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15985-female-hands-typing-on-a-laptop-keyboard-pvI have watched with growing interest the various conversations and comments written by many in our Australian VA industry about offshore competition.

A lot of the conversation and comment seems to be (in my humble opinion) fear-driven; people are fearful (and rightly so) that we are losing our grip on the local client base to overseas, cut-price competitors.  With this fear, there also comes a lot of negative comment and conjecture about the overseas industry, its ethics and its ability to provide a service of any worth to reputable Australian businesses.

I get it… I TOTALLY get it… but, I think we need to start looking at this issue from a slightly different perspective.

Are we being REACTIVE or PROACTIVE.  My observations say we are being the former, not the latter…  I truly believe that we need our industry in Australia to become a standout, no-nonsense, quality industry… one that is based on best practice, quality standards, high level service, reliability and dependability.

Rather than focusing on what the opposition are doing, we need to look inward and ask ourselves, “what are we doing to increase the awareness of the excellence we have to offer the Australian business community?”

I know I am going out on a limb here, but I also believe that our industry bodies (AAVIP and AVAA) should think seriously about banding together as ONE and promoting the Aussie industry with all guns blazing – in the interests, and with the unified vision, of truly representing the VA Industry in Australia.  At the very least, it’s confusing having two Industry Associations… we as an industry could be so much stronger under one clear banner.

Further – and perhaps I am being too simplistic here – surely with enough paid members in one Aussie VA Association, we could fund a full-time spokesperson whose sole mission would be to get out there and promote the industry to Australian Businesses.

In the meantime, let’s focus on what we can do better!  Let’s continue to build quality businesses, based on great communication and solid service offerings.   One of my colleagues, Rosie Shilo, wrote this blog which is very relevant to what I’m saying here too: http://www.virtuallyyours.com.au/opportunity-radar-va/

Let’s create a buzz about our wonderful onshore, home-based, home-grown, totally relevant Australian VA industry!

And now I’m going to really push the envelope by saying that with the backing and support of a strong home-based industry, we could actually begin to embrace and potentially utilise the services of offshore providers as an add-on to our businesses… perhaps overseeing their work on repetitive and labour intensive tasks and providing a cheaper option for our clients on this type of work (??… just an idea… I’m sure there’s better ideas than this).

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.