As any small business owner and entrepreneur can attest, starting and growing a business can be both stressful and demanding – on both the owner and the business’ budget.
Every business owner has their own reason for starting a business but ultimately it boils down to one thing: we are good at what we do and want to be able to share that with the community.
Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as only doing only what you love to do. Running a small business is fraught with paperwork, legislation, accounting, marketing, and a barrage of other bits and pieces that unwittingly turns you into a sort of ‘jack of all trades’.
The volume of work to be done has come to a point where it seems to outweigh hours in the day. It’s time to bring another staff member on board – but the budget is begging for mercy.
That’s where a virtual assistant comes in!
A Virtual Assistant is a cost-effective way of outsourcing the administrative tasks and projects that you’d rather set aside so that you can focus on what is most important to you. And yet, there’s so much more to it than that!
Here are a heap of benefits that a virtual assistant can offer:
- Save Money
You’ve reached a point where you know you need to take on an employee to help you out. You’ve decided the award wages seem achievable within your budget, but do the costs end there?
On top of the wage you will pay, even just for occasional casual assistance, there is:
- Payroll tax
- Superannuation contribution
- Sick and Annual Leave with leave loading – if the employee is part time or full time, you’ll be paying for days they aren’t even there
- Addition of, or potential increase of, business and workers compensation insurances
- Equipment – your new staff member will need a desk, chair, a computer and accessories, a printer, a phone and even own phone line if required, a printer … well, you get the picture.
- Overheads – will you need a bigger office? What about things like increased electricity and telephone usage?
When you pay a virtual assistant, you pay a tax invoice. That’s it, nothing more complex. The equipment? They have their own. The insurance? They have their own. The overheads? Sorted!
Put simply – the effect that a virtual assistant will have on your profit margin could be considerably less.
- Anywhere, Anytime
Technology is a wonderful thing. The internet and laptops have truly given businesses wheels and a whole lot of freedom! It’s also opened up the wider small business world to include rural, regional and remote areas.
A virtual assistant isn’t bound to your office, nor even the same town or state as you. They have the flexibility to find ways to be creative with their time to ensure their clients get the most out of them.
I’ll give you a comparative scenario. This is one that I’ve been on both sides of in rural communities and is a prime example of the flexibility of virtual assistance:
The In-House Admin Scenario
Your in-house administration assistant needs to travel to a regional centre to get their car serviced, it’s unavoidable. This means that you lose a staff member for the day, but still need to pay them if they are a full time or part time staff member.
The Virtual Assistant Scenario
Your virtual assistant needs to go to a regional centre to get their car serviced, it’s unavoidable. They have said they can take their laptop with them, sit quietly in a café, and work on that task they promised you.
Not to say that a virtual assistant won’t take a holiday, we all need one sometimes! I’m simply saying virtual assistance is an incredibly FLEXIBLE option for your business.
- More Productivity, Less Stress
It’s simple: you hand over the tasks that are boring, time consuming, and lower priority to you. The virtual assistant does them for you! Meanwhile, you’re happily working away on the things that will actually boost your profit margin and bring you more professional satisfaction.
It can help gain time with the family, too!
- Professional Assistance, Not Guess Work
I’m not saying that administration work is especially difficult, but everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. You’ll find that virtual assistants are backed by quite a number of years administrative experience, whether across a variety of industries or with a more specialised focus.
Admin is their thing – they can help you get it done and get it done right!
- Collaborative Input
Virtual assistants are more than secretaries, they’re repositories of experience and knowledge about business administration and workplaces. They have the knowledge to advise and help you set up administrative policies, practices and documentation for your workplace so that you are prepared for the day you do bring on a new employee.
You don’t need to hire a virtual assistant for long term work if you don’t want to. They can be hired for special short-term projects or overflow work when your other staff are snowed under.
- They Can Focus On The Task At Hand
In a standard work environment, administration can be unpredictable. The quality of work can be affected by constant phone interruptions, time constraints, and conflicting deadlines.
A virtual assistant is in control of their workload and planning. Clients requiring urgent deadlines will always happen, however the virtual assistant knows what they can and cannot do. They will structure their weekly plan and set aside specific days or times toward each task and will then focus solely on that.
The benefit to you: increased quality of work, productivity, and efficiency.
Particularly in smaller towns, options for employees can sometimes be a struggle. Virtual Assistance essentially opens up a world of options to you.
On the other side of the coin, I know that hiring local can be a very important ethical choice of small-town businesses. A virtual assistant can be a great stop-gap in the meantime, help you set up your processes in readiness, and even help handle overflow!
Dani Logan is Founder and Virtual Assistant at Pocket Admin, with 20+ years experience in administration across a broad range of industries. Pocket Admin provides a wide range of administrative services to small businesses, sole traders, entrepreneurs, and individuals.