Have you ever had the feeling (as you slog away in your business) that “other people” seem to have discovered the magical secret to successful startup growth?
You work hard every day, you see results in your business, but growth isn’t as great as you’d like. Meanwhile, some new kid on the block seems to be enjoying a growth explosion – you’re left wondering, what do they do differently?
The good news? Assuming you have a great business plan solving an in-demand problem, the secret to company growth isn’t really a secret at all.
If you want to know how to succeed in business, then the first step is to admit that you need help.
You need to make an honest assessment of how your time is spent and determine what gets you the most bang for your buck. The daily minutiae that eats up chunks of your time? You need a virtual assistant to take care of that for you…
Outsourcing may be the key to business success.
Why outsource to a virtual assistant?
The results of Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey show that more than 50% of companies are now outsourcing anything from IT to marketing, HR, and administrative tasks. Why the move to outsourcing? The study shows that it has evolved to be about much more than saving costs – service providers are viewed as key business enablers and are possibly the secret weapon to sales growth.
Startups are finding that hiring a virtual assistant brings new efficiencies to their business that were not possible before, giving them a solid basis from which to grow. It makes good sense – how many tasks do you do yourself which need to be done, but may not be the best use of your own time? How many important things get postponed or fall through the cracks because you’re simply not able to do it all?
Outsourcing to a virtual assistant is simply a good business management practice as it frees you up to further develop and improve your business growth strategies.
Here is how to succeed in business with a virtual assistant and what they can do to help you with your startup company growth:
Virtual assistants help you to maximize your resources
For many startups, you find that you’re in a situation where you’re “rich in ideas, poor in resources.” You have limited time, money, and people power to get ideas off the ground which could really help you grow your business.
While a larger, more established company might look at that problem and throw some money at it, you’re not yet in a position to do so and need to make sensible choices (and implement an effective business strategy) that make the most of the dollars and resources you have available.
Virtual assistants can bring an excellent cost efficiency to your business. You’re not paying for their office space and you don’t need to pay out employee benefits as they are independently contracted. Huge cost savings can be made when you look to offshore virtual assistants who are paid in their local currency.
VAs can take care of the nitty gritty
If you’re like many startups, it’s the stuff that you just can’t get done which starts to drive you nuts. You’re busy, busy, busy, yet you feel like important tasks are falling by the wayside – emails unanswered, your social media neglected, that awesome CRM tool you bought is sitting unused because you just haven’t had the time to learn and set it up properly.
It’s typical in startups for people to be taking care of a few tasks which fall outside of their core role or cannot neatly fit under the umbrella of any of their full-time roles. Sometimes this creates issues with focus and managing workload. Instead of lending their time to strategizing and business building, startup entrepreneurs often try to catch up on unfinished admin tasks.
They bring the skills
Hiring and training internally are huge time-sinks for any business. As a startup, you’re often in a “lean and mean” phase – if you’re going to have to spend time on training, that’s time that you’re probably taking away from other crucial activities, such as business development.
Good virtual assistants can be found who already come with the skills you need to tackle the specific tasks for your business. (Hiring and training of virtual assistants are just two of the benefits of The Virtual Hub – check out our process here).
Just to quickly debunk a common myth – virtual assistants don’t just take care of basic or low-skill tasks. There are plenty out there who are highly skilled and very talented. These are problem-solvers, process wizards, and organization experts, all definite assets to great success in a business.
They keep customer service humming
In today’s highly connected world, customer expectations are high. Survey results show that omnichannel customers now expect response times from companies to be faster than ever. On social media, 47% expect a response time within an hour and 84% expect that a response should take no longer than a day. Expectations are similar when it comes to responding to emails and it’s clear that prevalent use of mobile and social media have fired up these expectations.
How well does your company respond? Have you ever lost a customer or had to fix a situation due to slow response time?
This is another powerful way that virtual assistants help grow your business – they can become your eyes and ears and keep you connected with your customers. In a 24/7 world, you may even find that a virtual assistant based in a different timezone helps you to maintain quick response times no matter where the customer is based. No company likes to lose customers, especially startups aiming for company growth. In short, virtual assistants can help you look good and retain clients. Having happy and satisfied clients, after all, contributes to business success.
They help businesses to scale
What does it take to be able to scale a startup and grow your business? You need to do something successfully, then prove that the whole thing is repeatable. This is where virtual assistants can step in to help.
Repeatable success needs a clear process. Scaling up means that the process can be repeated and expanded. For example, how do you go from generating 50 leads to 500? To get to this point, you’re going to need very clear processes and documentation to record those processes.
Virtual assistants can be process masters – they map out, document, and build plans to help the company reach a scalable position and achieve business development and sales growth.
What about ROI?
The ROI of hiring a virtual assistant is a common question for business owners. Does it really pay to hire someone virtually rather than bringing onboard a new internal hire?
First, there’s the obvious – how much will a new full-time employee cost you to hire? How much time will you need to spend with onboarding and training? For startups, the budget is often stretched when it comes to staffing and a VA can end up doing the same work for much less cost outlay.
Second, look at the possible productivity gains that a VA can bring to your business. We’ve outlined some above, but there are plenty of other examples we could get into. VAs allow you to focus on core functions and business strategy, improve your service quality, and solve any capability issues. Of course, an internal hire can help you in these areas too, but then you’ll be dealing with the whole HR side, including benefits and legal requirements for employment within your region.
Third, there’s no reason why a VA can’t become a successful fixture on your team anyway. Companies are often concerned with keeping employees for the long-term and worry that hiring a VA inherently means they’ll be temporary and that they’ll end up having to onboard someone else (using more resources). We know VAs who have worked for the same client for years, happy to have a secure position. They become integral team members and strategic partners, which are keys to success in business.
A common objection is that companies may not feel comfortable that they’re able to find an appropriate hire and trust them with the tasks of their company. They might feel that it’s easier to make hiring decisions face-to-face rather than risk wasting resources on a poor fit.
Sure, it’s possible to come across a few bad eggs, but the truth is that people like this will never last long in the business. You can do background checks much as you would for internal hires on their past work and references.
If this sounds like more work than you have time for, there is another solution. Here at The Virtual Hub, we take care of recruiting, training, and the HR side of managing VAs. We match them appropriately with clients and have a quality assurance system to keep a check on their work. You get someone who is already primed to work with your company. This process has led to great success with clients.
Is your startup ready for a VA?
If you’re frantically trying to get too many things done, seeing tasks fall through the cracks, or wondering how to succeed in business or how you can scale the success your business has had, a virtual assistant just might be your new secret weapon.
Startups are using VAs to not only fill gaps in their capability, but to help them develop business strategy and stay connected with customers.
The secret to success isn’t really a secret at all – if it doesn’t make sense to hire a full-time employee but you need help to take your business to the next level, a virtual assistant could be the best hire you make. To learn more about virtual assistants, make sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants. This is the best guide that you can find on the web that answers all your burning questions about virtual assistants and give you the details on every aspect of what a virtual assistant does.