How a Virtual Assistant Helps Businesses

Reading Time: 6 minutes

A Virtual Assistant is someone who ultimately improves productivity in your business. A good VA will relieve pressure, add value and improve workflow performance. Whether you hire a VA for part-time, full-time or to help out with a specific problem, the right VA is worth their weight in gold.  Saunders & Lee delve deep into the subject to help you understand how Virtual Assistants benefit businesses.

In simple terms, a VA is a highly-skilled professional who remotely provides administrative, technical and business support services to businesses.

Before we get into the reasons why a Virtual Assistant is a good idea for you, lets take a look at some statistics regarding business registrations in the UK. Over a 12 month period in the UK, up until 31 March 2016, there were a total of 611,372 company incorporations. In the same period, 399,736 companies were dissolved.

The average age of companies on the total register in 2015/2016 was 8.4 years. 

Since 2006, private limited companies have consistently accounted for over 96% of all corporate body types. During this time, the top three corporate body types of private limited companies, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited partnerships have remained unchanged, accounting each year for around 99% of all corporate bodies.

Total Registrations up until March 2016

Companies Registered in 2016 * Virtual Assistants UK

Why do so many Start-Up Businesses Fail?

Statistically, most businesses fail within the 1 – 4 years period in the UK. This clearly shows that start-ups, suffer from one, or more of the following:

  • Underfunding
  • Poor Budgeting
  • Lack of Market Knowledge
  • Passion Over Commercial Viability
  • Bad Management Decisions
  • Over Spending
  • Poor Cashflow

There are undoubtedly, many more reasons why businesses fail. It takes a shrewd business owner to make a business work and doing things right in the early days of a business, is key to it’s long term successes.

Look at the drop in UK company registrations beyond 1-4 years

Age of Company Registrations in UK * Virtual Assistant Post

Learning on the Job

As Business Owners, we can all look back and think “if only i knew then what I know now, i could have made so much more of that situation” … We learn, adapt and take on new skills in addition to the ones which put us in business in the first place, but is our time spent wisely …

A job worth doing is worth doing well

An old saying. One which suggests the one of charge of the job should do it right or not at all. The thing is, as a business owner, should we do the job ourselves or get someone else to do it for us but “will they do it as well I would” might cross your mind …

It’s tempting to take on all the easy jobs ourselves. Why pay someone else to do it, when we can do it ourselves. True, but is it time well spent?

Spending Wisely

Ultimately, we all outsource one way or another. Need someone to build a website for you? A common part of a start-up business and something invariably outsourced. Often a one off cost, but what about Website Marketing, Blog Writing, Pay Per Click Advertising, Directory Listings, Local SEO etc etc. Yes, we could take the time to learn it, but is it time well spent? Maybe, but often it’s not and it’s best outsourced.

Knowledge which grows over time

Businesses make mistakes. We all do. Over time, we improve our effectiveness and identify the best ways of working but a lending hand in those early days, can avoid many issues which reoccur time over time. If only start-up businesses took a helping hand in the early days, so many problems could be missed.

Why is a VA Important?

A professional Virtual Assistant not only reduces the time you spend on routine tasks which others can manage for you, but can impart knowledge and give advise on areas that you may be unaware of.

A VA works with many businesses and deals with many situations which gives an invaluable insight to how businesses work. If a VA has past experience in what works and what doesn’t, this is valuable to your business in it’s early days of setting up.

Tapping into the Knowledge of a VA

Need to know which CRM to use? or maybe, you are unsure whether to go for a classic accounts package or move into the cloud with newer online accounts systems, like Xero or Kashflow.

Rather than stepping into the unknown, ask your VA for guidance

An experienced Virtual Assistant will have knowledge of other companies and people who can assist you in key areas of your business.

  • Website Design, Hosting and Domain Names
  • Website Marketing
  • Setting up CRM
  • Setting up Accounts Systems
  • Which Accountants to Use
  • Brand Agencies
  • SEO
  • Copywriters / Bloggers
  • Data Entry / Analysts

One thing all business owners have in common, is passion. Without that, there is very little point in getting started but sometimes, that passion can hinder our progression as we make the wrong decisions.

It can be challenging to get away from work, even for a little while and we often, mistakenly, think we have to do it all ourselves. We wear a dozen different hats and exhaust ourselves in the process. However, to stay at the top of your game, it’s important to create time which is why many people are seeing the deeper value in hiring an Administrative Consultant to support their business as opposed to someone to whom they allocate one off tasks.

Optimise the hours in a working day

If you don’t have control of your day-to-day business admin, it can be a huge source of stress. When you’re working hard and focused on your work, disorganisation is a huge distraction. Taking time to get your files, projects and paperwork organised will save you from stress-induced burnout. But, if that doesn’t sound like much fun, hire a talented VA who will do this for you so you can focus on the fun, fee earning stuff.

Your VA will get to know how you work, anticipate how and when you need more support, streamline your processes, and free up your time. The result is you spend less time on the little bits and pieces that leave you feeling scattered and confused, and more time on the important tasks like taking care of your clients.

They’ll not only support you in your business but will share your vision, and work with you to create that vision.

Finding and Hiring a VA

It takes time to find the right VA and remember, you get what you pay for!

Before you begin your research, write down all the things which hinder your business. Write down what you can let go and discuss with you VA how you wish for these tasks to be managed.

Once you have your list, spend the next two weeks tracking your time against the items on your list because this gives you opportunity to conduct an informal cost analysis at a later date.

I think hiring a VA is like getting fitted for couture, if it doesn’t fit perfectly, you’ll be bitterly disappointed. But imagine having someone as excited as you are about your business, working alongside you every day. They’ll work on the things you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at, and they’ll constantly look for ways to help you run your business more efficiently and in a streamlined way that makes sense for you AND for your clients.

Benefits of a VA

At Saunders & Lee, we don’t focus on the tasks, we focus on you and your business. Our job is to see what’s costing you too much time and aggravation, what’s NOT working in your business and provide solutions. We want you to concentrate on the heart and soul of your business and not to sweat the small stuff. With the right VA in place you will have:

  • More time
  • More mental space
  • More energy
  • More focus
  • More balance

The magic isn’t in the task, it’s in the ongoing relationship. Because I work in partnership with you, you’ll get more done, make faster progress, and your life will become a whole lot easier. And the longer we work together the better it gets! In fact, without wishing to blow one’s trumpet too much, here are some comments I have received in the last 3 months:

Process Manual – This is amazing Louise! I am seriously impressed…

Thanks for keeping me sane during a nutty month (not that they aren’t all a bit mad : )

You really are excellent! Thank you.

If you’d like to have the time to send emails like this, get in touch, and we’ll have a chat about how 2017 can be different and better for you and your business.