‘An evolving outsourcing trend’ is what best describes this transition, in how entrepreneurs choose to delegate their work.
There were an estimated 3.9 million administrative secretaries in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. This doesn’t distinguish between the people working out of a physical office, and the ever-growing population working for businesses over the internet.
Surely, VA’s are quickly replacing secretaries and in-office personnel. This shift is majorly being implemented by SMEs and individual entrepreneurs to ease their daily workload. A virtual assistant can be a freelancer or part of a business organization that provides virtual assistance services.
Operating from a remote location, this virtual assistant may be your accountant or even someone you trust to devise future marketing strategies for your company. At the same time your virtual assistant can take care of all the administrative tasks an in-house secretary would traditionally handle like data management, back office operations, managing your e-mails and so much more.
A virtual assistant can be an extra family member in your household making your life at home a tad bit easier, and simultaneously be a dependable employee at your workplace. They are flexible enough to adapt into so many roles, and would still be largely inexpensive when compared to hiring in-house staff. Needless to say, cost-efficiency is one among the many reasons why many entrepreneurs prefer them over traditional assistants.
An increasing number of people are placing their bet on hiring a virtual workforce to accelerate their business growth. Let’s analyze some of the key advantages and disadvantages involved in hiring a virtual assistant:
• Client Interaction: In a 24/7 business world, being responsive to your customer base, and having an active social media presence are two very crucial tasks. Having a dedicated VA to monitor your digital presence, and respond to customers effectively, helps entrepreneurs stay on top of both these priorities.
• A mobile office: One of the primary benefits of hiring a virtual assistant for entrepreneurs, there is no dependency of a physical office. The ability to work from any location benefits businesses who hire them, as they do not need to pay for office space, an internet connection, equipment, or other essentials.
• Increased productivity: Businesses hiring a VA, have reported a noticeable projection in the productivity of work being completed. Essentially being billed in real-time at an hourly rate, and paying for only the tasks being assigned to a VA enables this further.
• Access to a talent pool: Virtual Assistance providing businesses utilize their resources to hire the prime applicants only. These professionals are specialists in their own specific fields, and are trained to adapt quickly to any sort of task. This proves to be an added advantage for entrepreneurs as they can tap into the abilities of an entire team of professionals.
• Zero overhead costs: Companies making use of virtual assistants, benefit from low operating costs. Not having to pay for infrastructure, medical and employee benefits makes hiring one extremely economical for growing businesses. This becomes a more crucial factor for entrepreneurs who run their business as a one-man operation. For them, hiring a virtual assistance company to support day-to-day operations is a blessing in disguise. Having a steady and reliable team in place to take care of mundane tasks frees up crucial time for them to focus on core business activities, or simply relax for a bit.
• Reliability: Dependability is certainly an issue in the VA industry. But, it goes both ways because a freelancer can stop working for a certain company at any given time. The organization can also choose to terminate the services of a freelancer. By engaging with a professional VA firm, you always have a person (team) to back up your primary assistant. This dependability is crucial for entrepreneurs and SMEs to stay focused on business developmental activities rather than focusing on searching for another employee and train them.
• Interaction with Employers: One of the most challenging factors of delegating work to a VA is the lack of personal interaction. To bridge this gap, a system to streamline communication between businesses and VA’s is vital. But with an ever expanding mobile industry, it’s getting relatively easier for VA’s to stay connected to their clients or employers through e-mails, apps e.g. Whatsapp, Skype and project management programs e.g. Trello, Asana and Quire.
The transition for entrepreneurs to consider adopting the approach to virtual assistance may be slow. Although hiring a VA is definitely a smart decision to make as a business owner at the present time. Businesses willing to take the risk are already reaping the rewards, because the advantages of having a VA at your disposal make the obstacles seem trivial.