Would a virtual assistant benefit your business?
For many owners of start-ups and small businesses, the drive to have their own company often comes from the desire to be their own boss. The reality of being your own boss however rarely lives up to the expectations of flexible working with passive income generation.
Imagine leaving work at 5.00pm only to discover you missed a call at 5.30pm from a potential customer for a big contract. Or even worse, always working late to keep the phones manned and missing out on your kids growing up.
The whole point of being your own boss is to be in control of the balance between your work and home life. However big the profit your business may turn is, if it is at the expense of your home and family life, you can never really call the business a success.
Many small business and start-up owners have watched their businesses grow from the first spark of imagination into a full time job. It’s no surprise then that letting go of the reins of power can be difficult and many small business owners end up working around the clock.
Working day and night and never seeing your friends and family isn’t why you set up your own business. Fortunately, there are systems that can be put in place to give business owners their free time back, without losing control of their company.
By enlisting the help of a virtual assistant, you can give yourself back the gift of free time. Telephone answering, message taking, and switchboard services can all be outsourced to a virtual assistant to provide a time saving and cost effective solution to the problem of a business that is taking over your life.
What can a virtual assistant do for your business?
In short, a virtual assistant can do all the jobs you wouldn’t pay yourself to do. While a virtual assistant might seem like a big expense at first, consider that it is currently you doing all these jobs.
If you weren’t self-employed, what sort of hourly wage would you expect to be paid? £30 an hour? £50 an hour? Now, imagine employing someone at £50 an hour to do basic admin and telephone answering. You simply wouldn’t do it. But every time you do this basic work at the expense of the work you’re best at, you might as well be paying an admin £50 an hour.
Virtual assistants provide a comprehensive service to cover all of the day to day administrative tasks that are needed to keep a business running. Virtual assistant services generally fall into two categories, administrative and call handling, both of which can be beneficial to businesses.
Climbing the paperwork mountain
If it is the administrative side of running your business that you struggle with, there are many virtual assistants on freelancing websites who specialise in skills like bookkeeping, diary management and handling emails.
Due to the freelance nature of this work, a virtual assistant could be used on a short term basis just to get through a back log of paper work, or they could be integrated into your business on a long term basis. One of the benefits of a virtual assistant over in-office staff is the flexibility it allows you as an employer.
While hiring a full time assistant in house is a commitment to paying them a monthly wage, a virtual assistant can be used and paid on an ad hoc basis when there is work to do. This can prove to be highly cost effective, especially for smaller companies who might only need the help of an assistant once or twice a month.
Virtual assistants and telephone answering
The other function a virtual assistant service can perform, and one of the most beneficial for businesses, is telephone answering.
For any business owner, answering the phone is likely to be one of the biggest eaters of time in a working day. Outsourcing this aspect of your day to a dedicated virtual assistant is a great way to win back time. With your calls being taken care of by a dedicated outsourced service, you can concentrate on doing the work you set up your business to do. And it isn’t just the benefit of time that outsourcing calls to a virtual assistant affords your business, it can also help to provide excellent customer service.
By using a dedicated call handler as a virtual assistant, you are equipping your business with the professional face that it needs to grow. Often, a phone call is the first interaction a potential customer has with a business, so it is important the business is well represented. A virtual assistant service specialises in providing a high level of customer care over the phone, and the staff a call answering service employs will likely have many years’ experience in the role. By using a virtual assistant, you can have confidence your calls with be answered responsibly while you focus on the hard work of running your business.
24/7 telephone answering
Using a telephone answering service as your virtual assistant also allows you to have extended call answering hours. While you and your staff might leave the office at 5.00pm, a good telephone answering service will be able to provide round the clock call handling. This means that as a business owner you can have the confidence to know that if you want to relax in the evening and not answer your phone, any important customer calls will be dealt with professionally.
Offering extended call answering hours to customers is vital when it comes to providing a level of customer service to compete with big online companies. Customers today expect to be able to contact companies at their convenience, and using a virtual assistant is an excellent way to provide this service.
A virtual assistant can answer customer calls outside of office hours which is convenient for the customer, and then message you with all the relevant information so you can provide a resolution when you’re back in the office. This bridges the gap between your work time and a potential customer’s free time and makes a virtual assistant a valuable tool for any small business.
For any small business owners who feel like they are drowning in a sea of paper work, or freelancers who spend so much time on the phone they’re struggling to meet deadlines, a virtual assistant could provide a cost effective solution to the problem and take your business to the next level.
Reuben Singh is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs with over 20 years’ experience founding and directing industry leading businesses.