There’s no denying the stresses and demands that come with being a small business leader and entrepreneur in this day and age. As a small business owner, your free time is severely limited at the best of times, particularly when you have to handle multiple day-to-day tasks, and manage your team along with long-term, strategic tasks that involve networking, developing new strategies, and prospecting.
Finding enough hours in the day to complete all responsibilities is a constant struggle for many entrepreneurs. As such, many would relish the thought of being able to delegate all the mundane, repetitive and time-consuming tasks to a capable virtual assistant (VA). It just so happens that this may be the perfect solution to free up more of your time, taking you away from the arduous tasks like administration and bookkeeping. Your time can then be focussed on the high-value tasks and growing your company, such as attending industry or networking events.
A skilled and reliable support professional can handle time-intensive, administrative and marketing tasks (among others) to lift the burden off your shoulders. With them at the helm, you can afford to spend more time on what matters, and feel less compelled to be one of those many business leaders that feel forced to work longer hours each week. Whatever your aim, VA services can help you in a multitude of ways and not come at a hefty price, as well.
What Kinds of Tasks Can a VA Handle?
VAs can handle a wide variety of administrative, creative, and strategic support tasks. Depending on the sector and responsibilities of your business, you can delegate enough tasks to a reliable and capable VA to give you as much time as you need to complete strategic, high-level jobs.
Some examples of responsibilities you could delegate include:
- Email management
- Calendar scheduling
- Bookkeeping and invoicing
- Blogging and content creation
- Social media management
- Diary management
- Appointment setting
- Event planning
- Data entry
- Competitor monitoring
- Presentation creation
- Reception duties
- Document formatting
- Sales administration
The list is endless when it comes to tasks that could potentially be delegated, freeing you up for higher-level work. Start small by offloading tasks that are occupying too much of your time, and expand the role as needed.
Key Benefits of Hiring Virtual Assistants for Your SME
Research from Sage shows that UK small business owners spend around 120 working hours per year on administrative tasks that could be delegated to others. Further research from Breathe, an HR software provider, shows that SME owners and executives spend just over an hour a day on these tasks, equating to, on average, 260 hours in a working year. Such lost productivity can have a profound knock-on effect on a business owner’s efficiency and timeframes with which to generate business of tangible value.
A virtual assistant can take over these repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on high-level strategic initiatives. Delegating administrative tasks (such as those outlined above) can have a considerable impact on your efficiency and overall productivity, paving the way for an upward trajectory towards growth.
In addition to boosting productivity, this type of hire can save your business money compared to hiring traditional administrative staff.
VAs work remotely, thus saving you the costs associated with dedicated office space, equipment, car parking permits, office perks, and other expenses. Not only that, but they do not need to have additional expenses associated with full-time employment, like taxes, national insurance contributions, pensions, and so on. Invariably, agencies that assign VAs to clients will take care of these expenses, or, if they are self-employed, this will fall on their shoulders.
When weighing up investments, the potential cost savings of hiring virtual assistants versus in-house administrators adds up exponentially. The flexible ‘pay-what-you-work’ structure provides more scalability for business owners as their companies grow and as their needs change.
VAs are highly skilled workers with experience across many specialisms, from marketing and social media to bookkeeping and accounting. As such, employers can often find skilled VAs that specialise in a particular field, when they require more hands-on assistance, rather than general help that covers a broad range of tasks.
Utilising VAs gives you access to specialised skills without hiring full-time staff. A good VA has expertise in particular areas that they can apply to support your business objectives.
The flexible, project-based nature of hiring virtual assistants provides immense flexibility. You can scale support up or down as your business needs change, meaning that if you only need 10 hours of assistance per week, you only pay for 10 hours.
Normally, with VAs, you only utilise and pay for the exact amount of support you need at any given time, which is handy if your business experiences seasonal fluctuations in demand and turnover. Many VA agencies are willing to accrue unworked hours in quieter months and save them for busier months, and dedicate more support hours your way accordingly if needed.
Handling mundane administrative tasks for hours on end can severely limit your ability to focus on big-picture initiatives that drive business growth.
Delegating these repetitive tasks to a VA allows you to concentrate on moving the business forward rather than getting bogged down in the non-essentials. While many intricate, technical tasks are still important, they shouldn’t come at the expense of potential new business opportunities and nurturing your client relationships.
Rather than constantly multi-tasking, you can focus on your core business priorities. Entrusting routine and necessary tasks to a skilled VA means they won’t be intrusive.
Trying to do everything by yourself, as a small business owner, is a one-way ticket to inevitable stress and burnout. Leveraging virtual assistance gives you more freedom in your schedule to dedicate sufficient time for your physical and mental health, hobbies, holidays and other priorities outside of work.
Running a small business shouldn’t involve you having to sacrifice important self-care and family time. Even delegating a few important hours every week to a VA could be enough to give you some much-needed respite for important areas of your personal life.
Access to Global Talent
A great benefit of VAs is that they can work from anywhere, giving you access to a global pool of talent. You’re not limited to assistants that live nearby, and can find the perfect VA for your business regardless of where they’re situated.
With remote work technologies, you can connect with expert VAs located around the world. This diversity of skills, experiences, ideas and work styles can hugely benefit your business, and even generate some significantly lower costs for you, depending on where you source them from.
How to Choose the Right Virtual Assistant
With so many virtual assistants to choose from, how do you find the right fit? Here are some tips:
- Look for VAs with experience supporting businesses in your industry – they’ll have relevant knowledge and hard skills that could come in useful.
- Carefully vet candidates’ skills and reliability – check and verify reviews.
- Communicate your expectations clearly and ensure that your VA is committed to helping you achieve your goals.
- Start with a short trial period before making any long-term commitments.
- Ensure that communication is seamless and achievable for both yourself and your VA.
- Slowly expand their responsibilities as the working relationship builds.
Making the decision to delegate repetitive or mundane tasks to a talented virtual assistant could be a game-changer for your small business. With their help, you can be positioned for long-term, sustainable success in your industry.