You might have started off in business with enough time to handle every little job, dotting all your own I's and crossing the T's with ease. But now you're so busy that time is running away with you and essential tasks are starting to fall through the cracks.
You might love some of the everyday business administration tasks you face, but absolutely detest the rest. You might be brilliant at some things and a bit rubbish at others. You may even need the help of someone who can see the wood for the trees on your behalf. If so, it sounds like you could do with a Virtual Assistant and here's what you need to know.
Why do business owners use Virtual Assistants?
There are all sorts of good reasons why the owners of small businesses choose to hand over tasks to a VA. Having spoken to a number of our clients over the years -here are the most popular reasons they identified as influencing them looking for Virtual Assistant support:
There isn't enough time to do all the essential administrative work
You keep missing deadlines
You don't have the skills or inclination to carry out certain tasks
Someone else will be able to do a better job
Your time is charged out at more than a VA's, so it makes financial sense
You have a specific project that needs handling from start to finish
You need something doing FAST
You don't have the time/space/budget/enough work for a full-time employee
You want to feel less stressed and be more productive
Your work-life balance has got out of hand
Your in-house staff don't have the right skills or training
What does Virtual Assistance involve?
A Virtual Assistant is simply someone who works remotely, from their own premises or home office. Having said that, some VAs are happy to come and work at your place, something that can work really well if they're local.
A good VA will have all the tools and systems needed at their fingertips, able to handle a wide variety of tasks without you having to buy special software or equipment. They'll also be great communicators, willing and able to update you at every stage and keep you in the picture. They are hot on deadlines, making sure they hand completed jobs over on time and to budget, every time.
If you need it you can find someone who gets to grips with your business in no time and contributes more than the sum of the parts to your ongoing success. It is also perfectly possible to strike up a more casual relationship with a VA to cover a specific project or short term timescale.
Flexibility is the key to great VA services. The best people will be there for you whenever you need them and you only pay for the time you use, making it surprisingly economical.
What can a VA do for you?
Some VAs are generalists, some are specialists. At Sussex Business Bureau we handle a huge range of tasks and projects for our customers, everything from long term work to short term and one-off projects. Here are some of the most popular jobs our SME customers hand over to us:
Varied admin aervices – Basic admin can eat up an enormous amount of time, especially when you don't like doing the work, find it really boring or far too challenging. An experienced VA will handle all sorts of admin, from managing your emails and diary to call handling, invoicing, basic credit control, record keeping, scheduling and confirming appointments, booking travel, accommodation and events, data entry, spreadsheet creation and management, database management, planning, email marketing analysis, basic accounts and bookkeeping.
Running social media accounts – Most business engage with social media to one degree or other, and even something as simple as running one account can take up an inordinate amount of time and effort. Some experts say it takes between 5 and 20 hours a week to keep abreast. A good virtual assistant will be able to plan and schedule your social media marketing, research content, engage with communities, make friends, influence people and help build up your network.
Website admin and updates – Some VAs are capable of handling website updates for you. It's a simple task when your website sits on an easy-to-work-with platform like WordPress, but you can always train your VA to use your own Content Management System. Most CMS are pretty straightforward these days and there's rarely any need to write actual code. They'll be able to upload blog posts for you, source suitable images, update the text on your web pages, take down old products and add new ones, source and update plugins and carry out all those essential tasks that keep your website up to scratch and future-proofed.
Virtual Marketing Assistant – It's tricky enough finding the time to dream up marketing campaigns for your business. It takes time to set them up. Then you have to monitor them and analyse the results. Luckily some VAs can act as your marketing assistant, helping you achieve everything laid out in your marketing plan. They can keep your customer and prospect data up to date and clean, send out email marketing campaigns for you, handle response and track the analytics, and promote new website content to your social media communities.
Customer service – It's tricky getting stuff done when the phone keeps ringing, orders keep flowing in, customers keep asking questions and you need to set aside time to handle returns. Fortunately customer service is the perfect task to outsource. You can arrange for calls to be forwarded to their line, they can handle follow-up calls and call-backs, write customer-facing emails and letters, handle feedback on social media, send out orders, deal with returns, basically anything that's needed to keep people happy and satisfied so they'll come back for more.
Proven, popular Sussex Virtual Assistants
If you'd like to explore the potential and find out exactly what an experienced local Sussex VA can do for you, feel free to contact us for an informal chat. No strings attached!
Sussex Business Bureau provide Virtual Assistant services to sole traders and small businesses in Brighton and Sussex. We can tailor the service we provide according to your needs.
See our feature - 29 Reasons why small businesses need a telephone answering service