Whether you’re a startup or a fledgling small business, one of your greatest priorities will typically be to minimize cost.
Fortunately, the pandemic and technological advancements have shown us that many business operations can be conducted remotely, helping save costs. And hiring a virtual assistant is one way to achieve that.
But before going into the benefits, what is a virtual assistant, and why should you hire one?
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a professional who remotely helps businesses with technical and administrative tasks.
A virtual assistant is more or less like a personal assistant (PA), save that you never have to collaborate physically. Instead, they work remotely, so all your conversations will happen over the phone and the Internet.
Undoubtedly, virtual assistants grew in popularity with the increase in remote working.
Entrepreneurs looking to be more flexible can hire a virtual assistant instead of a PA. And since virtual assistants assist different businesses simultaneously, their charges are far less than a full-time PA. You only pay for the productive time they spend serving your business.
How Can a Virtual Assistant Help My Business?
Virtual assistants are typically self-employed individuals specialized in handling a variety of tasks, including:
- Social media management
- Content writing and management
- Administrative tasks
- Data entry and management
- Timely customer support service
- Audio and video editing
- And so much more.
As a startup entrepreneur, you’ll get to shoulder so many tasks yourself as you probably haven’t gotten a large team. You may get too much pressure from phone calls and administration to social media and content management.
Therefore, you may not find time to focus on the core tasks directly affecting your business revenue.
This will also leave you with little time to spend with your family as you discover you still have some unfinished tasks to do when night comes. Consequently, your physical and mental health may suffer.
Hiring a virtual assistant can help you free up time to focus on your core business areas.
When Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant for My Company?
If you don’t have tasks not already covered, you might not need an extra hand.
However, if you’ve experienced any of the following warning signs, hiring a virtual assistant is time.
- Your business is holding you hostage, and you can’t find time for anything
- You wish you had an extra pair of hands
- Your business requires some skills you don’t possess
- You find yourself spending more time on administrative tasks than on your products or services
- The tasks are mundane, repetitive, and don’t require much thought but consume time all the same
- You’re in great need to scale
- You feel disorganized because there’s so much to do with very little time.
Having understood what virtual assistants are and when it makes sense to hire one, let’s briefly highlight the benefits.
18 Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant saves money for your company in diverse ways, from how they charge to how you collaborate. This is one of the foremost benefits small business owners derive from hiring virtual assistants. A virtual assistant serves multiple clients concurrently, meaning you only pay for the time they spend assisting you.
- You only pay for working hours.
Most VAs and virtual assistant companies charge on an hourly or task basis rather than the fixed monthly salaries that a full-time employee attracts.
Even though employees work 8 hours daily, they don’t spend the entire time productively. Therefore, you may pay fixed monthly salaries that are not proportional to the amount of productive work done.
So, rather than hiring a full-time employee to do a small job, you can delegate it to a virtual assistant and pay only for their time on the task.
- They help you avoid employee-related expenses.
A virtual assistant is more cost-effective than a PA or in-house staff. The business owner does not need to spend money training the virtual assistant as they’re already experts at what they do.
You also get to avoid purchasing specialized equipment and finding space to set up the VA’s workstation at the office. That’s because a virtual assistant works from a remote location.
Furthermore, you typically don’t pay virtual assistants employee benefits or provide insurance and internet connection.
- Increased efficiency
Efficiency is all about getting more done with minimal resources (including time and money).
Hiring a virtual assistant can increase efficiency by helping you handle tasks you would have otherwise handled yourself.
Small business owners often get too engrossed with administrative tasks that do not directly contribute to the growth of their companies.
For example, scheduling meetings, responding to customer queries, internet research, sending emails, etc. Although you may be able to do these things, you don’t have to because they detract from your valuable time.
If there were extra hands to take care of those responsibilities, you would have time for core tasks like building your product or service to stay competitive.
- Promote business growth
No matter how efficient and vast you think you are, you cannot do it alone. Having extra hands is essential to driving business growth. How?
Collaboration is key to taking your business to the next level. For example, you’re a solopreneur. You have big dreams and visions for your company. As you expand, securing strategic partnerships is vital.
A virtual assistant can be a helping hand who collaborates and offers novel business ideas and tactics to push you forward.
Virtual assistants work with many entrepreneurs and fledging businesses, meaning they have many ideas and experience to guide you as you grow.
So here’s a tip: when hiring a virtual assistant, be sure to share your company’s mission, vision, and ethics. That way, they can better develop something aligned with your goals.
- Virtual assistants can help you scale quickly.
Since you can hire virtual assistants on a task basis, you don’t have to worry about undergoing the time-consuming recruitment process when work demand increases.
You can easily use a virtual assistant to deal with impromptu tasks and sudden work volume increases. Then when things quiet down a bit, you can hire and train new in-house employees.
- 24-hours availability
In the present business landscape, being available to customers for only 9 hours just isn’t enough anymore. Having round-the-clock availability ensures you obtain a wider reach, and clients can reach you whenever they need you. This will improve customer experience and boost your brand reputation.
Having 24/7 availability is even more essential for businesses offering services to states or countries in different time zones. For example, a client may call at nighttime in your city.
By having a virtual assistant in another time zone, you’d have someone to offer timely customer support service.
Additionally, virtual assistants are ready to assist you on weekends and holidays, something an in-house team wouldn’t readily do.
Besides, you never have to worry about a shortage of workforce. How? Because you can always hire a new virtual assistant when yours is unavailable or away in an emergency!
- You get access to qualified talents.
One of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is that it is easier to find qualified talents than when sourcing in-house teams. You’re not restricted by geography, meaning you can source candidates continents away.
You don’t have to scour your city for available talents, of which the best ones are most often already hired by top firms. But since virtual assistants assist multiple clients concurrently, they don’t have to be unemployed before they can be available for you.
- Saves time
Most other benefits you get when hiring a virtual assistant revolve around time savings. The hiring process can be almost instant instead of sourcing, training, and onboarding internal employees.
Furthermore, hiring virtual assistants allows you to get more done quickly. You don’t have to finish sending the emails before doing your accounting. While executing one task yourself, your VA can handle the other simultaneously.
- Increased online presence
Online presence and fast response time are crucial for your social media marketing campaigns in today’s landscape.
But when you close for the day, you can’t offer customers:
- Timely customer support service
- Engaging content
Handling those things amid your day-to-day operations would be challenging even during business hours, especially when you’re a solo entrepreneur.
You could hire a virtual assistant to handle your social media. Since they’re dedicated to that task, they can post more frequently and reply to queries quickly. Again, this engagement fosters customer satisfaction.
- You have more leisure time.
Life-work balance is crucial to your physical and mental health. But for startup entrepreneurs, most of their time is spent trying to grow their businesses. As a result, finding time for family and leisure becomes an expensive luxury they can’t readily afford.
You can delegate business tasks to a virtual assistant, allowing you more free time to spend with family and the things you love.
- Limited maintenance
When working with your in-house team, you’re often concerned about building good relationships with them. Think about office end-of-year parties, awards, etc.
With virtual assistants, you can keep things purely professional. Most communications you make are strictly for work-related updates.
- Less stress, more productivity
Imagine having to run your business all by yourself. The daily pressure can leave you stressed, and that’s not good for your productivity.
When a business owner hires a virtual assistant, their workload reduces considerably. Therefore, they can complete their scheduled work with finesse and have enough free time for strategic thinking toward business growth.
This enables you to look at the bigger picture and set long-term goals.
Flexibility is one of the many things virtual assistants bring to businesses.
As a business owner, you can adjust the scope of virtual assistance you get according to your current needs.
Virtual assistants work remotely with flexible schedules. They do not work according to time of day; they either charge you by project or hourly.
- Dedicated customer services
Customer satisfaction is a pivotal aspect of every company.
Therefore, every small business owner must be able to put identity and reputation to their brand through a voice heard when a client contacts them.
However, handling customer service can be pretty demanding, especially when you receive a high volume of calls. You don’t want to answer clients with a weary voice. Besides, you are prone to anger when tired, and some queries may set you off.
You must have someone dedicated to responding to customer queries with patience and a smile.
Customer service may be included in your virtual assistance package to handle the following:
- Booking appointments
- Communication with your business partners
- Message taking on your behalf
They can do all of that while you’re occupied with essential activities.
- Building a solid customer base
While a virtual assistant handles mundane administrative activities, you can focus on your business’s most critical part: your customers.
You probably know how crucial good customer relationship management is to building loyalty. It’s wise to delegate the smaller repetitive business tasks so you can focus on building a solid customer base.
- Re-hire on demand
What can be better than always having someone reliable to turn to when needed?
If you’ve worked with a virtual assistant who pleased you, you can always re-hire them when you need their services, provided you know where to contact them.
- Improved profitability
The ultimate goal of minimizing cost is to improve your profit margin. By leveraging virtual assistance, that’s what you get.
You’ll undoubtedly find a spike in your annual net profit when you don’t get to pay employee benefits, huge fixed salaries, and buy equipment.
How to Manage Your Virtual Assistant for Optimal Results
Although virtual assistance offers many benefits, you must manage your VA correctly if you desire optimal results.
Of course, you may worry about the following:
- How to communicate effectively on technical projects;
- How to monitor their productivity;
- And how to measure how many hours they work.
The good news is you don’t have to worry because technology has provided solutions.
For the communication challenge, you can use the following:
- Messaging tools such as Slack
- Live conferencing tools, like Zoom, through which you can visually explain technical tasks.
A virtual assistant platform will typically provide the resources to promote effective collaboration. One such example is Hi Byron – a VA platform with US-based, on-demand virtual assistants who are vetted and subject-level tested across 100+ skills so that you’re always working with top talent.
As for performance, you can use monitoring and time-tracking tools to keep tabs on your virtual assistant. For example, such monitoring tools would help you see when your VA is actively working to prevent them from logging in idle time as hours worked.
Hiring a virtual assistant lets you free up time and manage a healthy work-life balance, from handling your social media to answering phone calls on your behalf.
It’s just one of the many ways small businesses leverage remote working and flexible workspaces to drive growth and cut costs.
In short, virtual assistants can help you streamline your activities so that you can become more productive.
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