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Running a business is a full-time job. The most important parts of that job could undoubtedly be said to be marketing and delivery of excellence in both service and products. There is always fierce competition in the marketplace, and your ability to keep up with latest developments, products and service delivery may well be the deciding factors in your success or failure. Whilst you are targeting these vital elements of your business and driving it forward to meet constantly changing demands and expectations, it is understandable that you will give less attention and time to the routine daily chores which are also crucial to the smooth running of the business. Entrepreneurs and online businesses often use the services of virtual assistants for the more mundane and nitty-gritty aspects of their business. On the other hand, if your business has more of a physical presence but is small, still developing and growing, you probably have no need for full-time employees to “oil the machinery” behind the scenes but still need backroom support. This is where an admin and virtual assistant can step in and take over these functions as and when needed.
A virtual assistant can be described as “A Personal Assistant in a Box”. Virtual assistants do not work from your premises, and can be based anywhere where there is a good internet connection. An admin and VA will carry out administrative tasks such as background research, file conversion, data collection, telemarketing and setting up appointments and contacts for you, controlling your diary and making travel arrangements. In addition, a VA will type up correspondence, either from your verbal notes or simple follow-up letters to clients you have just seen. They will answer phone calls for you, quickly and efficiently respond to routine emails, thereby providing a form of email automation in a sense, and ensure that leads and enquiries are met with a response which keeps the potential client interested and ready for further contact from you. A virtual assistant should have a good business style of writing, and preferably be knowledgeable to some degree about your business. Whilst they work mainly as a background facilitator for you, there is no doubt that a virtual assistant has an invaluable contribution to make to any business. Some virtual assistants are contracted to keep the accounts up to date and to ensure that money comes into the business on time from its customers, and must therefore have book-keeping knowledge and experience.
Virtual assistants are also able to help with social media management, especially important for an online entrepreneur.
Virtual assistants are trained in the particular aspects of the services they offer, whether it be social media interactions, book-keeping, writing business letters, managing diaries and calendars, telemarketing, setting up appointments, preparing reports and data entry. You save costs immediately since you don’t have the worry of training them to do what you need. They are contracted per hour, which is a tremendous saving for a small business owner who does not need someone all the time during normal business hours, and where paying a full- or part-time employee would be an unnecessary financial drain. Admin and virtual assistants are not confined to working normal 9 – 5 business hours, so can make themselves available when you need them most. This is extremely useful if your business hours fall outside of the standard working day, or you need your advertising or telemarketing campaigns to run during weekends or in the evenings when many people are surfing the net. Additionally, there is no leave pay, sick pay, medical aid or pension contributions on top of the normal pay scale to worry about. It’s simple – if the VA is not putting in the hours or producing the goods, he or she will not be paid. That alone is a major incentive for a VA to ensure that they fulfill their contracted obligations to the client. It is important, therefore, that you agree in writing your expectations of the VA right from the start so there can be no misunderstandings later on. If you have managed to find the services of a really good VA who delivers everything you need accurately and on time, hold onto this specialist for as long as you can. As in every niche, there are both good performers who deliver results timeously and consistently and mediocre workers who cannot deliver on their promises or who let you down at the most crucial times.
Since admin and virtual assistants work remotely via the internet, it is logical that you will find them by searching the web. Search sites such as Uptasker, in particular, are excellent resources in this regard, as this site provides suppliers’ online ratings and client reviews, together with one-click links to available websites. This is also a useful site if you are looking for a particular type of virtual assistant or wish to compare quotes upfront. You may also find admin and virtual assistants through business magazines or newspaper advertisements.
There is absolutely no doubt of the value that admin and virtual assistants are able to contribute to any business venture, from both a time-saving and economics point of view. These specialists release the business owner from spending valuable time on mundane and routine tasks which distract his attention from the more important aspects of his business such as marketing and product development. Always screen your potential VA carefully to be sure that he or she can produce the results you need, when you need them. Within this sphere, there are many specialists in different fields, so be sure to get the right one for your needs. For more tips, see our admin and virtual assistant articles.