Smaller business owners and their employees often wear many hats. Due to budget constraints or a certain sense of personal ownership, hiring someone to take on routine functions is often not an option. But should it be?
Let’s face it…as much as you want to be a business superhero, no one person can do it all. Some jobs are too technical, some are outside your knowledge base, and others are simply too time-consuming. The question you should ask yourself is, “How much is my time worth?”
Outsourcing certain jobs can be a savings tool rather than an expense — even for a smaller business. One option is using virtual assistants: independent contractors who (from a remote location, usually their home or office) support multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative, and technical services. Organizations like the International Virtual Assistants Association (ivaa.org) can help you select the virtual assistant who’s the right fit for you.
According to Sandra Roos, owner of a virtual assistant company, Shadow Executive Services, hiring an assistant can free up a professional’s time to do what he or she does best: utilizing talent and abilities to the fullest. Although delegating responsibilities to an outside entity can be emotionally difficult and there is cost involved in hiring someone, you’re actually buying yourself more time to operate and grow your business.
Roos recounts the story of an entrepreneur who was doing everything herself when she began her business. While her greatest strength was selling, she was spending too much time doing data entry and minor tasks that were really administrative in nature. Although the client was capable of doing those jobs, that time could have been more productively spent networking and developing relationships, which was the key to growing her business. After consulting with Roos’ company, the client decided to delegate more and more functions to her virtual assistant’s capable hands, which is freeing up the time she needs to build her business.
Ros says there are several ways a virtual assistant can help you make the most of your valuable professional time. A virtual assistant can help you clear more time by fulfilling the following functions for you:
o Word Processing/Secretarial Services. Includes transcription, answering phones, tracking schedules and making appointments
o Bookkeeping. Includes invoicing, reconciling accounts and writing checks
o Database Management. Includes keeping track of client information, leads and communications
o Desktop Publishing. Includes creation of marketing materials, price lists and newsletters
o Mail and Email Services. Includes sorting of mail, keeping up with routine correspondence, and sending outgoing mail
o Internet Services. Includes editing and maintaining current web site information, as well as creating and sending email newsletters
Many virtual assistants have specialized fields such as real estate, or are adept at skills such as copywriting, graphic art or website development. Roos says a new and powerful offering from virtual assistants is the mastery of social networking. “I’ve seen virtual assistants who are starting to become LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter experts. A lot of entrepreneurs hear about these things, but they don’t understand how they work, how important it is to keep it up to date, etc.” In that sense, a virtual assistant can even function as a marketing resource for your business.
Roos asks her clients, “Do you think Oprah does everything herself?” Give your business the benefit of more of your expertise in action – it may be the most valuable investment you can make.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.