Entrepreneurs by nature are risk-takers.
They want to be behind the wheel of the car, have full view of the road that lies ahead and be fully accountable for the outcome of the journey.
But what happens when the journey runs into problems like inclement weather and roads become impassable?
Or what if the car runs into engine trouble or gets a flat tire? Or what if the driver gets lost?
Who will the driver call for help?
The road to business success is not a straight path. It has potholes, bumps, peaks, valleys and is intermittently confounded by harsh weather conditions.
Even if your entrepreneurial tool box houses the skill sets and competencies to navigate through these inconveniences, now you have to deal with an insurmountable force that you can never hope to overcome: TIME.
One of the most important skills required to become a successful entrepreneur is the ability to effectively manage time.
Put it this way, like it or not, there are only 24 hours in a day. Assuming you get in the minimum requirement of six (6) hours of sleep for adults, you only have 18 hours to manage everything that you need to do.
When you factor in time allocated for commuting, meals, personal matters and family you probably have 5 to 6 hours left to attend to your business.
To grow your business, you must be able to manage time. And to be able to manage time, you must delegate. For entrepreneurs with tight budgets, the best option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant is an individual who works online from a remote location and is contracted to manage a specified set of tasks or responsibilities. Unlike regular office employees, virtual assistants are only paid for the hours they work and at a rate one third the cost of a full-time salary.
Thus, hiring a virtual assistant guarantees you lower costs but greater productivity.
The Virtual Assistant has come a long way since the 1980’s where he or she would be hired primarily to render secretarial or personal assistant services. Since the growth of technology and the influence of social media, the Virtual Assistant has evolved into a profession with various skill sets that are technical and work specific.
For entrepreneurs with limited competencies, assembling a team of virtual assistants would be a great step forward in developing the business.
Tasks You Can Outsource To a Virtual Assistant
Here are a few specialized tasks that you can outsource to a Virtual Assistant:
1. Website Design
The first step in launching your business online is to build a website.
While there are downloadable website templates available on the Internet, it is always advisable to have your website designed by an experienced professional to ensure it will run effectively and aesthetically, have the look that will appeal to your target market.
For a website to be effective it must be accessible to different browsers, mobile responsive and have fast download speed. Having a professionally designed website greatly improves your probability to succeed.
2. Social Media Marketing
A website by itself will not be successful in opening up market opportunities for your business. In order to maximize the potential of your website, you have to build inbound traffic and that is the purpose of social media marketing.
Participating in social media does not make you an expert. To successfully implement social media programs, you need to conceptualize strategies, implement programs and create content that is relevant and engaging.
Social media can be time-consuming and most entrepreneurs would not have the requisite skill set and hours to run this effectively.
Blogging has been proven to be an effective tool in generating business interest which is why five of the top corporations in the world: Wal-Mart, Chevron, General Motors, Ford and Bank of America have blogs.
We all learned to write when we were old enough to hold a pen. But not everyone can write great content that appeals, stimulates opinion and engages lively discussion.
If writing is not your strength, do not hesitate to acquire the services of a professional writer or blogger. In marketing, content is king and it takes skill and experience to craft great content. Ask your website designer to include a blog page in your website.
4. Graphic Design
Your website designer may require the assistance of a Graphic Designer to consult with the look of your logo, the use of colors, lines, shapes, rhythm, font style and other patterns for your website and social media pages.
A Graphic Designer views design from a different filter because they have greater experience on its aesthetic aspects.
The downfall of many small businesses and entrepreneurs is their inability to oversee and manage their available resources.
Even is your business is generating consistent income, it is highly important to keep track of the flow of money in and out of your enterprise. In a business, it is important to have these documents ready for immediate reference:
- Cash flow statement – Tracks the movement of funds
- Income statement – Measures performance of the business
- Cash disbursement schedule – Updates payments to employees, suppliers and other creditors
Preparing these statements can be tedious as it requires review and constant updating of invoices, journals and other supporting documents. Thus, it is best to delegate this responsibility to a Virtual Assistant but make time to discuss these on the first work day of the week.
6. Phone Handling
Once your business starts gaining traction, it is inevitable that you will be receiving and making more calls than usual. Nothing can be more distracting to an entrepreneur than to receive a call from a telemarketer offering products and services in the middle of an important task.
It can also be destructive to the business if the entrepreneur misses an important call or fails to make a scheduled call to a prospective client. Most Virtual Assistants have accumulated a wealth of experience in phone handling because this is one of the required skills.
By delegating phone handling to a Virtual Assistant, the entrepreneur can focus on the task at hand without missing a beat.
7. General Administrative Work
In addition to phone handling, an entrepreneur needs to organize his schedule and be updated on forthcoming activities that require his time and attention.
Again, it’s all about affording the entrepreneur valuable time to focus on the important tasks. The Virtual Assistant can filter e-mail and screen only the ones relevant to the business; confirm appointments, update the Customer Relationship Management system and transcribe business audio into text format for convenience and immediate reference.
If you find yourself inundated with tasks that are non-essential or functions not covered by your core competencies yet are necessary to move your business, you will have less time to attend to activities that directly impact on the success of your enterprise.
For all the assets an entrepreneur can own, only the Virtual Assistant can provide the single most important asset to ensure the success of the business: TIME.