When is Virtual Assistance the Answer?

small business virtual asistantFor most people, starting their own business can be a liberating feeling – no boss, no employees, no imposed deadlines.  And many small business owners live by the motto “if you want something done right, you do it yourself.”  While doing it yourself may feel like the way to do it “right”, it often is the wrong way to run and build a business. 

Virtual assistance is often the best way to get targeted, cost-effective help. Hire only the services you need for everything from web design to bookkeeping to social media marketing through online outsourcing services like Elance and Odesk. And since these services bring together vendors from all over the world, you can also have tasks done overnight so have what you need first thing in the morning.

You Probably Will Need Help Sooner Than You Think

Even a fledgling business requires that a wide range of functions be performed on a regular basis: products or services need to be created; customers need to be serviced; books need to be kept; strategy needs to be planned; new business needs to be developed; and markets need to be developed.  When one person tries to handle all of these functions, the business can resemble a circus act of spinning plates.  And when one of those plates crashes, the business is set back, costing it valuable time and resources to get it spinning again.

Reaching Critical Mass

From the moment a business is launched, business owners strive to reach a critical mass where the activities of the business become sufficient to sustain its growth and development on its own without any further start-up investment.  For many businesses, before this critical mass can be achieved there is a point where the actions of an over-stretched business owner start producing decreased returns on the time, money and effort expended.   Before reaching this point, it’s important to find the assistance you need to build enough momentum to crest the hill.

Do the Math

Sure, you can probably do the books better than anyone else, but why would you want to?  If your business is projected to generate $200,000 in profits, which represents your income, that would mean the time you spend on bookkeeping is costing you and the business as much as $100 per hour.  Virtual bookkeepers, with solid experience, can be hired for less than $20 per hour.  Does doing it yourself really make financial sense?

Or maybe you spent a lot of time creating a web presence for your business and in order to optimize the site for maximum exposure and traffic you continue to tinker with it.  In truth, in order to reach critical mass with your web activities, your site probably needs an SEO expert, not someone who is learning about it.  Expertise is easy to find at a highly competitive price with a service like Elance, so redirect your time to the activities that make financial sense for your business not those that can be outsourced cost-effectively.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Primary Objective

A business owner is often the salesperson-in-chief and sales are the lifeblood of any business.  Effective selling requires constant care and monitoring in order to keep your sales channel full and to turn prospects into customers, so time that is taken away from sales activities can be very costly. If a business owner is distracted with non-selling activities such as administration or customer service, sales will definitely suffer at some point — that means revenue will drop and along with that, profits. Since many, if not most, non-selling and administrative activities can be outsourced to a virtual assistant, wouldn’t it make more sense to free up your time for concentrating on sales instead?

Virtual Assistance Can Build a Business

When existing resources produce diminishing returns or delay revenues, business growth will be stifled and this will jeopardize your business’ chances for success.  Look critically at whether or not it makes sense to leverage other people’s work in order to build your business. The best use of your time and money may well be to find the right outsourced talent to help you build your business right now. Use a resource such as Elance to find the help you need; you’ll have the flexibility of using outside contractors, easily competitively bidding the work and avoiding additional overhead costs for space or equipment.

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