When Is It time To Hire A Virtual Assistant
Whether you are an entrepreneur or an executive, time should always be regarded as a valuable commodity. Managing a successful business requires addressing the variables in the profitability equation: costs and revenues. With many items on the agenda to attend to how you manage your time will determine your level of productivity. Thus, the best time to hire a Virtual Assistant is now!
As the global business environment continues to remain volatile and uncertain with economies saddled with debt, unemployment rising, stagnant demand and the breakdown of many political structures, companies must find ways to remain profitable. This means adapting strategies that keep costs manageable without compromising productivity.
One of the proven strategies is to outsource work notably non-core functions or those that fall outside the businesses’ core competencies. This is why outsourcing work to virtual assistants has been increasing in popularity in the United States, the world’s most powerful economy. In 2014, it was estimated that 30% to 45% of the US workforce was composed of virtual assistants. This number is expected to increase to 50% by 2020.
A Virtual Assistant is a person who works online from a remote location and contracted to manage a specific set of tasks, project or defined responsibilities. They are alternatively referred to as “home based workers”, “telecommuters” or “freelancers”.
Having a Virtual Assistant on board at a time of global volatility and uncertainty will allow you to navigate economic turbulence because it gives your business the following advantages:
1. Improved Flexibility
The unpredictability of business has rendered rigid and highly- structured business models and strategies obsolete. In order to adapt to constantly changing conditions, you need flexible business strategies.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant improves business flexibility in a number of ways:
- Virtual Assistants are contractual. If they do not meet your standards of work, you can simply replace them. No need for employee adjudication processes.
- Time zone differentials give you flexibility in managing their work hours.
- You do not have to assign them eight hour work shifts. You can develop more flexible work schedules to maximize performance and increase output while managing costs.
2. Increased Productivity
By delegating non-essential or non-core functions to a Virtual Assistant, you will be able to allocate more time to manage the core activities of your business.
Many entrepreneurs and executives spend the first hour of the day going through e-mail and correspondence. There will also be times during the day that your focus will be interrupted by phone calls. As a business owner, you would not want to overlook paying your bills on time.
These are some of the non-essential tasks that you can designate to your Virtual Assistant. It will free up more time for you to focus on activities that matter directly to your business.
Virtual assistants also work based on timelines. If you give them a deadline, they will accomplish it because that is how many are paid. On the other hand, studies have shown that regular office employees are only 19% productive.
According to Personal Development coach, Steve Pavlina, office workers only tender 90 minutes of productive work in a typical 480 minute work day. The rest of their time is spent on non-work related activities such as Internet surfing, coffee breaks and water cooler chatter.
As you will find out later, hiring virtual assistants will also generate cost savings because the cost of hiring one is significantly lower than hiring a regular employee.
The cost savings can help the business fund revenue generating projects such as those of the marketing department or institute improvements.
3. Better Work Quality
Virtual assistants are not just limited to non-essential tasks, secretarial work or personal assistant services. The Virtual Assistant has undergone an evolution to correspond with the demands in the market.
Today, you can find a Virtual Assistant for every type of skill or competence. Among these highly technical skills and disciplines are as follows:
- Human Resources
- Market Research
- Spreadsheet Creation
- CRM Administration
- Data Entry
- Social Media Marketing
If your business has a need for any of these services, you can be assured of the quality of work. These virtual assistants have the experience, expertise and training to consistently deliver top notch services.
4. Cost Effective Solutions
The number one reason why businesses outsource is to streamline costs. Hiring a Virtual Assistant saves you more money than hiring a Full Time Employee or FTE for the following reasons:
- Virtual assistants are self- employed. You don’t pay them a monthly salary. Instead you pay them per productive hour or only for the hours they work for.
- Virtual assistants are not paid benefits. Because they are not employed by your business, virtual assistants are not paid mandated and company declared benefits.
- Virtual assistants are technically entrepreneurs. They run their own business which offers virtual assistance services. Thus, they are accountable for their own costs of business.
In the United States, hiring virtual assistants have saved some companies as much as US$1,900 per employee in total compensation expense and reduced employee turnover by 50%.
You can further reduce the cost of hiring by contracting virtual assistants from remote locations such as the Philippines or India where there is a comparative advantage in the cost of labor.
The Philippines and India are consensus leaders in global outsourcing not only because of their competitive pricing but also because of the consistent quality of work.
5. Scalability in Operations
If your numbers show an increase in business activity and forecast a need to expand output but you remain uncertain of future prospects, hiring virtual assistants will allow you to scale operations with less risk.
When you are scaling operations, you want to make sure you can accommodate the increase in work volume without compromising your budget. The flexible nature of virtual assistance work allows you to manage expansion while controlling expenses.
You can hire one Virtual Assistant who can help handle the additional volume of business. If output is falling behind, hire another Virtual Assistant and manage his or her hours corresponding to the level of business you are generating.
Globalization means events that affect one region of the world are no longer localized in that area. It will eventually cascade to other regions as we have seen with the Euro Zone crisis and the US debt-ceiling crisis of 2013. Thus, flexible strategies will remain the most viable option for businesses. Now is the best time to hire a Virtual Assistant if you want to survive uncertainty and economic turbulence.