Entrepreneurs start their ventures with bold visions and big plans. However, it’s all too easy to get bogged down by the mundane tasks involved in building a business empire. No matter the industry, every company has these critical tasks that can’t be ignored, and ultimately keep entrepreneurs from the work they do best. This is where a virtual assistant can come to the rescue.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Think of a virtual assistant as an individual who cleans up your crucial administrative tasks from a remote location. They can (and often do) handle everything from answering emails, to database entry, website administration, and even social media. Most are contract or freelance workers who work from home, allowing for complete flexibility in how much or how little of your work you choose to delegate.
Debbie Roche, a Vancouver-based virtual assistant explains exactly what people in her field do:
“I help other small business owners with the day-to-day running of their business. These people set out to own their own company not realizing there are all these daily tasks that need to be attended to,” Debbie explained. “Maybe they don’t have a head for admin, or maybe they just don’t have the time. Either way, I take these tasks off their hands so they can focus on running their business more efficiently.”
The Benefits of Using a Virtual Assistant
Questioning whether a virtual assistance sounds like a fit for your small business? Here are five of the biggest benefits to using their services.
More Time to Do What You Love
Running a business can seem like an endless parade of pesky emails, phone calls, meetings and appointments. These can quickly begin eating into your free time, leaving you with less time to handle the important stuff. Brittany Hardy, owner of Empty Desk Solutions elaborates:
“Sometimes we know our plate is completely full, yet we cannot wrap our heads around managing an in-house team member. Virtual assistants are the perfect solution to many of the day to day business tasks that would otherwise require a part-time or full-time employee.”
Rely on an Expert
As the virtual assistant industry grows, so too does the breadth of skills available to call upon. VA’s often have years of experience under their belts in areas such as marketing, copy writing, social media, human resources and even bookkeeping. Claire Costa, a Vancouver-based Virtual Assistant explains the benefits:
“For small business owners, taking care of certain aspects of your business can mean making mistakes, simply because it’s not your area of expertise. These mistakes can lead to so much extra work, so hiring a virtual assistant is as much an investment in your business, as it is your own free time.”
As your business grows, you’ll likely need help. Unfortunately, you may not be ready to hire a full-time administrative employee. Establish how much you can afford to pay to get important admin tasks done, then find a virtual assistant to work within those boundaries. You don’t have to worry about the tax implications, benefits, or get locked into long-term contract agreements.
“Your virtual assistant will only charge for work done,” Claire explains. “You don’t need to worry about tracking hours, covering source deductions, and all the other challenges a full-time member of staff brings. It’s the perfect middle ground for a small business owner.”
A Personal Business Relationship
“People are literally putting their business in my hands, and that’s a huge responsibility.” – Debbie Roche.
It’s natural at the beginning for a virtual assistant to concentrate on simple tasks like data entry, email management, or making travel arrangements, but as the relationship grows, you’ll learn to rely on them more and more. With time and trust, you can ask your virtual assistant to take on more aspects of your professional life, becoming your own administrative rock start, and leaving you more time for…
Through the growing pains of a small business, you’ve probably become accustomed to taking a “do everything yourself” approach to management. If you’re pulling 100-hour work weeks, it doesn’t really leave much time for big picture thoughts about direction and strategy. Delegating tasks to a virtual assistant means more headspace to devise new projects, big decisions or creative ways to grow your business.
Here to Help
No matter what stage of business, or what problem you face, Small Business BC offers a range of seminars and one-on-one advisory sessions to suit any business.