The idea of virtual assistants is becoming more popular. Books like “Becoming an entrepreneur” by Jake Desyllas discuss the need for founders to remove themselves from their businesses once they’re on the road to success.
Building a team of people in support of meeting business objectives can include a mix of VAs, employees, and the use of automation. This can be beneficial to increase efficiency and let employees spend greater time on the more important projects. It also frees up the founder to invest more of their time elsewhere.
Here is why virtual assistants and some automation are effective for small business owners.
Work is Easier to Manage
Depending on how large your operation is, you may prefer to keep it small. This isn’t always easy if there is a variety of different tasks to be completed. You may need to recruit several people to handle the various tasks. Ultimately, you may struggle to find enough for them to do to keep each employee busy.
By contrast, working with one or more virtual assistants resolves many of these issues. Virtual assistants are highly skilled, experienced workers, and are well-versed in working with multiple clients. Because of this, they’re adaptable to the different requirements of each client; there’s no need to find extra work to keep them occupied.
VA for Every Occasion
While a VA for every occasion is excessive, each virtual assistant has their own area of specialization. The more specific the required skills; the fewer VAs you need to fill that requirement.
As such, some VAs are a dab hand at handling social media communications whereas others can manage basic bookkeeping transactions. Similarly, some will be tech-savvy and can update your website whereas others may act as logistical coordinators.
A handful of VAs can fulfill a range of required duties. Without a commitment on how many hours each VA will work on your company’s behalf, there is more flexibility. This can put your mind at ease if you are worried about costs.
Outside the Office? Maybe Automation Can Be Useful?
Direct human involvement isn’t always needed in every situation.
Sometimes, it’s more about facilitation, communication, and integration rather than always being hands-on. Clever technological solutions can help to keep businesses running even when the founder isn’t in the office.
Integrations to Trigger Responses
Integration is a buzzword right now. Getting one app to talk to another is what it’s all about. Zapier and its integrations, known as ‘Zaps,’ is a commonly used tool for this.
A VA responsible for new customer orders could add a row in a Google Sheets spreadsheet representing a new order. This could trigger an automatic message added to Slack, the messaging app, for the founder to see.
Alternatively, newly completed work that’s been uploaded to a Google Drive folder could trigger a Gmail alert to go out. It means you don’t need to check the folder repeatedly for updates when out of the office.
Automatically Forward Text Messages, Confidentially
If you don’t want a phone number to be in the public domain, it’s possible to keep it confidential.
A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution means texts can be forwarded from an initial phone number to a private one. This prevents unwanted phone calls during a business trip or a meeting.
There are different approaches to how to forward a text. Automating it allows them to be pushed to the secondary, private number with zero oversight. See Open Phone's guide to understand how that’s achieved. They offer affordable, easy-to-set-up VoIP packages on a per-user basis.
Ability to Scale or Spin-up Projects
For small businesses with less working capital for expansion, growth is a double-edged sword. While almost all companies want it, the financial demands that come with growth are considerable. And worrisome too.
Spinning up small projects is also tricky. These may require hard work for short periods and then they’re completed. From a staffing perspective, these are difficult to handle.
In either situation, using virtual assistants may reduce the difficulties involved. Experienced personnel can perform the most needed tasks without an extended recruitment and training period. For companies with specific needs, for a short spell or to manage rapid growth, bringing on several VAs can fill a gap and relieve the strain.
For example, a VA can take on some Customer Service duties during peak periods, to cover planned leave or unexpected sickness. The more basic questions can be routed to them to let the team handle the complex requests, improving their efficiency.
Founders can benefit from using VAs to meet unanticipated needs, manage rapid growth, or ease burdens. Selective use of automation can prove useful, especially when you are frequently out of the office and don’t want to be entirely disconnected. Lastly, if you want to reduce the level of direct involvement with the business, using VAs can help.