5 Ways to Maximize the Value of Virtual Assistants in Your Business

5 Ways to Maximize the Value of Virtual Assistants in Your Business

Whether they are referred to as freelancers, telecommuters or home based workers, virtual assistants are people who are contracted to provide services from a remote location. Over the last few years, the role of the Virtual Assistant has grown in prominence.

Integrating virtual assistance services in the work force has proven to payoff for businesses regardless of scale. Several of the top corporations in the United States have included virtual assistants in their work force. These include Xerox, United Health Group and Dell.

The role of the virtual assistant has changed over the last 30 years. They are no longer just virtual secretaries or personal assistants. The industry has evolved to open up new avenues of opportunities to people with specialized skill and want to work on their own time. Thus, we have virtual assistants in every field of specialization.

If you are interested in hiring a Virtual Assistant but unsure of how to maximize their value, here are a few ways you can use one for your business:

1. Delegate Non-Essential Tasks

It all starts with organization. People who want to hire a Virtual Assistant initially need organization or order in their business.

Every business has a structure. But a structure has many component parts. Some of these are considered “non-essential” because they are not directly related to revenue generation. But make no mistake about it, managing these areas effectively is highly important. As the owner you will not have the time and competency to manage every area of your business.

By hiring a Virtual Assistant, you can delegate the following non-essential tasks:

[starlist]
  • E-mail filtering
  • Calendar management
  • Phone handling
  • Appointment setting
  • Composing limited communication[/starlist]

A Virtual Assistant will guarantee that you will never miss an important call or meeting. By screening e-mails, the Virtual Assistant will ensure your time will remain productive.

2. Oversee Back Office Operations

When you see a tree, all you see are the trunk, its branches and leaves. What you don’t see are the parts that give it life; its roots.

The roots that provide life in a business are categorized as its back office. A business needs to have good support structure in order to run efficiently. The back office includes accounting, Human Resources and Information Technology.

A Virtual Assistant can manage the following back office set of responsibilities:

[starlist]
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Cash disbursement schedule
  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Inventory Management
  • Management of cash sales (for e-commerce)[/starlist]

You may also include some non-essential tasks such as phone handling and e-mail filtering.

For Information Technology, you will need someone who has background and experience in computer trouble shooting, programming and networking.

3. Manage Specialized Areas

As earlier discussed, the virtual assistance industry has grown to accommodate more specialized skills. These highly trained professionals have realized there in better opportunity to build a career and generate income by working online. They can be their own boss and work on their own time.

Among the more popular and highly in-demand skills for virtual assistants include:

[starlist]
  • Market research
  • Transcription; legal, medical, business and audio
  • Website design
  • Website management
  • Graphics design
  • Software design
  • Animation
  • Content Writing[/starlist]

If your business has need of any of these skills, it is better to hire a Virtual Assistant. The costs of hiring one are much lower than a regular office-based employee and quality of work could be better.

You can hire a Website Designer who can manage your website and oversee your IT back office as well. By multi-tasking your Virtual Assistant, you improve the efficiency of your business.

4. Implement Online Marketing Strategies

Every business needs to incorporate digital marketing strategies in order to compete in the virtual world.

There are many online marketing strategies to choose from. A shortlist would include SEO, social media and content marketing. Online Marketers refer to these three as the “holy trinity” of digital marketing. Your business must absolutely incorporate these strategies in your digital marketing campaign.

But having a Facebook or LinkedIn account will not make you an expert. You need someone who has done online marketing before. There are several virtual assistants who have this specific skill set. They have the experience, expertise and the time to get these tasks done for you.

Here is a shortlist of what a Virtual Assistant can do for your online marketing:

  • Design the digital marketing campaign
  • Conduct market research
  • Create the posting schedule
  • Carry out the posting schedule
  • Engage with followers
  • Represent your business in focus groups
  • Create content
  • Provide online marketing analytics

5. Integrate a Feedback Loop

Most virtual assistants did not start out as virtual assistants. Most started their career in the concrete jungle; working 9 to 5 as you did. Over the years, they have built a wealth of experience not only in developing their skill sets but in working with people.

One of the best ways to maximize your Virtual Assistant is to include him (or her) in the feedback loop. Don’t assume that just because you sign his paycheck you know more than he does. No one knows everything, not even the boss.

If you have ideas or concerns about your business, consult with your Virtual Assistant. Openly solicit his opinions and thoughts about how your business is running. This is called a “feedback loop” and is valuable because often times, business owners do not see or acknowledge their mistakes or short comings.

Any entrepreneur or business owner who has hired one will tell you: a Virtual Assistant is a valuable asset. If this is your first time hiring one, look past the confines of the virtual world and remember the Virtual Assistant is there to protect your interest.

Want to learn more about outsourcing? Here’s a nice virtual assistant infographic.

 

Virtual Assistants Infographic from OutsourceWorkers.com.au

va infographic

Felix works with an Australian company providing virtual assistant services. He enjoys writing about businesses and entrepreneurship. You can connect with him on Twitter.