Smart and Flexible Help by Michael David McGuire (HONOLULU, HI) In today's business lexicon, there are those who might consider the word "outsourcing" to have negative connotations. But one Honolulu businessman has redefined the word and in the process, is now helping other businesses see the value in sharing the time of off-site virtual workers. "I took a look at the whole outsourcing model," said Leo von Wendorff by phone from his office on Maunaloa Avenue in Honolulu's historic Kaimuki neighborhood, "and I saw how it could be strengthened. I saw how skilled workers could be employed and I saw clearly how to systematically address all quality control issues." von Wendorff is considered by some to be an innovative leader in this new way of doing business. "In today's more challenging economic times, the key to staying competitive and profitable will come by being more productive. This is especially true for the individual business person and small sized businesses." von Wendorff, who comes from a background in finance and corporate management, first envisioned his Virtual Knowledge Worker (VKW) concept three years ago while on a trip to Germany. "I was traveling," von Wendorff explained, "and I realized that there were important tasks that I could delegate to others while I was on the road. But I didn't want to expand the office or hire extra staff or take on the added taxes and overhead. It struck me that if I felt this way, there must be many other individuals and business owners facing the same situation." von Wendorff's VKW solution relies on a well-orchestrated and systematic approach to finding skilled work force talent, then matching that talent to the specific needs of a particular business. "Some businesses might need part time help with setting appointments or managing their office correspondence. Other larger businesses might need full-time help in their HR department or in doing customer follow-ups. The uses for a bright and dedicated Private Virtual Assistant are limitless, including helping manage a person's busy social calendar or taking care of administrative chores associated with managing a modern household." In von Wendorff's business model, the savings to the local business come not by hiring cheap workers, which was the old outsourcing model, but by creating a sophisticated economy of scale and by carefully matching a particular worker's passion and skill set to a specific business function. "These well-matched workers can then be dedicated to that specific task for one particular business, or in the case of small businesses or individuals, shared on a part-time basis with three or four organizations." "What's really great about this system," von Wendorff pointed out, "is that the local business owner does not have to add office space or pay employee benefits or taxes since all of that is taken care of by us at VKW."