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|Jan 26, 2007 6:10 pm||Effective Ways to Utilize Your Virtual Assistant (VA)||#|
|Effective Ways to Utilize Your Virtual Assistant (VA)|
By Susan McCool
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 40% of small business owners handle all of their administrative tasks. That means nearly half of the small businesses are squandering away their time doing mundane tasks that can be easily outsourced to a professional offering administrative support services. Why these businesses are trying to “do it all” is the question many companies offering virtual services are asking themselves.
There are many benefits of hiring a virtual professional. You can manage the tasks that matter and that you enjoy doing. Have you gotten lost in the day-to-day activities to the point of forgetting what led you to begin your company? Passion! Your passion and love of the work you do. Without passion, your business is just another “job”, not something that makes your life complete. In addition to helping you find your passion again, your Virtual Administrative Assistant can help you become organized, maintain customer service, develop a professional presence and help keep your name in the marquee lights!
Perhaps what is really holding back the 40% of small business owners not jumping on the Virtual Train is the issue of not knowing how to effectively utilize the talents and expertise of Virtual Assistance Professionals. Since every Virtual Business is unique in its own way and services, it is important to find the most compatible business in both a personal and business aspect. Personalities and views for your business must mesh, and the professional offering VA Services must offer the services that best suit your needs. But, what sort of services does a Virtual Assistant offer? Read on and find out these business-saving services that can help you climb the ladder to success rather than get stuck on the first few steps.
• Administrative Support/Secretarial Assistance – This one service is offered by nearly every virtual office assistant. In the long run, it can save you loads of time and money by shedding off those mundane day-to-day tasks that someone else can handle for you while you deal with the important aspects of your business. Virtual Assistants offering Administrative Support Services can handle practically any task that can be managed from a distance. They can handle all of your correspondence, freeing up your time reading and writing all of those letters and emails. They can create presentations for your next proposal or meeting. They can type up documents. Most business assistants can assist you with proofreading and editing so that your work looks professional once presented. A Virtual Receptionist can handle your phones and take care of customer service.
• Marketing – When you have so many other business aspects to worry about, marketing tends to be last on the list. However, this is the most important part of your business. It is crucial to keep your name in the lights and stay known as the expert in your field. If you outsource this work to a Virtual Professional that offers Internet and Print Marketing as a service, you can reap the benefits while handling the tasks you do everyday and enjoy. There are many ways to market your business online. Articles, networking, free expert advice, scheduling interviews, etc. The Internet Marketing scene is one that is creative and can be time consuming. Certainly a task to hand off to a professional.
• Research – When you need to know what your competitors are doing, what keywords best suit your companies niche or information to assist you in writing or a business proposal, a Virtual Assistant can save you time by doing the research for you.
• Human Resources – If payroll seems confusing or you just don’t have time to deal with learning the HR rules and regulations, handle reviews, process insurance applications timely and interview employees that end up wasting your time with their lack of experience, perhaps it is time to bring in Virtual Human Resources Manager. Let this person handle all of those HR tasks. It may require a little of your time to keep good records of each employee. However, if you invest in a good software or virtual office network, you can store all of the information that your Virtual Professional needs right at their fingertips.
• Bookkeeping – Lets face it, most small business owners do not know how to properly handle their books. If an audit were to come around, they would be seeing lots of dollar signs flashing before them. Hiring a bookkeeper to handle only the work you need done is a smart move. There is software that allows you to keep your books online so that you and your bookkeeper have access to make changes and work simultaneously. From here, your bookkeeper can keep track of your expenses, pay your expenses, handle your collections, deal with those quarterly and yearly taxes that confuse you and much more. Hiring a bookkeeper to keep your records straight is the best move any business owner can make. Audits are not something to mess around with! Be sure your bookkeeper does a quarterly audit of your books to ensure there are no costly mistakes lurking in the numbers!
• Writing – If writing articles, blogging and web copy are not your strong points, hire someone that can do these for you. Search engines LOVE content. And they LOVE content filled with rich keywords. If you don’t know how to write effectively to have the search engines pick up your work or just don’t have a way with words, then hiring a Professional Writer is key to keeping your name in those marquee lights, as mentioned earlier.
• Transcription – Clunky, space hogging transcription equipment is a thing of the past. You can now call 800 numbers and dictate right on the phone while driving from appointment to appointment. You can dictate and save it right to your hard drive and send it via email. Technology has advanced. And this advancement has made it possible to send your transcription needs to a professional without have to keep them on staff full time. Perfect for those individuals that don’t require a lot of transcription, but still do utilize its time-saving appeal.
• Event Planning – Why spend your time planning an elaborate event when you have a business to run? Hire a Special Event Planner. This individual can organize trade shows, conferences, charity events, seminars and other special events for you. Do you know how to cash in on the charity of your vendors to gain FREE items for these events to give away and make yourself stand out? If not, its time to call in the professionals!
• Desktop Publishing – Face it, not everyone has the talent to create an impressive design. Nor do they have the time to come up with a remarkable and memorable piece of art. Your Virtual Assistant that offers Desktop Publishing Services can assist you with making effective flyers, brochures, direct mailings, newsletters for print and business cards, just to name a few. Utilize their experience and talent to gain a memorable campaign to help kick start your company.
• Web Design – While there are many hosting companies that offer cookie cutter templates that look professional for your business to use, sometimes, especially in a competitive market, it is important to stand out with a custom design. Many Virtual Assistants are skilled in HTML, CSS and Java enough to create you a professional and appealing website that will set you apart from the rest. Don’t just blend it, STAND OUT!
• Newsletter Design – Again, there are many places that offer cookie cutter designs for newsletters. But, are they really portraying the image you want for your company? Do they match the image you are making with your website? It may be time to bring in a professional to create a custom design just for you. In addition, they can maintain this newsletter for you by putting it together, scheduling it to go out, and finding or creating the material to go in it.
• Graphic Design – When you think a magic wand is only something a Fairy Godmother carries around and layers are something you wear when it is cold, you are in dire need of a graphics art designer. Computer graphic design can be confusing, but is essential for creating the image that your clients, and potential clients, will remember you by. Logos, print ads, banner ads and company memorabilia are all part of a branding campaign. If it isn’t professional, you will be dubbed unprofessional also. Utilize the expertise of a graphic designer and receive quality image branding and creative ads to improve your clickable rate.
• Autoresponders – Autoresponders are a wonderful little tool that allows you to interact with your audience without actually having to lift a finger. But, if you don’t know how to effectively use one, or just don’t have the time to set them up and maintain them, its time to hire a professional. You can create seminars, send out a thank you note for purchases, creatively collect a potential customer database, send out newsletters, bulletins and ecourses. The possibilities are endless but rewarding.
• Ebooks – Who needs print anymore? There are thousands of ebooks that companies are publishing and marketing on their own that are very successful. But, if you don’t know the first thing about how to publish and create an effective image for an ebook, hire a Virtual Assistant that provides this service.
When you hire a Virtual Assistant Professional to help you handle your business needs, you can return to the things you enjoy about your business. You can be passionate in your work. There is a common phrase people use when looking for the perfect team member called the “Dream Team.” I don’t believe in the “Dream Team.” You aren’t hiring someone to dream with you. You are hiring someone to carry out your dreams. This would be your “Passion Panel.” Your “panel” of Experts that are just as passionate about the work they do as you are about the work you do. When you combine your passion for business, there is nothing stopping you. So forget about finding a “Dream Team” and stick with finding a “Passion Panel.” Someone that motivates you, consults, coaches and works with you to help you be the very best you can and stand out amongst the crowd.
In essence, stop dwindling away your time, money and dreams. Start building your “Passion Panel” and get your name in THE MARQUEE LIGHTS!
About The Author:
Susan McCool is a WAHM with her own Virtual Assistant Business. She helps small businesses and solo-preneurs succeed in business without the hassle of having to hire and maintain an employee. With a wide arrange of talents and great deal of expertise, she can help just about any company! To learn more about Susan and her Virtual Assistant business, visit www.virtualofficeassociates.net.
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