When you’re running a successful and growing business, you will probably notice how there are not enough hours in the day. You might want to dedicate more of your time to talking clients instead of completing data input or continue product development instead of e-mailing contacts. Now, when you start feeling like it’s harder to squeeze enough hours in your day, you need to hire a virtual assistant. It can help streamline your small business operations in an instant.

How can a virtual assistant help your business?

The benefits of having a virtual assistant are plentiful. The most obvious and generous advantage for small businesses is that they will help you save time. Instead of having to juggle tons of tasks yourself, you have someone to share the burden – you are able to assign simple, yet necessary tasks to the person and put your own efforts into doing something else.

The second benefit, closely related to the above, is the savings you can make. You might be wondering why don’t I just hire another person? But hiring a full-time or even a part-time member of the team will cost more – you need to pay extra for training, sickness and insurance premiums and so on. A virtual assistant can be hired on a project basis – if you find yourself struggling this month with client responses, just hire a qualified assistant to help you out. If things were to slow down next month, you could cut costs and do things yourself.

All of this leads to the third essential point: virtual assistants are highly qualified in the particular job you ask them to perform. You have options to find a specialized assistant with your specific needs and requirements in mind. The training period is much shorter and you can guarantee the results are professional.

So, the answer to how a virtual assistant can help your small business would by saving you time and money and adding extra expertise to your business.

How to hire a virtual assistant?

However, it must be said that not all virtual assistants are the same. If you don’t do your homework, you could end up with a bad virtual assistant. So, what are the things you should focus on when looking for a virtual assistant?

First, you need to identify your needs. Never hire a virtual assistant unless you are clear about the responsibilities you want them to do and you know you can’t do it on your own. For example, you might want someone to help you answer e-mails or online queries or perhaps you are looking for something to be in charge of your social media. There are plenty of things you can delegate to your virtual assistant – the key is to identify the points in advance.

You then need to choose between individual virtual assistant or virtual assistant companies. If you pick the first option, you’ll work with the same individual. The choice is good for those moments that require confidentiality and special expertise – for example, if you need help with bookkeeping, online shopping or case studies. On the other hand, virtual assistance companies are great for growing your business to the next level and when you might need help with a lot more tasks.

You can find plenty of individual virtual assistants online on freelancing platforms like Upwork and Zirtual. Furthermore, popular virtual assistant companies include organizations such as Virtual Assistant Assistant and Belay.

In terms of the cost, you can expect it to be a lot cheaper than hiring a full-time member to your in-house team. However, if you want quality, you don’t want to just focus on the price. You can find discounts at OZCodes.com.au for several service providers – website like freelancer.com – so utilize these for savings.

How to make it work?

When you are hiring someone to work remotely, you are, of course, taking a small risk. It’s different to manage someone working in the same office space, then someone working remotely. Therefore, you need to pay attention to how to best forge your relationship.

Make sure your virtual assistant is in regular contact with you. On a daily basis, this could just be an e-mail to demonstrate progress. More importantly, you want to have a conference call once a week or bi-monthly to ensure you are both on the same page in terms of tasks to do, things accomplished and goals to achieve.

Finally, make sure to delegate tasks and goals specifically. You won’t achieve a good result if you tell the virtual assistant to “take care of my social media”. You need to provide details of the channels and the ones you want to focus on the most, as well as the kind of content you want them to post, when and how often. The more specific you are the better the relationship will be.

A virtual assistant can be a great way to streamline your small business operations. It’s cost-effective and it could help you grow your business further. Just remember to keep the above tips in mind when you are looking for virtual assistant