Whenever you start a venture or any activity, be prepared to face several challenges ahead. Starting a business is fraught with many difficulties. Despite arduous preparation and investments in business planning, the future remains greatly uncertain. But some start ups are able to tilt the odds in their favor with a secret weapon – the virtual assistant.
For start-ups with tight capital sources and limited access to funding, you have to manage cash effectively until such time that the business can sustain itself. And cash is not the only asset you have to manage. Another valuable commodity is time. As an entrepreneur your primary task is to grow the business. You cannot allow yourself to be tied down to micro-managing inconsequential tasks when there are revenue-bearing implications on the way you manage time.
The value of the virtual assistant lies in the fact that having her on- board will provide you the means to manage your cash and available time for the benefit of the business. According to virtual assistant company, OutsourceWorkers, outsourcing services is more than three times more cost effective than hiring a full time employee.
Here are a few ways in which a virtual assistant can help your business succeed:
1. Cost-friendly option
Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way of streamlining your costs without seriously impacting your monthly budget. Virtual assistants manage their own businesses. Like you, they are entrepreneurs who offer the virtual assistance service to interested parties.
Thus, the virtual assistant is accountable for all expenses related to his business. By hiring a virtual assistant you will not incur additional expenses for rent, Internet, telecommunications, payroll and benefits.
By comparison, regular full-time employees cost more. You have to pay them government mandated and company benefits. You will also incur additional costs for rent, power and Internet charges.
Full-time employees may result to lower productivity because the fixed pay schedule may encourage complacency. Whether your full-time employee generates results or not, you have to pay him or her for every hour logged in at work.
2. Diverse, versatile talent
A virtual assistant is no longer relegated to performing personal assistant services or secretarial tasks. In today’s highly Internet dependent world, more talented people are entering the virtual workforce.
They are alternatively referred to as freelancers, home-based workers and telecommuters but collectively, these are people who work online like virtual assistants.
You can find a virtual assistant for any skill you need for your business. Among the most popular skills demanded of virtual assistants are e-mail filtering, phone handling, calendar management, appointment setting, social media marketing, content Marketing, SEO, website design and development, transcription, accounting/payroll preparation and market research.
3. Higher productivity
There are three reasons why you achieve higher productivity with a virtual assistant.
First, you can delegate non-essential tasks to a virtual assistant. This will free more hours in a day for you to attend to more productive tasks or those that fall under your core competence.
Second, virtual assistants are paid per productive hour. Many arrangements involve the accomplishment of fixed milestones which must be achieved before the virtual assistant is paid.
Third, the virtual assistant is highly experienced. Most of them have come from the 9-to-5 grind. They know what it’s like to meet deadlines, work with people and clients. You don’t need much time training a Virtual Assistant to do their work.
4. Greater flexibility in work schedule
Hiring a team of virtual assistants will introduce greater flexibility in the work schedule. Remember, virtual assistants are entrepreneurs who work from a remote location usually their own homes.
They are not constrained by a 9-to-5 work schedule. Many virtual assistants handle other clients and usually allocate two to four hours per client. You can designate a virtual assistant to manage any work schedule that she is willing to accept.
This is especially true if the virtual assistant is from a different time zone. A client from North America can have his business managed almost 24/7 by virtual assistants from the Philippines.
4. Scale your business with less risk
Even if you’re still in the process of launching your business, it won’t hurt to think about the future. After all, no one starts a business with no plans of eventually expanding right?
But scaling can be tricky. You must be certain that your current infrastructure can support increased volume without compromising service and delivery.
With virtual assistants, if the scaling activity cannot be maintained all you need to do is terminate the agreement according to the provisions of the contract. If the virtual assistant has not performed to task, you can simply request to have her replaced.
Your capital is least exposed to risk when you are working with virtual assistants.
6. Reduce stress levels
Many entrepreneurs are wary to take breaks from work. Time away may lead to missed opportunities. But being overworked can be detrimental to your business and your physical well-being.
When you are routinely stressed and under tremendous pressure, you will not be able to think clearly and respond accordingly. Sometimes all it needs is to take a quick break to recharge your batteries.
Entrepreneur, award-winning blogger, motivational speaker and author Tim Ferris acknowledged the value of hiring virtual assistants at a time his business and health were failing. By hiring virtual assistants, Ferris was able to tour Europe for two weeks and still keep track of his business.
Do not hesitate to delegate work to your virtual assistantif you feel overwhelmed or worn out. Remember virtual assistants are entrepreneurs like you. They share your interest to make the business grow so that this engagement will prosper.
In a global economy where many industries are characterized by tight competition, markets remain dynamic and ever-changing, businesses need flexible not rigid strategies.
The virtual assistant makes it possible to establish flexibility in your organization so you can deal with unpredictable business conditions. The virtual assistant is a secret weapon that many businesses are incorporating in their business development plans.
Felix Patrick is a virtual assistant at OutsourceWorkers.com.au and he writes about businesses and entrepreneurship.