“Hire a Virtual Assistant”. Those simple words can make a small business owner ecstatic or crazy (even crazier then they already are) — all depending on their experience with this increasingly popular administrative help. However, once a small business owner realizes the value that a VA can bring to their business, it all becomes so much more clearer.
Here are just a few signs that a VA might be a productivity enhancer for your small business.
- You’ve missed a deadline and lost a huge account.
- You’re not on top of business development because you have no up-to-date client and prospect database.
- You have exciting work projects you would like to take on but always seem to be too tied up with the day-to-day running of your business to get to them.
- You work nights and weekends to keep up with routine administrative tasks.
- You have routine work items that you don’t like doing which take time away from other more creative and important tasks.
If any OR all of these points relate to you, then read on to learn the best practices for bringing a VA on board to your small business.
1. Discover the routine tasks you dislike doing. During the next week, keep a log of all your activities. At the end of the week, sit down and review the list and determine which activities you need to do yourself, and which you could delegate to a VA. For example: uploading a week’s worth of pre-written tweets, physically posting your weekly blog, following up on invoices, etc. Those are perfect projects to give to a VA.
2. Screen the candidates for compatibility and professionalism. Now that you have come up with some candidates the next step is to do some research, first by reviewing their websites and secondly by conducting a phone interview.
3. Schedule an interview and focus on the following questions:
• Do you have experience in handling (insert task you want done)?
• What are your hours (times, days) of operation?
• What are your fees? Do you bill hourly, by project or on retainer?
• Do you have the time availability in your schedule to take on my project?
• How quickly will you get back to me when I email or call you?
• Do you have a team to support you? If yes, will I be working directly with you, or will I occasionally work with other members of your team?
• What services do you provide (and what services don’t you provide)?
• Can you give me an overview of how you work with clients?
• How long have you been in business?
• Are you in full-time or part-time practice?
If they pass the interview, ask for and contact at least two references.
4. Start small. Once you have done your due diligence and found the VA you think might be the delegation partner of your dreams, start with a small project as a way to test your theory. Let the VA know up front that you’re beginning with a trial project to see how things go.
5. Relax and start to truly focus on your business, while your VA does the same!