As a business owner, it is common to start as a ‘jack of all trades’, trying to juggle all the tasks that come with running a business. This is only sustainable for a short amount of time before the mundanity and responsibility of some tasks becomes unbearable. As your business grows, so do the demands on your time. There is a sweet spot where your business is becoming too busy for you to manage on your own but having the cashflow available to invest it in hiring a helping hand. It is at this point that some business owners carry on alone, getting more and more overwhelmed by what is required of them, and to the jack of all trades, they become a master of none. It is crucial that at this stage, you choose to delegate effectively to avoid burn-out with your business and personal life suffering.
Delegating doesn’t have to be a drastic step; indeed, it is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner. It is less about releasing your grip on control and more about building productivity and efficiency into your business.
In every business there are a number of core tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. These tasks, although critical, may not play to the strength of the business owner and therefore can be put to the bottom of the to-do list, or worse, done badly. So instead of eating a frog, why not start with delegating these tasks?
Here’s why it’s time to consider hiring a Virtual Assistant:
Most Virtual Assistants (VAs) have a background of specific expertise such as social media management, accountancy, business management, event planning, marketing, etc. You can decide what experience or industry knowledge you require and find your perfect match. It is important to bear in mind, though, that as the requirements you make increases, the likelihood of finding someone who is an expert at all of them decreases. If you are successful, it is understandable that you will have to pay a premium.
The role of the VA can cover many aspects, whether it be basic data entry to content writing and marketing. It is important to be clear in what exactly you want, to ensure that you get the right output from your assistant – if you’re unsure or vague on your requirements, you may not get the right VA, or they may struggle to deliver what you want.
More bang for your buck
The financial benefit of a VA is a compelling one. Given the flexible structure of VAs, you can decide to have fairly light support – around an hour per day – to a more involved service. This flexibility means that there are no long-term contracts or the potential problems that come with in-house PAs, including benefits and NI contributions, etc.
One important aspect to consider is the fact that an hour of a VA is worth much more than that of your time. It makes more sound financial sense to invest in a VA to cover your critical tasks, than for you to spend the same amount of time at the cost of your hourly rate.
A VA is also more productive and efficient than that of an in-house PA – think about the wasted time spent during the course of a full working day, as opposed to a shorter, more concentrated period of time each day or each week.
For businesses that require exceptional customer service, hiring a VA can be the best thing you can do. They can ensure nothing gets missed, by managing customer communications via email and social media. Having someone dedicated to tasks like this takes the onus off you and gives you time to get back to what you do best. It also provides consistency and protects your brand by being on top of responding to your customer base in an efficient, professional and effective manner.
Delegation is one of the most important skills a business owner needs to learn once the business has grown to the point where coping on your own is no longer viable. Delegating to a VA is the best place to start and, as the business grows, you can outsource further and build your team in areas that you identify as time goes by. Many business owners are reluctant to make that first step, but once they have and see the benefits, they become much more efficient in their business with productivity increasing exponentially.
Part of your team
Your VA may start with basic tasks but, as trust and competency grows, you begin to rely on them as an integral part of your team. They may work in a remote location to you and for a relatively shorter amount of time (compared to an in-house PA) but their dedication to you and your business will be second to none.
A virtual assistant is the perfect starting place for business owners to start flexing their delegating muscles – the scope of a VA is so broad that you can outsource all sorts of tasks, from email inbox management to bookkeeping and marketing. The result is you have more time to do what you do best, while the VA takes care of all the time-consuming tasks you don’t enjoy. This is a win-win financially as well as for productivity in your business.
SmartPA Partner Charlotte Frank
Charlotte had supported executives in London as a Personal Assistant for 17 years prior to moving into project management within a global investment bank. Charlotte's key skills lie in core administrative duties as well as event management, project management, research, data analysis and the creation of presentations.