It’s Friday, and like the majority of employees you should be looking forward to a couple of days having fun with family and friends. You’re not like the majority of employees though are you? You run your own business and while others are out in the park, at the cinema or favourite Italian you have your expenses to sort out, the bookkeeping to catch up on, that presentation won’t do itself and don’t forget you have to sort the paperwork for the German exhibition.
It doesn’t have to be that way
Entrepreneurs can use virtual assistants for everything from making sales or customer service calls to sending out thank you cards to prospective clients. Consider a virtual assistant as a member of your team who happens to work remotely.
Here are 9 ways that using a virtual pa could give you enough time to start putting the fun back into your weekends.
Finance: Keeping tabs on bills and other bookkeeping matters is probably one of the easiest things to outsource to a virtual assistant, says Kathy Colaiacovo, marketing director for the International Virtual Assistants Association. Many small businesses choose to share their bookkeeping systems with their virtual assistants who can then follow up on tasks such as outstanding invoices or unpaid bills.
Research: No excuse for not knowing the competitors or potential customers. You can easily farm out Internet research to virtual assistants. Common requests include finding information on corporate websites, exploring new products and vetting potential employees or business contacts. Using the right Virtual PA you can even get them to conduct targeted market research on your behalf.
Database entries: Whether you have collected a number of new business cards picked up at a trade exhibition or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases current is a suitable task for virtual assistants who can provide the important and necessary follow up.
Presentations: Turning raw data into a clear PowerPoint presentations or summarising research findings in a Word document can be a real timesaver.
Transcription: If you are in a business where you are on the road a great deal or have to take numerous notes you probably have to use a recording device which then has to be replayed or downloaded and typed up. Wouldn’t it make sense to hand it over to experts while you get on with more important tasks?
Social tasks: Virtual assistants can handle time consuming tasks such as networking follow ups or sending thank you notes. This leaves you free to concentrate on what you do best – running and developing your business.
Travel: Virtual assistants are a great resource for finding hotels, booking airfares and mapping out travel itineraries both for business and pleasure. They can also deal with the time consuming hassle of navigating time zones when booking or researching international travel options by phone.
Meetings: The scheduling tools that are available online mean that a virtual assistant can manage the calendars of many clients. These include dealing with meeting invitations from others, scheduling appointments with clients and helping to plan events, booking venues, minute taking and distribution.
Industry knowledge: A small business can use a virtual assistant to help them keep up speed with developments in the industry. Their input will enable you to update your Twitter feed or write about interesting developments in conversation with customers and prospects
All the individual items listed here can have an important effect on the time you can spend on your business. They are all tasks that need doing but do they need to be done by you personally when a little planning and well prepared briefs can free up your time to spend with the family and friends.
David has worked in advertising and marketing services for 30 years both client and agency side. Having worked with local, national and muliti-national clients, he set up DLH Marketing to help small organisations, owner managed businesses and those organisations without in-house marketing.