Top Virtual Assistant Services A Small Business Owner Should Consider
Whether you are self-employed as a freelancer, owner of a small business or an entrepreneur, you have a general understanding of the concept of risk and reward. Basically, for every investment (financial, assets and time) risked in the “business”, you expect a positive reward in the future. Consequently, to help you lower your risks and increase your rewards, let’s discuss some top virtual assistant services a business owner should consider.
Before getting started, we should review some basics about virtual assistant services. Firstly, a virtual assistant is often an independent contractor who provides services to a business client(s) from a remote location. Secondly, the types of virtual assistant services that can be provided to a business is remarkably broad but can be categorized as administrative, creative and technical in nature.
The profile of the business client (age, size, resources, industry) is the primary determinant of which virtual assistant services offer the best investment risk versus potential return. Accordingly, a self-employed business owner and a small business owner with employees, while sharing similar business needs, have different sets of priorities and resources to achieve their business goals.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the small business owner with employees as our frame of reference. Correspondingly, for the self-employed business owner, many of our recommendations will also apply as the business matures.
Virtual Assistant Services
Virtual assistant services is not a new concept for business. Rather, they have been previously described as subcontracting or business outsourcing services. So, why the change in terminology?
There are a variety of factors that have led to this change in describing outsourcing services. Basically it is more marketing and perception.
Following are several factors for the increased use by small businesses of virtual assistant services:
- The evolution of Internet tools and services that allow for extending a business workforce to remote locations.
- Governmental regulations that incentivize business owners to NOT hire permanent employees.
- Global competition where labor arbitrage is a significant component in a business’ cost model.
- Consumer increasing acceptance of business services being provided by offshore third-party vendors.
- Stagnant economic growth resulting in more “downsizing” and unemployment, stimulating growth in self-employment and small business start-ups.
- The accelerated transition from manufacturing to service economies in industrialized economies.
Regardless of how they are marketed, the use of virtual assistant services will continue to grow. As a result, let’s take a look at which top virtual assistant services are best suited to a variety of business examples.
1 – Administrative Virtual Assistant Services
An administrative virtual assistant provides general business administrative services from a remote location (next town, state, nearshore, offshore) to business owners in the Americas. Basically, the administrative virtual assistant is a generalist and does a little bit of everything in the office. Consequently this helps lighten your activity load and run your business more efficiently.
Here are a variety of tasks an administrative virtual assistant can perform for your business. Obviously, as the business owner, you will need to define the priorities of what will provide the greatest reward (bang for the buck) for your business:
- Respond to emails and phone calls
- Schedule meetings on your behalf
- Book travel and accommodations
- Manage a contact list
- Prepare customer spreadsheets and records
- Organize calendars
- Ensure regular bill payments
- Address employees administrative queries
- Provide basic customer service contact
A business owner understands that general administrative tasks take a lot of time from his/her schedule. Hence, reducing these tasks allows you to focus your limited time on your primary work activities. As a result you can increase your business growth and revenue.
The smaller the business, the more likely this should initially be your top virtual assistant services to consider. Because of your limited ability to delegate, your productivity, skills, and focus are of critical importance to the success of your business development and growth.
Successful business owners save their limited time by outsourcing less important tasks to administrative virtual assistants. Obviously it is just a smart business decision.
2 – Research Virtual Assistant Services
A research virtual assistant also provides investigative online services from a remote location to business owners in the Americas. Basically, the research virtual assistant is a specialist, not a generalist. He/she provides online information investigation, mining and analysis services to supplement your business development. Consequently this helps improve the productivity of your management, and personnel with the responsibility of the growth and development of your company.
Here are a variety of tasks a research virtual assistant can perform for your business. Accordingly the business owner will need to define the priorities of research that will provide the greatest reward for the business:
- Generate marketing and sales information lists from online sources via data mining
- Contact data sources when incomplete or inconsistent
- Process data records based on customer filters
- Enter prospect data records into customer CRM or cloud shared system, if needed
- Deliver data lists to customer at completion
A business owner understands that investigative tasks related to markets, competition and business prospects takes a lot of time from his/her internal staff. Hence, reducing these investigative tasks allows them to focus on converting information to new business opportunities. As a result you can increase your new sales conversions resulting in business growth and revenue.
Successful business owners can use their more experienced and expensive sales personnel for sales opportunities, by outsourcing investigative and data mining activities to research virtual assistants. However, the associated costs of a research virtual assistant need to be offset by the increased productivity and revenue generated by the business development staff of the company.
3 – Lead Generation Virtual Assistant Services
A lead generation virtual assistant provides sales prospecting services from a remote location to business owners in the Americas. Basically, the lead generation virtual assistant provides the “front-end” sales prospecting to supplement and streamline your business sales development. Consequently this helps improve the productivity of your internal sales personnel, allowing them to increase new client sales conversions.
Here are a variety of tasks a lead generation virtual assistant can perform for your business. Of course the business owner will need to define the priorities of lead generation that will provide the greatest reward for the business:
Lead Generation Tasks
- Generate sales prospect lists from online sources, as needed
- Provide customer with telephone script feedback and adjustments
- Contact sales prospects using automated telephone systems
- Process sales prospects based on customer lead filters
- Enter sales prospects in customer CRM or cloud shared system
- Coordinate sales prospects with customer internal sales personnel
- Deliver sales prospect lists to customer at completion
A business owner understands that sales prospecting tasks take a lot of time from his/her internal sales staff. Hence, reducing these sales prospecting tasks allows them to focus on pre-qualified sales opportunities. As a result you can increase your sales conversions resulting in more sales and revenue.
Successful business owners focus their more experienced and expensive sales personnel (the “closers”) on pre-qualified sales opportunities to maximize their return on investment. Consequently, by outsourcing preliminary sales prospecting to lead generation virtual assistants (the “fronters”), the business owner leverages that investment.
So, since business growth is all about new and existing sales, this should be a straightforward business decision. Also, this is a type of investment usually easy to measure and justify by evaluating the increase in sales conversions and additional revenue.
4 – Social Media Virtual Assistant Services
A social media virtual assistant provides administrative social media services from a remote location to business owners in the Americas. Basically, the social media virtual assistant provides the maintenance, monitoring and communication of the business’ online social media platforms.
Here are a variety of tasks a social media virtual assistant can perform for your business. Of course the business owner will need to define the priorities of social media activities that will provide the greatest reward for the business:
Social Media Tasks
- Creating and updating profiles on different social media channels
- Researching and updating content on social channels
- Scheduling posts using social media management tools
- Engaging and building audiences on different social media channels
- Measuring analytics to gauge engagement on different social channels
- Reviewing the activities of the customer’s competitors
- Administering social media campaigns
- Promoting the customer’s business on various social media platforms
Since social media platforms are notoriously time and labor intensive, a business owner can delegate routine tasks and save significant time to focus on more important matters. Furthermore, social media platforms are difficult to quantify in terms of business return on investment. Finally a social media virtual assistant helps a business track its “social media plan” which requires structure, commitment and analytics to evaluate results.
A business owner understands that social media tasks take a lot of time from someone activities on his/her staff. Hence, outsourcing these tasks allows greater focus on the results of social media that can produce new sales opportunities. Consequently you can justify your investment in social media resulting in business growth and revenue.
However not all businesses view social media as a key marketing activity for their success and is difficult to measure the return on investment for the resources invested. Notwithstanding, if the business does view social media as important, then it should use outsourcing to a social media virtual assistant to allow their more expensive personnel to focus on more productive business opportunities. In summary, if it needs to be done, and done well, then definitely use a social media virtual assistant.
The profile of a business (age, size, resources, industry) is the primary determinant of which virtual assistant services offer the best investment risk versus potential return. Also, whether due to necessity, growth or competition, using small business outsourcing (virtual assistant services) should be part of your business model. Finally, adopting virtual assistant services can be done in distinct stages, allowing the business owner to gain valuable experience, reduce risks while learning to productively manage a remote work group.
Please call us at (888) 339-6699 to discuss how our nearshore virtual assistant services will serve your business needs or Contact Us.