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Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

The hiring of a B2B service provider or a virtual assistant to carry out business admin tasks is becoming increasingly popular with startups and solopreneurs

by Steph Oszczyk

Doing It All As A Start-Up Business Owner

Starting up your own business could have come about from any number of reasons or circumstances, but at the heart of it all you want to make money, do what you’re good at (and enjoy!) and control the where’s, when’s and how’s.

Business advisors, friends, reliable internet sources, and fellow entrepreneurs can all provide guidance and support on getting going but inevitably as the journey grows, so does your to-do list. So at what point do you sit and think about all the tasks involved in creating and maintaining your vision?

It’s an easy pit to fall into, believing that the onus is on you to do it all. Let’s consider a house sale – once you’ve made the decision to put your house on the market do you make your own valuation, run a hopeful Facebook ad, and back-and-forth with your new buyer on moving dates? Do you bargain with the banks on mortgage deals, scour your new property for flood evidence and knotweed, then transfer all your belongings from one home to the other in 74 separate standard-family-sized-car trips? You may well do, but equally there are qualified and efficient surveyors, estate agents, solicitors, mortgage brokers and removal companies out there more than ready to assist.

So turn your focus back to your business. It’s so much more than just the day job right? There’s planning, client communications, quoting, branding, marketing, social media, maintaining a website, record keeping, networking, scheduling, diary management… and so on… While naturally having the ability to multitask is a great skill to possess when running a business, this doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

If you are one person or run a small company, spinning all the plates is going to require experience, knowledge, and significant working hours. Maybe you have the time but are unsure of the specifics of some of the behind-the-scenes functions, or maybe you want to improve the operational efficiency and agility of your growing business venture.

Enter B2B outsourcing…

Benefits Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant

The hiring of a business to business service provider or a virtual assistant to carry out tasks on your behalf is becoming increasingly popular for a whole host of reasons, with small company owners looking to benefit from:

– Increasing Productivity And Efficiency

Spending reduced time on the less profitable tasks allows you to focus more on the work that makes you money. Having a virtual assistant work alongside you also means that tasks can get done quicker making your business more productive all round.

Equally, if you hand control of those specialised tasks to a professional company that carries them out on a daily basis, your time becomes free for your profit-making activities/billable client work.

– Reducing/Controlling Expenses

Overall, initially at least, when you outsource business admin to a virtual assistant the cost can work out to be cheaper when compared to hiring your own permanent staff, and less of an upfront commitment. Employing staff doesn’t come cheaply when considering hourly rates, National Insurance and pension contribution responsibilities, and that’s before you think about training them and buying equipment. There is also the time cost element of hiring the right candidate and managing that person.

Lots of outsourcing providers offer competitive rates without the overheads mentioned above, on a flexible schedule based on business requirements. When committing to a set number of hours per month these hourly rates can reduce even further making this an attractive prospect for businesses who want to improve their efficiency without the ties of hiring staff.

– Providing Continuity And Managing Risk To Your Customers

Employee turnover can cause operational inefficiencies, ultimately impacting your customers. Even short term absences can have an effect on your operational effectiveness. Outsourcing offers levels of continuity that cannot always be guaranteed internally, thereby removing uncertainty and inconsistency.

What To Outsource?

Naturally when you start a business there are instant thoughts about supporting service providers you will have to engage with. For many, finding an accountant is a starting point (unless of course you are an accountant yourself!). If your team has grown and you have taken on people, you may need a Payroll Provider.

Now consider the tasks that you are currently doing yourself but take your time away from what your service offering is all about.

These jobs may class as:

  • Low value work – You may love or loathe this work, the challenge is to consider if it’s work you should be doing. This one may not be easy as there will undoubtedly be conflict if it’s a task you really enjoy or are good at. Remember you’re building a business here and in order to make it successful you may need to let go.
  • Specialist activities – Do you have experience and up to date knowledge in all areas of your business? If the answer is no, perhaps it’s time to find someone who does. Whilst this may require outsourcing to more than one expert, consider the value to your business of bringing in that additional expertise.

The list of suitable tasks for outsourcing is expansive, and the level of benefit will very much be business dependent. Administrative tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant or B2B service provider include:

  • Social media management – Helping you engage with existing clients and new ones, creating content, replying to comments and post scheduling on social media platforms.
  • Inbox and calendar management – Including booking appointments, filtering emails, setting up auto responses and template responses.
  • Data entry – This can be a significantly large operational requirement, ranging from spreadsheet creation, formatting, editing and correction, transcribing, and image to text data entry.

In addition, there are many businesses and professionals that provide specialised support in particular areas, such as:

  • HR support – If you have a team or are planning to grow your team having external professional HR support in place to cover recruitment activity, employee training and development and payroll liaison can make this process much easier.
  • Bookkeeping – You may well have an accountant at the ready for all the annual and compulsory filings, but a qualified and regulated service provider can also take care of your day to day books and record keeping, send and chase invoices, and provide you with reports that help keep your business finances running smoothly.

All of these tasks have a direct impact on productivity and profitability. The end result may not require an actual person completing tasks on your behalf, and may well just need some expertise, advice and work around process automation.

When Should You Outsource?

A ‘no-one-size-fits-all’ question, but if some of these scenarios feel familiar, perhaps it’s time to consider whether outsourcing some of your workload could benefit you and your business:

  • Trade is increasing and you are unable to commit the time to the admin tasks without consequence to customer service levels and quality of work.
  • Your team is bogged down in monotonous and unexciting work and morale has dropped.
  • People are leaving your company as the work pressure is too much and/or the task focus does not always marry up with the job description.
  • Work output has dropped due to the complexity of the task and you need an expert in the field.

It’s always worth a look at how much of your non-billable time certain activities are taking up, and determine the trade off in potential income should you be able to free up this time.

Review, Evaluate And Evolve…

Whether you’re assessing team performance, evaluating the effectiveness of your latest social media campaign or revising that product that didn’t sell quite as well as you’d hoped in the first month after its launch, reviewing is one of the most important parts of any business process.

The same applies when you outsource business admin tasks. Even if it feels like everything is going great, applying the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” philosophy, while initially appearing to be the less labour intensive route, can sometimes cause a lot more headache down the line.

In order to measure outcomes in the future, ensure at the start of entering into any form of strategic partnership that you have considered what it actually is you’re looking for. Set specific and quantifiable targets so that you can assess whether you’re getting the benefits you were counting on.

Remember as you go along to also pay particular attention to what works well so that you can expand on the progress made and potentially find ways to apply these successes to other areas of your business.

Thank you for reading!

The contents of our articles are the opinions of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Business Efficient. Neither Your Business Efficient or our employees are acting as licensed professionals and any information contained within our blog posts, or our site in general, should not be construed as legal or financial advice.

We always recommend that you conduct your own appropriate research or consult with any relevant licensed professionals before making any decisions that affect your business.


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