If 2020 has taught business owners anything, it’s the need to be agile. Having the ability to pivot and flex to changing circumstances is paramount if you want to future proof your business. Easier said than done, right? Well one of the easiest ways to facilitate this and set yourself up for commercial success as an entrepreneur is to build an agile team around you. Enter: a Virtual Assistant.
There comes a time in every business owner’s journey when being the Chief Everything Officer is no longer sustainable. Working on everything yourself can only get you so far and there are only so many hours in the day. Don’t think you can afford help? Well, think again – a Virtual Assistant will work on a completely flexible, part-time basis.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A VA provides support to businesses and entrepreneurs, working remotely or “virtually” on a selection of tasks and projects. They are dedicated entirely to helping business owners and busy execs perform at their very best, streamlining processes and taking care of important, day-to-day work that needs to be looked after, but just not by you.
Some VAs will have worked as Executive or Personal Assistants others as Marketing Managers. Most will have had a varied career that has seen them build a wide range of skills – from customer service, to sales. These talented professionals have chosen to become Virtual Assistants to shake the shackles of rigid office life and gain the flexibility they need.
Why every ambitious business owner needs a VA
1. A Virtual Assistant will make you more money
Business owners and employees spend around 69 days per year on administrative tasks. That’s one-third of the working year spent on work that doesn’t have a direct impact on generating profit.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant buys you more time and enables you to adopt the 80/20 rule. Adopting this rule will rapidly change the game for your business.
In any company, 80% of day-to-day tasks are things that need to be done to keep the business going. But these don’t need to be done by you. By delegating out these repetitive low-value tasks, you’ll free up your time to focus on the 20% of tasks that really need your attention and, most importantly, will make a dramatic impact in growing your business.
This is even more important if you run a service-based business and charge an hourly or day rate for your services. Outsourcing will ensure you maximise your time spent on billable work, building client relationships and business development.
2. A Virtual Assistant will make you more productive
According to Inc, in a standard 8-hour working day, “the average office worker does just under 3 hours of “productive” work”. That’s a pretty poor ROI when you add up the mounting costs to business owners of hiring an employee.
Unlike an employee you pay regardless of the output they really generate, VAs only ever bill you for time spent working on tasks. That means no money spent paying for someone to stand chatting in the office kitchen.
A VA can be part-time or full-time, depending on your requirements. They don’t have to contend with the traditional distractions that come with an office full of people and they’re very accustomed to hitting deadlines. It’s more than likely that your business dilemmas are something they have dealt with before, so they’ll be well attuned to identifying your needs.
Best of all, you won’t need to think about pensions, National Insurance payments, sick leave, professional development training, annual reviews, office space, mobile phones, computers, payroll… and the long list of other costs generated by hiring internally.
3. A VA gives you access to skills you don’t already have
Finally, a Virtual Assistant can bring a vast range of expertise to your business. And delivery efficiency to make your life easier is their primary goal.
VAs have spent their entire careers supporting business owners and senior professionals, so they have developed a set of skills that you would be pushed to compete with.
It makes much more sense for you to focus on what you’re good at and enjoy doing – from conducting sales meetings to consulting – and allow a dedicated VA to look after the day-to-day tasks that might take you double the time to tackle.
Invest before you’re ready
Investing in a Virtual Assistant might be off-putting, especially in the early days when money is tight. You may feel that it is cheaper to do it all yourself for now.
However, every hour you spend on non-billable tasks results in one hour less you could be spending doing profitable, billable work. If you sit down and add that time up, multiplying it by your hourly rate, you’ll soon see it makes financial sense to delegate these tasks. Hiring a VA will help shift you from spending every waking hour working IN your business to working ON how you can grow it.
Still unsure? Sam Wilson, Co-Founder at Virtalent, a leading Virtual Assistant service in the UK, has seen it happen time and again for his clients, “it’s not uncommon for the small business owners we support to eventually double or even triple their monthly turnover as a result of the dramatic impact a Virtual Assistant has on their productivity and the value they are adding”.
How can a VA have a direct and measurable impact on your business?
The opportunities really are endless when it comes to hiring a VA. Here’s just a taster of what they can help with.
Keeping your finances on track
Research by Tide has found that the average small business spends an hour and a half each day chasing up unpaid invoices. Think of the time you could save allocating this task to someone else.
While Virtual Assistants certainly can’t replace the role of an accountant, they can dedicate a large amount of time to helping you stay on top of your finances. They can log your company expenses, issue invoices, chase payments and liaise with your financial professionals to make sure everything is on track. Each and every one of these tasks will have a direct and measurable impact on your balance sheet.
Marketing your business
A Virtual Assistant can get involved in helping to shape and implement that all-important marketing strategy. They can be on hand to write blog and newsletter content, research your competitors, run your social media channels and update your website. A laser focus on your marketing tasks will ultimately help attract more customers.
Managing your HR
If you already have a team in place, the smooth running of your recruitment and onboarding process is incredibly important for attracting and maintaining talent. When the estimated average cost of replacing an employee is over £3,000, onboarding certainly isn’t an area you want to overlook. A Virtual Assistant can be on hand to welcome new recruits, show them the ropes and keep on top of databases and recruitment software.
Monitoring your customer service
According to a study by Microsoft, 96% of consumers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand so it’s not an area you can afford to ignore. A VA can help deliver a quick, friendly response to customers and give this workstream the full attention it deserves. The result? Happy customers and a smooth experience for all involved.