Virtual Assistants: A Small Business’s Best Friend

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In a hyper-competitive business world, founders and owners need every ounce of help they can get. Hiring employees for a full-time position isn’t always efficient, and part-timers sometimes don’t offer the quality or consistency that’s needed.

That’s where a virtual assistant (VA) can come into play — a small business’s best friend.

Here is what real business owners and experts have to say about virtual assistants and why they’re so crucial to success in today’s fast-paced environment.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A VA is someone who takes on administrative work, recurring tasks, and other everyday necessities that help entrepreneurs and high-level business leaders stay organized, efficient, and productive.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to utilizing the services of a VA — it’s completely up to you and your needs as a business owner or operator.

“Remember that there is a wide range of tasks for which you can use a virtual assistant,” says Schuyler Hoversten, Co-Founder and President of Swoopt. “In addition to basic administrative duties, you can train virtual assistants to help with customer service, accounting and or social media management. Recognize and appreciate the multitude of ways in which a virtual assistant could help out your business and decide how much of each of these tasks you would want the virtual assistant to handle.”

The best VA’s specialize in certain types of tasks, while others are more generalized in their abilities. You can also employ these individuals for as long as you want throughout the week, ranging from just a few hours to 7-day-a-week service.

“For the affordability of a virtual assistant, it’s really a no-brainer for any high-performance business person in 2021,” says Brandon Amoroso, Founder and CEO of electrIQ marketing. “The investment is minimal and the returns can be enormous if you take full advantage of the time you save.”

5 Benefits of Virtual Assistants for Small Businesses

You can already guess some of the benefits of having a virtual assistant for your small business, but let’s pinpoint five key ones that you should consider more closely.

1. Focus on High-Value Tasks

Tedious, repetitive tasks can eat up hours of your day and leave you scrambling to get important things done. A great VA handles the busywork and lets you take back control of your schedule.

“In order to spend time on high-value activities, it was important for me to spend less time on lower-value activities,” says Rob Levin, Chairman of Work Better Now. “This is why I not only hired a virtual assistant 5 years ago but why I co-founded a company, to provide virtual assistants to other business owners.”

2. Spark Creativity and Collaboration

Few things can extinguish your creative flames more quickly than data entry, schedule management, and agonizing accounting.

With a VA in your corner, that missing creativity can finally return.

“We often forget how much of a business is a creative pursuit, and how collaborative efforts can really move the dial in terms of new ideas and developments,” says Jason Boehle, CEO of QuaGrowth. “By having a virtual assistant do the mundane tasks in the background, you rediscover the ability to brainstorm and bring your creative visions to life.”

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3. Make Strides on Critical Projects

When deadlines loom and stakeholders start breathing down your neck, that means it’s crunch time. Here is where a virtual assistant can really save the day and allow you to buckle down on critical tasks.

“Virtual assistants are the key to freeing up that time to make progress,” says Tim Ferris, Entrepreneur and Author. “All too often, entrepreneurs get lost in the huge array of responsibilities they have to take care of each day. It’s true that, especially in the early days of a business, entrepreneurs must wear many hats. They have to step up and take on the tasks that no one else wants to perform and put in long hours. With a virtual assistant, on the other hand, you can even help handling those tasks.”

4. Add Another Level of Professionalism

Any small business knows that the appearance of professionalism is key when starting out. A virtual assistant can help your business level up in terms of punctuality, organization, and other key factors for partnerships, clients, and more.

“Just having an assistant nearby just instantly makes you feel more capable and professional as a business, no matter what industry you’re in,” says Jeremy Goldstein, CEO of Navitar. “The experience becomes smoother for clients, associates, and everyone in your circle. It’s like a 5x multiplier for your professional life on all fronts, and so worth it.”

5. Create Space for Employees to Thrive

Employees can benefit from onboarding a virtual assistant as well. They help prevent workers from taking on too much responsibility and focusing fully on the specifics of their role.

“Virtual assistants save other employees time,” says Joaquín Roca, Co-Founder and CEO of Minerva. “By handling administrative tasks, virtual assistants can help small business owners to focus more on business strategy and customer relationship management. This is important for small businesses in order to concentrate on growth rather than staying stagnant. The virtual assistant’s efforts will lighten other employees’ workloads so that no one becomes burned out.”

Finding the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business

There is no perfect way to find a virtual assistant for your business, so use a wide range of networks and recruitment methods to narrow down the field at first.

“You can go through an agency or go overseas if you want to really streamline the process of getting a VA for your business,” says Dylan Fox, Founder and CEO of AssemblyAI. “It’s definitely a get-what-you-pay-for situation like any other, so put in the research and shop around before you jump into any commitment or contract.”

For entrepreneurs bringing on a VA for the first time, it’s also vitally important to understand the parameters of the role and what the person can expect in terms of responsibilities. This will help align expectations and prevent issues in the short and long term.

“Map out precisely what you want a virtual assistant to do for you on a daily basis and be extra clear about your standards,” says Scott Sonneborn, Co-Founder of Tydo. “Lots of people think that every VA is going to be an instant, perfect fit. Of course, this isn’t true. Put some thought into it and you’ll get much more out of the experience.”

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Making the Most of Your Virtual Assistant Partnership

Once you have a VA on board, how can you ensure you get the most value from the partnership?

It all starts with teaching them the ropes and streamlining them into your daily operations.

“There is certainly a training-wheels phase with any employee, and virtual assistants are no different,” says Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO of Hightouch. “Be patient as your VA figures things out and gets comfortable. That patience will pay off when they’re firing on all cylinders and making your life so much easier.”

Business owners should also remember that a great VA can shift focus and learn new skills if you’re willing to work with them and dedicate some more time.

“The skillset of a VA is not static by any means,” says Jared Hines, Head of Operations at Acre Gold. “It’s up to you – the business owner — to point your assistant in the right direction and help them grow. The more effort you put in, the better the relationship will be and the more ROI you’ll see long term.”

A virtual assistant can be a total game-changer, whether you’re a new business owner or a long-time veteran of your industry.

With so many options available, now is the time to see what a VA can do for you and your business.

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