If you are running a business, what shall be your focus- daily routine administrative tasks or those tasks that increase productivity and efficiency of your business. I guess the obvious answer is the latter. So, what to do with the former- here is how "virtual-assistants"come into picture. In this article, we discuss in detail about these virtual assistants and what values do they add!
Every successful venture starts with gigantic vision and fresh ideas. While working on their ambitious projects, there often comes a time when entrepreneurs get bogged down by the routine tasks involved in running a business.
As entrepreneurs, you must understand that time is valuable, and it should be invested carefully. Rather than spending it on doing mundane tasks, it should be utilized doing the important things which will help to increase the productivity and efficiency
This does not mean that these mundane tasks are useless, every part of running a business is important, no matter how small, but as it is correctly said some things are worth paying someone else to do. This is where a Virtual Assistant can come to the rescue.
Let us first understand what really is a Virtual Assistant?
Theoretically, a Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside of the client's office. A virtual assistant is a person who provides various support services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location.
From digital marketing tasks, sending out email blasts/newsletters, travel arrangements, managing events to scheduling appointments, you can make a virtual assistant do almost anything your other support staff does, except bring you the coffee.
What can Virtual Assistants do?
While a virtual assistant can help us do many things, we will list some of the most common tasks that virtual assistants do.
1. Administrative work
Virtual Assistants can take over all the business duties that a typical administrative assistant does including:
Following up with clients and customers
Organizing to-do list and calendar
Making travel arrangements
You can use the time you will save by assigning administrative activities in result-oriented work like identifying prospects, thinking strategically that will fuel the growth of your business.
2. Social Media Management
Nowadays, Social media is a very important element in the marketing plan of every organisation. Your social media presence helps you identify your potential customers and engage with them.
Companies spend a boatload of time in managing their social media channels. But you can save this time to focus more on critical business activities with the help of a virtual assistant.
Some of the tasks that your social media virtual assistant can be assigned are:
Creating profiles on various social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Keeping update of the latest information on your social profiles
Creating and sharing relevant content on your social channels
Managing engagement with the followers
Measuring statistics and creating reports
Managing a company’s social media presence is a complex task and it is best to hire experts to keep track of latest trends.
3. Research based Tasks
Research is a core part of any company’s growth strategy. With sound insights, you will be a step closer in the growth process.
You can hire a virtual assistant to:
Perform research based on the instructions
Analyse consumer trends
Keep an eye on competitors’ products and services
Search for new business opportunities
Find formats for press releases
Search for best practices in your business domain
Virtual Assistants can your company by focusing solely on gathering and analyzing data. You can also ask them to use paid search tools.
4. Customer Service
Customers are of utmost importance in any business. All great businesses are built on the basis of top-class customer services.
Also, as most customer service interactions are largely centered on addressing concerns that can be easily answered, you don’t need a high level of expertise here and a virtual assistant can offer email and chat support for your clients.
By hiring virtual email and chat support assistants across different time zones, you can offer 24/7 customer support economically.
5. Data Entry Tasks
Data entry is a tedious and mundane task which is a part of every business. A data entry virtual assistant can do a wide variety of tasks for you including:
Database creation and updating
Generating reports and entering data into CRM
Reviewing data for accuracy
Compiling data collected from many sources
6. Content Creation
Content writing is one of the most important of the digital marketing. Having an engaging and regular content can help organisations to attract more traffic to their website.
Content creation involves a many steps like research, finding and editing images, writing articles and so on.
Content creation is an activity which can be done from anywhere and does not require presence in office, so virtual assistants can easily take care of this. Also, hiring a professional ensures quality and uniqueness.
7. eCommerce Tasks
With eCommerce industry booming like never before, the headache of eCommerce business owners is also growing.
A virtual eCommerce assistant can help and reduce the burden by doing the following tasks:
Creating SEO-friendly product descriptions
Performing competitor analysis
Product category management
Managing reviews and ratings
Providing support via chat or email
Apart from these, we can also discuss and assign other tasks to our virtual assistant.
8. Travel Assistance
Some businesses involve frequent travelling. In this situation, virtual assistants are a great resource to book flights, find hotels, and preparing trip itineraries.
The assistants can take advantage of the increasing number of travel research tools and reviews on various sites to come up with the best travel plan. They can also deal with the hassle of navigating different time zones when booking or researching international travel options.
Benefits of Virtual Assistant
Apart from all the uses listed above virtual assistants also provide expert assistance for a fraction of the cost as compared to an in-house assistant. Still confused? Here’s why you should consider hiring a virtual assistant:
1. Lower Business Costs
Reduction in cost is one of the most important reasons to hire virtual assistant. It has been estimated that hiring a virtual assistant can save up to 78% in operating costs per year as compared to a full-time employee.
This is because you don’t have to pay out additional benefits or perks, allocate space for work, provide a higher Internet bandwidth, provide snacks or purchase an extra phone or mobile device. You also save cost of interviewing, hiring and training a new employee.
It also helps save up on administration costs, such as software licences, HR and office supplies.
2. Increased Productivity
Achieving profitability in a business can be influenced by hiring a virtual assistant because apart from lowering business costs, it also helps increase productivity. This is because it provides you with more time to focus on your core business areas and develop expertise.
It also ensures that a professional is involved in managing the appropriate tasks and you can rely on them without worrying. A virtual assistant provides you with time to concentrate on your passions and properly utilise your abilities and strengths.
They help you to refocus your attention and realise your goals.
3. Less Hassle
As a business grows and responsibilities increase, help is needed to handle it. The time spent and cost incurred in hiring a new employee is far greater than hiring a virtual assistant for various administrative tasks.
Once hired, don’t have to worry about the tax implications, benefits, or other agreements. Nowadays there are many service providers also to hire the best for you based on a profile that you submit.
They are not costly and help you the most suitable match based on your needs. They also help ensure that your virtual assistant is never offline and in case of any emergency, they provide you with a fully-prepped cover.
4. Increase Flexibility
Virtual Assistant can help you achieve work life balance by providing you with the benefit of time. Virtual assistants are the perfect solution to many of the day to day business tasks that would otherwise require a part-time or full-time employee
With experts in place, you find time for other important activities, while the business continues to run. In this way it also helps you find time for the things that matter most in life, you feel more satisfied and ultimately become more productive.
5. Achieve Delegation
Many a times small business owners are used to doing everything themselves, though this strategy is not a good one and results in quite a long work week. Working with a remote assistant helps you develop the habit of delegation which becomes helpful over time as the business grows.
To achieve a proper co-ordination, the work responsibilities and tasks should be laid down in a clear and precise manner. This also provide one with the time to concentrate more on activities that require your attention.
Virtual Assistants are no longer just people working from remote locations
They reduce your workload significantly. They help put processes in place for continuous growth and scalability in the future.
Many organisations have also come up to assist in hiring of virtual assistants. This has further eased the process and they also ensure continuous support.
Hire a virtual assistant and start planning what you would do with the few extra hours.
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