After a lot of dreaming, preparation, research, investment, and hard work, you’ve finally done it. You’ve launched your own business. Congratulations! You are inevitably providing a valuable product or service to your community. But now what? How do you get started on the right foot with your business from properly setting up your operations to finding your first paying client? Do you have a marketing strategy? Do you have a website? What does your customer service model look like? How will you handle scaling up your business when your phone is ringing off the hook? These are among the many challenges small business owners and entrepreneurs face on a daily basis and it can be overwhelming.
But just because you’re in business for yourself doesn’t mean you have to be in business by yourself. Many of these challenges can be addressed by utilizing the services of a Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent professional who provides a wide range of business services such as administrative support, research, business coaching, sales, marketing, social media expertise, etc. to clients while operating outside of the client’s office. VA’s have years of secretarial, office management, project management, marketing, or specialized experience. They complement your strengths by focusing on the areas where you may lack the expertise or time to perform certain tasks. They are like an extra pair of hands, an extra set of eyes, or someone on which to bounce ideas and strategy and help you make sound decisions for your business. They can be a godsend whether you’re just starting or you’ve been in business for years. And they fit into your budget because unlike hiring a full-time staff, you utilize a VA only for the services you need.
Here Are the 5 Best Ways to Use a VA:
Focus on What You Do Best and Let Your VA Do the Rest.
Whether you're an aspiring chef, plumber, skate shop owner, or full-time blogger, your primary objective is to offer the best products and services in your industry and become known as a trusted and reliable source in your community. Unfortunately, being your own boss also makes you the chief, the cook, and the bottle washer. Performing all the tasks needed to run your business well is extremely difficult and actually an inefficient use of your time. Outsourcing tasks and projects can free up your time and be essential to your business growth. A VA can help with crucial but time-consuming tasks you must perform on a regular basis such as:
- Managing your emails
- Managing your calendar
- Scheduling client calls and appointments
- Writing, editing, proofreading documents & proposals
- Developing presentations
- Developing quotes and bids
- Conducting market research
- Tracking accounts payable and receivable
Help Define Your Marketing Strategy
Successful organizations have a clearly defined marketing strategy and devote a portion of their time and budget to consistently marketing their business. Whether your customers find you by word-of-mouth, the yellow pages, or a Google search, a VA can help you define and reach your target market and maximize your investment by utilizing a number of marketing tools and platforms such as: developing your brand and logo; designing, developing, and maintaining your website; social media marketing; search engine optimization, and content writing.
Help Cultivate a Relationship with Your Customers from the Very Start
You spend a lot of effort getting customers. Do your customers remember you six months after you've completed a project? If they do, is it in a positive manner? Would they recommend you? A VA can build, maintain, and improve relationships with your customers. Simply calling up past customers and asking them a few simple questions can lead to fantastic insight, which often results in referrals and additional jobs. Maintaining regular contact with your customers allows you to get to know their needs, solve their problems, and let them know when you have new products or services to offer. A VA can: perform customer follow-up; conduct customer surveys; develop a customer database; develop a monthly or quarterly digital customer newsletter; or launch an email marketing campaign.
Keep Operational Costs Minimum
By using a VA, you only only pay for work that needs to be done thus eliminating the costs associated with employing a full-time staff member and any idle or non productive time. Because a VA is an independent contractor, many overhead costs associated with running a business are drastically reduced or eliminated when you use their services compared to doing it yourself or hiring someone full-time. A VA eliminates the costs of: equipment, payroll training, medical, office space, and utilities
Help You Find Time for Yourself and the Important Relationships in Your Life
Launching a business commands a LOT of your time especially in the initial phases. Business owners are often reluctant to shorten their days and take time off because of a long list of uncompleted tasks or the continuous need to be present in their business. By having a relationship with a VA, you can have confidence that your business is being minded and tasks are being completed on your behalf. Prevent burn-out by spending your downtime with family and people you enjoy doing the things that refresh you and bring you joy. Having a virtual assistant on your side allows you to have more leisure time and peace of mind. A VA can be useful to: schedule appointments; run errands; book hotels and flights, or even restock your supplies!
The bottom line is when you decide to take the leap to become an entrepreneur, you are often faced with a long list of decisions, tasks, and responsibilities that can easily become overwhelming. The key is to realize that you don't have to do it all yourself. In fact, one of your first decisions as a business owner should be to build a team you can rely on and to determine which services you will outsource to your team. Even if you have the knowledge and skills to do most tasks, ask yourself if it is the best use of your time or if you could devote that time to working on your business doing what you love. A VA is a valuable member of your team and becomes a partner in your success. You’re in business for yourself but that doesn’t mean you have to be in business by yourself.
If you have any questions about how to use a VA for your business, be sure to reach out. We'd love to help.