Do you often feel overwhelmed by the amount of task you need to accomplish? You are not alone, every entrepreneur does. Time is one of the most valuable assets of an entrepreneur.
If you have all the time, there is no end to the miracles you can achieve. But unfortunately, it is just 24 hours in a day, so the rush to want to pack as much as possible into the hours is perpetual.
Can you perform all your business functions by yourself? You will definitely enjoy some measure of success if you are determined, but balancing between effective and efficient use of your time takes more than your ability alone. The service of a business assistant in some cases, becomes inevitable.
Here are some critical areas where an assistant can help you be more productive on a daily basis
1. Cost saving
A business assistant (virtual or commuting) is a professional who works from home or from your office on very rare occasions depending on the job to be done. They are self-motivated, result-driven, and entrepreneurial in their dispositions.
This means that to work with business assistants, you do not have to set up an office for them, you only pay for the hours worked and you get the best value for your money. This is more cost effective than hiring a full time staff, who will be on full salary with some other benefits.
2. Increased productivity
Most of the office tasks that take your time, such as email management, content creation, client follow up etc., are repetitive. The smart thing to do is to automate them. Now, you should understand that outsourcing is considered to be an integral part of business process automation.
You should outsource the repetitive tasks to business assistants and handle the non-recurrent tasks yourself or delegate to your regular staff. This way, nothing is overlooked and business productivity is improved.
3. Improved focus
When you outsource mundane tasks to an assistant, you are able to free up productive time for you to concentrate on your core business operations. Also, having ample time to focus on your core job allows you to standout in your industry, as you are constantly working without distractions, and practice, they say, makes perfect. Perfection is very important if you must achieve your business goals and remain ahead of the competition.
4. Access to exceptional talents
You need to come to terms with the fact that you cannot be the best in everything. Even when you are the best, you still cannot achieve everything alone, given the limited time available. You will definitely have some competitive advantage over other people or businesses.
Your areas of competitive advantages should be your core business. But you can still have the best of both worlds through outsourcing. This is the main focus of the economic law of comparative advantage.
Nations and corporations have taken advantage of the ingenuity of this law to build greater territories. You should review this law and find its applicability to your business.
5. Reduced stress
You can always sleep easy when you know that your business is in capable hands. No tightness in the chest, you do not have to rush to meet up with deadlines, and you no longer feel bored from doing repetitive tasks. Above all, your business processes keep getting more efficient and effective.
The aformentioned points are some of the benefits your business stands to gain if you work with a business assistant. However, before you hire one, you need to put various measures in place to enable you hire the right candidate. The right candidate is the one who will actually help you to be more productive with little or no supervision. You could decide to outsource the hiring process to an agency or simply do it yourself. Whichever way you choose, the following points will be handy.
As would be expected, failure never cease to befriend an unplanned project; in fact any measure of success experienced is just an outcome of chance.
If you will end up hiring the perfect candidate, you need to put in some planning and follow through; maybe with some exigent modifications though. Consider these points when advertising or scouting for a VA:
- the duration and dynamics of the contract,
- your preferred nationality and location of the assistant,
- the nature of the tasks
- the constitution of the VA (a company or an individual) and, most importantly,
- your budget, among others.
1. The duration and dynamics of the contract
Do you need a dedicated assistant or just any one to handle the task? Some tasks are repetitive; almost any diligent person can handle them, while others, though repetitive, require some minimum level of on-the-job training. If the latter is your case, you should go for a dedicated assistant whom you will only need to train once and with whom you can maintain a long relationship. However, if anyone, even untrained, can handle the task, it is wise to keep the contract for a short duration.
Short duration contracts have the advantage of control; you are not entrusting all the facts of your business to a single individual, who by virtue of the information they now possess can take undue advantage of your business.
2. The preferred nationality and location of the assistant
Do you need your VA to be available during business hours? Then you should hire someone in your time zone, or have a mutual understanding regarding the time of work. Also, if they will have to interface with your clients, choose someone of the same nationality with majority of your clients, because you will need them to understand the nuances of the culture in language, communication, and in business and social etiquette.
Moreover, your budget is important in the choice of location; labor is cheap in some countries, and you can cut so much cost by taking advantage of this. You should however ensure that your country laws does not prohibit offshore outsourcing.
Cut your coat according to your clothes, but remember, you always get what you pay for. Almost every variable in the hiring process will affect the cost of hiring and maintenance. As hinted earlier, cost of labour is never equal across countries. If you decide to hire an outsourcing company instead of an individual, you should expect to pay more because of other overhead cost of running a company, however, you may also enjoy other benefits that an individual may not be able to provide.
Most individual assistants only offer traditional administrative services such as answering phone calls, replying emails, making hotel bookings etc., but companies, along with these traditional administrative duties, often render other specialized services such as content management, webmaster services, SEO, web design and business development among others. Whatever your choices are, do not forget to align them with your budget.