Posted: Tue 29th Aug 2023
Running a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) can be exceptionally demanding. This is not just in terms of its day-to-day operations, but trying to balance these with your growth strategies can make even the most resilient of entrepreneurs struggle.
If you’re tasked with scaling and keeping an SME above board, it’s likely that your time is stretched thin. Not only have you got to manage employees and clients, but there are also new business strategies to develop, networking opportunities to pursue, and clients to prospect. Finding enough hours in a day to get all of these important tasks done is, in the eyes of many, simply utopian.
However, all is not lost, and there is a solution. Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) may just be the solution you need to liberate yourself from many of these time-consuming tasks. Entrusting the arduous and distracting tasks that eat up valuable hours of your time to a skilled and reliable VA will free up your time to focus on growing your business.
Whether it’s important administrative procedures or marketing activities, VAs can lift a great deal of stress off your shoulders. If you’ve never hired a remote assistant, you don’t need to worry, as this guide will outline the key benefits of doing so. It will also show you how they can help in terms of your company’s productivity and long-term cost savings.
Can a virtual assistant improve productivity?
Small business owners spend a great deal of time each week on administrative, bookkeeping and rudimentary tasks. Research by Sage highlights that small businesses spend approximately 120 working hours a year on administrative tasks.
This equates to over seven working days each year. Such lost productivity can have a profound knock-on effect on your time and ability to generate high-value business in a smaller timeframe.
A VA can take ownership of these repetitive and time-consuming duties, allowing you to focus on tasks that deliver higher value, whether that’s strategic initiatives or client relationship management.
Delegating administrative tasks can have a profound impact on your business’s efficiency and overall productivity. Of course, this depends on the nature of what you may hire a VA for, whether it’s reception work, diary management or more complex needs.
But the salient point is that you, as a business owner, have autonomy over how many hours they need to delegate to their VA. Clearly, leveraging virtual assistance is an impactful way for enterprises and entrepreneurs to enhance productivity and growth.
Can a virtual assistant save me money?
As well as boosting your productivity, a VA can end up saving you money in the long run. Compared to hiring traditional, full-time admin staff, remote assistant services can be a long-term, cost-effective investment that ensures you're not compromising quality and service delivery.
Hiring full-time workers includes the responsibility of paying their salaries, benefits, taxes and more. With VAs, however, you’re only effectively paying for the hours they work. That makes it more cost-effective for you and your small business.
The flexible payment structure allows you to scale your workforce as you see fit, without the financial commitments of full-time salaries, taxes, national insurance, pensions and so on.
Not only that, but VAs work remotely, meaning you can save significantly on costs associated with office space, equipment, parking permits, computers and so on. What’s more, many VAs are situated overseas, which means they often cost less per hour than local staff.
When weighing up investments, the potential cost savings of hiring remote assistants versus in-house administrators add up exponentially. The flexible ‘pay-what-you-work’ structure provides more scalability for you as your business grows and your needs change.
What types of tasks can a virtual assistant perform?
VAs can often perform a multitude of highly skilled and technical tasks to support a wide variety of business needs. Some agencies offer specialist VAs to provide specific support, such as executive assistance.
Here are some examples of what a VA can do:
Calendar management: Scheduling calls and meetings
Email: Managing inboxes, drafting responses
Bookkeeping: Accounts payable/receivable, invoicing, submitting expenses
Travel planning: Managing travel arrangements
Research: Conducting market research, creating competitor reports
Data entry: Updating records, taking customer requests
Reception: Directing calls to relevant departments and arranging callbacks
Marketing: Managing social media, creating content, overseeing campaigns
Administration: Taking meeting notes, preparing presentations
The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways a VA can take over administrative burdens to free up your schedule.
You can start small with a few repetitive tasks that are eating up your precious time, and expand from there as the relationship develops. Over time, you’ll see a huge improvement in your availability and productivity.
The main advantages of hiring a virtual assistant
It’s clear that hiring a VA has the potential to provide immense benefits for enterprises and small business owners. At a glance, here are some of the main benefits of hiring a VA:
1. Increased capacity
Avoid becoming immersed in an administrative rabbit hole and dedicate your time to important, big-picture and high-value initiatives. Leaving more clerical duties to a capable VA will be a huge weight off your shoulders.
2. Access to special skills
3. Cost savings
Spend less every hour compared to hiring an in-house administrative assistant, with no additional costs like taxes, office equipment and pensions to worry about.
Scale the level of support you require as your business grows, and only pay for the time you need. Often, any unused hours can be accrued to the following month’s allocation, to help with cash flow.
Concentrate more of your energy on growing your business and client base rather than spend hours committing to burdensome administrative duties that chip away at your sanity.
6. Work-life balance
Access a broad variety of skilled talent from all over the world. VAs can work from anywhere, so find one who's right for your business without worrying about location.
As an entrepreneur or business owner, making the decision to hand off certain tasks to a VA could be a game-changer.
You’ll free up hours in your day, gain peace of mind, and have the space to develop innovative business growth strategies. So why wait? Start reaping the benefits of remote assistance, and prepare to see your business grow like never before.