My answer to that would be that if you can’t trust them to work remotely, then you shouldn’t hire them at all or you seriously need to reevaluate how you manage people. Today’s generation expects to have more freedom in the workplace than ever before, but will repay this trust ten-fold.
We have always worked hard to recruit the very best individuals to work as Virtual Assistants at Virtalent. We haven’t always got it right, but we always make sure to learn from our mistakes and today I am confident we have the best VAs available to hire in the UK. There are larger companies out there, yes, but we pack a punch when it comes to the quality of the work we deliver and the fantastic relationships our VAs and Account Managers build with their clients.
“Talent” really is critical to us. Everything from our exacting recruitment processes to the way we work hard to understand our clients’ needs during a free consultation that very few companies in our industry bother with. It all comes down to offering an efficient, high quality service without the high price tag you would expect given the amount of work involved on our part to ensure this happens.
So, that’s it. We are “Virtalent”, a Virtual Assistant agency in the UK which is on a mission to improve the quality of the outsourcing experience for entrepreneurs across the country.