A virtual assistant is an employee who works from a remote location to support various business operations. Startups can use virtual assistants to assist with inbox management, social media content, online customer support, and any other task that does not require them to appear in person.
Some virtual assistants specialize in a particular task or industry. Some VAs specialize in marketing and others only work in the technology industry. More specialized VAs charge more because they provide a more focused skill set. There are, however, general VAs who can handle a wide range of tasks and work with businesses in various industries.
Virtual assistants have been around since the 1980s when organizations such as ABSSI and Home Secretaries sprung up to help mothers looking for work-from-home opportunities. However, the niche took off when home internet access became more widespread worldwide.
It is still expanding today. Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2021, one-quarter of digital workers will use a virtual assistant daily. If your small business has yet to join this growing trend, here are some main reasons you should think about it.
They established procedures.
Each year, inefficiencies cost businesses between 20% and 30% of their revenue. These inefficiencies are frequently the result of a need for more processes. Processes can range from canned Gmail responses to automated invoicing.
Because they are so busy with day-to-day operations, many business owners need to take the time to set up these processes. Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to establish these processes without focusing on them. Give your VA a list of methods you’d like to establish or hire someone with experience setting business processes so they can identify inefficiencies. This can increase the efficiency of your business even when your VA is not present.
They filter communication.
Only some emails, phone calls, or live chat messages you receive are worth responding to. Some may accept a canned or quick response that does not necessitate your attention.
Hiring a virtual assistant to manage your inbox or other modes of communication allows them to filter out messages that don’t require a thoughtful response. This allows you to concentrate on those other messages rather than being constantly overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox.
They collect and organize data.
Businesses today have more data than ever before. Your data is critical for assisting you in making decisions about your company’s future. Too much of it, however, can be overwhelming and distracting.
Furthermore, gathering and organizing all of your data can be a daunting task. You can have your VA organize and share your web analytics and customer data with you in digestible reports or updates. This allows you to quickly access relevant information to your business at the time without having to sift through minute details for hours on end.
They finish arduous daily tasks.
Data entry and Internet research are typically time-consuming tasks that do not necessitate the attention of a senior team member. They are, however, still necessary for your business. By delegating these tasks to a virtual assistant, you can be confident that they will be completed without taking up too much of your time, saving managers and specialized employees from focusing on them.
They allow you to concentrate on what you do best.
Most business owners have a niche. You could create software or assist other businesses in developing marketing strategies. However, when you start a business, you must also handle support tasks such as bookkeeping and marketing. If you need to improve at these things, you may save time learning their ins and outs or battling through trial and error.
Hiring a specialized VA allows you to outsource the tasks that you struggle with. You can be confident that the tasks will be completed competently — possibly even better than you would have done on your own. And it frees up a lot of time to focus on things you’re good at. It also allows you to focus on growing your business rather than getting bogged down in day-to-day operations. This is especially useful for solopreneurs or small businesses where the owner must wear multiple hats.