Watch: 2018 Year in Review

Watch: 2018 Year in Review

2018 was another amazingly fulfilling year for VBP. Apart from consistently hitting our targets and satisfying our clients, we also have greatly increased in number, both our staff and clients.

Last year, another milestone was reached as we launched our third expansion and our largest office yet.

Let’s take a look back at how 2018 went:

VBP at Five: 10 things we’ve learned along the way

VBP at Five: 10 things we’ve learned along the way

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.

7.  Self-leadership

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!

Marketing tips: Blog writing checklist

Marketing tips: Blog writing checklist

Why do you need a blog?

A blog humanizes your brand. It gives your business an avenue to discuss about the things that relate to your company and clients. A blog lets you share information and opinions, it shows your voice and character as a brand. It is one of the best ways to establish your purpose and expertise.

Improves traffic and conversion rates

Blog posting is an easy way to build content to your website. As per online algorithms, the more content and pages you have on your site, the more it improves organic search visibility. Thus, increases traffic on your site.

In addition, it drives lead generation and conversion rates. Having a well-maintained blog on your site builds authority for your business and loyalty from your audience—which can be your new, existing or soon-to-be clients, potential leads and prospects.

How to start writing a blog post?

Well, some may think that creating blog posts is fairly easy. Nope.

But here’s a quick guide to help you start with your first blog entry. We have created a checklist on the stages of blog writing based on Daniel Pink’s tips on business writing from HubSpot.

 

Writing may seem intimidating at first but having a quick checklist on how to go about with the process will definitely give you an extra push to start that blog.

Moving forward, you can also create variety in your posts by experimenting with other types of content like infographics, interactive visuals, video contents, and many more.

If you need help with blog writing and other digital content production and even website revamping, click below:

Otter: Record and transcribe real-time!

Otter: Record and transcribe real-time!

Dreading transcriptions?

Anyone working in the financial planning industry can surely relate to creating tons of file notes and transcribing numerous discovery meetings.

This slow painful process is one of the most time-consuming tasks in our back office.

But thanks to the ever amazing magic of technology, people are now discovering new tools to make this task easier to bear.

Otter AI App

Artificial Intelligence has always been around for quite a while but recently became a fast rising trend that has largely contributed to today’s technological advancement. Some of these help you find your way to that newly opened café in the city, think Siri and Google Assistant, some even help our doctors in various clinical scenarios. And now, it will be helping you out with admin tasks too.

Otter is a voice note app created by AI Sense that helps you record and transcribe your conversations real-time.

Record, Transcribe, Share!

You can use Otter in all types of conversations, just don’t forget to inform or ask permission from all parties involved in the conversation.

The app functions as a simple voice recorder but what gives Otter its edge is its real-time transcription. While recording the conversation, it automatically transcribes the words which you can see right on your screen as you talk and record. It has key features like voice recognition where it recognizes different voices and time stamps when it detects a different person/voice speaking. Once recording and transcription is done, you are able to search keywords when you want to jump into a specific part of the conversation.

Though Otter’s transcription is far from perfect, it may input different words depending on how it captures the sound. You can then review the transcription and just edit it out. This still helps you save a huge amount of time and effort.

In addition, the AI app also allows exporting and collaboration so you can easily share notes with your team members.

The app is a great tool to use for back office tasks where file notes and discovery meetings have always been a part of the routine.

Using Otter will give you and your FPAs more time to focus on other crucial tasks. Definitely an increase in productivity!

Check out the Otter AI App here: https://otter.ai/