Article brought to you by Sage
As a small business owner, you know all too well what it means to be so busy that it feels like you’re spinning in place. Wearing many hats as an entrepreneur is par for the course, especially in the early stages. But it’s not sustainable – for you or your business. Soon, you’re going to burn out and that’s not going to serve anyone.
The solution? A virtual assistant.
Not the type that lives on your computer, like Siri. We’re talking about hiring someone who specialises in assisting small businesses, but works offsite.
Virtual assistants (VAs) take the load off by doing the tasks you hate doing, can’t do, or shouldn’t be doing. Things like managing your emails, booking appointments with clients, answering calls, chasing payments, booking flights, conducting research, and managing your blog and social media. In fact, most administrative and time-consuming tasks can be outsourced to a VA.
The benefits of a virtual assistant
To name a few benefits, VAs:
- Help you to buy back time to focus on growing your business;
- Save on recruitment and employee-related expenses, training costs, and additional office space;
- Let you budget better by only paying for the services you need, when you need them; and
- Are usually a 24/7 resource, which is especially handy in emergencies or during busy periods.
You can use a VA agency or a private VA. The benefits of the latter are that they charge per hour and general have specific skill sets, like finance and tax, or knowledge about patent and trade mark law.
Not sure if a virtual assistant is right for you?
If you’re hesitant to hand over control of some tasks to someone else, start with the little things, like:
- Research. If you’re thinking about launching a new product, a VA can research what’s already in the market and what the unmet needs or gaps there are. If you have a business trip or vacation coming up, a VA can hunt down the best deals, book flights, and arrange accommodation
- Email management. Rather than spending hours each day sifting through hundreds of emails, a VA can pick out the most important stuff and respond on your behalf, and delete and unsubscribe from any junk that’s cluttering your inbox.
- Bookkeeping. Give your VA access to your cloud-based accounting software so that he or she can send and follow up on invoices, record transactions, generate reports, and ensure that the books balance at month-end.
- Blogging and content creation. If you want customers to find you – organically – on Google, you need to regularly post relevant, useful content on your blog. But that’s just one more thing you don’t have time for. A VA can craft your blogs for you, with little guidance or input.
- Social media management. Posting on Facebook or LinkedIn is probably low on your list of priorities as an entrepreneur. A VA can compile posts, run them past you for approval, then schedule them and respond to comments. This expands your network and builds your brand among potential customers.
With all the digital tools available today, supported by mobility and flexible, remote working arrangements, you don’t have to do it all anymore. Entrust the time-consuming stuff to someone who’s good at what they do, so you have one – or ten – less things to worry about.