5 Ways A Virtual Assistant Can Help Your Startup
Since Tim Ferris told the world how the Virtual Assistant saved his life in his 2007 bestselling book, “The Four Hour Work Week”, the industry has seen exponential growth. Not only has there been constant demand for virtual assistance services, but the industry has evolved to accommodate demand for new skills.
In his book, Ferris shared how hiring virtual assistants allowed him to cut down his work load from 14 hours a day to four hours a week yet increase his level of productivity. Instead of being tied down to his startup company, BrainQuicken, Ferris was able to see the world, become an author, fitness instructor, nutritionist and kickboxing champion in China!
Ferris eventually sold BrainQuicken and started several businesses which became very profitable.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant offers your startup more advantages than an office-based employee. Here are just five of them:
1. Streamline your cost
The number one benefit of hiring a Virtual Assistant is that the incremental cost to your budget is negligible. You will only pay the Virtual Assistant his fee which is calculated on a per productive hour basis. If he doesn’t work, you don’t pay him.
A Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur just like you. He takes care of all the costs of his virtual assistance business. You are not obligated to pay him benefits.
A regular office based employee is paid a fixed salary whether he works or not. His compensation is not based on performance but on hours worked. So when he spends idle time on Facebook, Internet surfing or chatting with co-workers in the break room guess what? That is time you are paying for!
It is estimated that by hiring a virtual assistant over a regular office employee, you save between 40% and 80% in compensation. US companies that have integrated virtual assistants or home-based workers in their workforce report a cost savings of US$1,900 per head and a 13% increase in productivity.
2. Introduce efficiency
Hiring a Virtual Assistant introduces efficiency in two ways. As discussed in the previous point, a Virtual Assistant streamlines your cost. He can do the same scope of work as a regular office employee at 20% to 60% the cost.
Second, a Virtual Assistant can manage the non-essential tasks or functions of your business. What are non-essential tasks? These are the functions which have no direct correlation to the core business. Among the non-essential tasks are the following:
- E-mail filtering
- Calendar management
- Phone handling
- Website management
- Social media management
- Market research
- Transcription services
- Graphics design
Although these are termed “non-essential” they play an important role in keeping your business organized and running smoothly.
3. Increase productivity
Efficiency creates a cascading effect as it increases productivity. These are manifested as follows:
- Virtual assistants are highly experienced; most of them have had at least two years work experience at a traditional brick and mortar establishment. Most have also acquired higher learning or levels of training to become more proficient at what they do. Thus, you spend less time on training them.
- Their experience also carries over in providing advice that could make your business run better. How? Experienced virtual assistants are very familiar with software programs that can make your operation flow like silk.
- Keep in mind that virtual assistants are performance-based; they are covered by milestones that have to be achieved. They will work to accomplish those milestones.
- Virtual assistants work in a stress-free environment; they are able to focus more on work and are not inconvenienced by the commute, office politics and other forms of distraction.
- By delegating non-essential tasks to virtual assistants, this frees more time for you to attend to the core functions of your business.
- By generating cost savings, a business can re-align funds to support revenue generation programs such as an inbound marketing process.
As you can see, hiring a Virtual Assistant is having a double-edged sword for your business. You can streamline costs without affecting your productivity.
4. Improve mobility
The new millennium was welcomed by events that shook up several of the world’s most powerful economies. These include 9/11, the Iraq invasion of 2003, the 2007 crash of the equities market, global warming, natural disasters, the 2009 Euro Zone crisis and the ongoing recession.
These events created great instability and made the global business environment more Volatile, Unpredictable, Chaotic and Ambiguous. VUCA is the acronym coined by the Army College after the Cold War which described the turbulent global economy.
Under these conditions, rigid business strategies will never work. Time spent on designing the “Perfect Plan” will be time wasted. In the face of unpredictability, the most important quality for businesses is mobility.
The evidence is provided by the fact that 60% of online traffic is now from mobile phones. Businesses are on the move; they are no longer confined behind four walls. Businesses are no longer looking on the inside but exploring opportunities outside the usual confines.
The Virtual Assistant personifies mobility in the following ways:
- They work from remote locations;
- Their work schedule is adaptable; if you want to cover your business 24/7, hire virtual assistants from other regions where time differentials exist.
- They are not full-time employees; they are bound by a contract or work agreement. If they fall below expectation, terminate their contract and hire a new one. No need for the adjudication process or the Grievance Machinery.
Mobility in operation gives you flexibility and speed. In times of economic turbulence, you have to make quick decisions. And to implement these decisions, the components of your business must be flexible.
5. Manage operations to scale
An overlooked benefit of hiring a Virtual Assistant for your startup is its ability to allow you to expand your operation according to scale.
All you need to do is review the four other benefits to see how the Virtual Assistant is your best option for business expansion.
- By streamlining your costs it lowers your capital expenditure and thus minimizes your risk.
- By introducing efficiency, you can keep track of all factors related to production without missing any opportunity that comes your way.
- By increasing productivity you can oversee how an incremental unit or volume of business affects performance and adjust accordingly.
- By improving mobility you are not tied down by rigid frameworks or processes. If it doesn’t result in productive returns, replace or terminate services.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant can offer many more benefits to your startup. Given the difficulties a startup faces in terms of limited capital and tight competition, the Virtual Assistant is your best option to take your business to the next level.