Many small business owners find themselves stressed, burned out and a slave to their own company. A cruel irony, as many people head out on their own to be their own boss, manage their own time and achieve some semblance of work-life balance. In reality, the situation is very different.
Small business owners often find themselves in the position where they do everything: pursuing new business, invoicing and debt collection, company payroll and HR issues. In between, they tackle bookkeeping, client service and social media.
Business owners obviously want to keep an eye of every aspect of their business (it is their name, reputation and livelihood after all), but it often boils down to cost. They simply can’t afford a full-time assistant. The solution is a dedicated virtual assistant (VA) – one whose tasks are tailored to meet your specific needs.
What is a dedicated virtual assistant?
A VA provides support to businesses from a remote location. This support can be simple and straightforward (for example, administrative tasks like invoicing and following up on payments) or more skilled (for example, social media management) and strategic (research and strategy development). Most importantly, it is a dedicated freelance service, which means you pay by the hour for the tasks you need to be achieved.
Why employ a virtual assistant?
A dedicated virtual assistant will save you time and money – and give you access to the exact skills you need.
The most obvious reason to hire a virtual assistant is time. A good VA will take on all the tasks you don’t have time for, freeing you to focus on the growth of your business. Identify the tasks that dominate your time (or that you simply cannot seem to get to) and outsource them to a team of experts.
A small business has an eye-watering amount of administrative tasks and duties. All take time, but all contribute to the smooth running of the business. A VA can take on your billing disputes, insurance queries, tax and banking issues, annual registrations and more. Suddenly you’ll have more hours in the day to focus on what is important.
Hiring the right staff is a stressful and time-consuming task. A permanent employee should be a good fit for your company, have a good skill set, a great work ethic and reduce your workload – not add to it. However, permanent staff can be high maintenance. You will need to navigate annual leave, sick leave and employee disputes. This is where virtual assistants come into their own. You can hire exactly the talent and skills you need, when you need them, and at nowhere near the cost of a permanent employee.
A company like AVirtual will design a bespoke package to meet your needs. A package can start from as little as £133 a month (entry-level), and is based on both the hours and skills required. Even a comprehensive package will cost far less than a permanent employee.
Consider too that a virtual assistant does not require benefits like annual leave, sick leave, family responsibility leave, medical aid or provident fund contributions. In fact, a VA is both low cost and low maintenance, while exceptionally effective and efficient.
What jobs can a virtual assistant do?
A VA can do so many things. We now live in a digital world where high-speed internet; file and document sharing; online chats and video conferencing make working with a remote team simple and efficient. Here are just 10 tasks you can consider outsourcing to a virtual team:
1. General administration
Emails, scheduling appointments, document management, typing minutes, ordering stationery, and processing and paying client invoices are all tasks that can be handled by a VA.
Online or ‘cloud’ accounting packages make it possible for a VA to generate invoices and statements, process customer invoices, reconcile your bank statements, process your cashbook and journals – even develop management accounts.
3. Online research
Need desktop research? A VA can help with internet research around competitor activity, product information and trends – even vetting potential employees or business partners.
4. Pursuing new business
Cold-calling potential clients is a thankless and time-consuming task. A VA can approach potential clients (and explore potential opportunities) on your behalf.
5. Database development and entry
A database of current and potential customers is extremely useful. A VA can develop a database and keep it current and up to date.
Brief all your presentation needs (e.g. PowerPoint or Prezi) to your VA – who has the time and skills to put together slick, professional and beautiful presentations.
7. Social media management
A VA with digital marketing experience can set up your social media pages, generate content, post updates and respond to all comments and queries.
8. Travel research and bookings
Travel and logistics take time. Your VA can find you the best flight and accommodation deals, research your trip (including visa requirements) and make all the necessary bookings.
9. Social tasks (invitations and thank you notes)
Your VA (like a personal assistant) can take on party planning, invitations, RSVPs, and thank you notes. No task is too big or too small.
10. Personal errands (purchasing gifts, online shopping)
This includes booking theatre tickets, making dinner reservations or sourcing the perfect gift. You will soon discover that your virtual assistant can help you with any day-to-day tasks.
Ready to hire to the perfect virtual assistant?
According to Entrepreneur.com, virtual assistants are a growing trend. For good reason. Make sure you choose a reputable team, one with good references, a solid client base – and one happy to offer you a free consultation to discuss your budget and needs.
AVirtual will also offer you a free trial. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the benefits of a virtual assistant. You will be amazed at how you can fill up their time – and free up your day.