Running your own business? Not enough hours in the day to complete all the admin tasks on your desk, plus actually get some business through the door? Wondering if you’ve even made the right decision to start up on your own? Thinking that it might be time to draw up a virtual assistant task list to help you manage things?
That’s not unusual. Small business owners have to cover everything from finance to marketing, and that can take precious hours out of your days, evenings and weekends.
What you need is the opportunity to outsource the tasks that take up too much of your time, and give yourself the hours back to concentrate on building your business. This will give you the best of both worlds – everything that needs to be done for your business to operate successfully will be done, and you’ll be able to focus on the things that matter to you.
If this is you, it looks like you might need a personal virtual assistant. This is someone who can take tasks off your hands, manage a range of administrative, finance and marketing duties and who is affordable to use, because they are not an employee – they are a dedicated resource you can budget for.
Here, we’ll explore nearly 30 key tasks that you can safely and confidently outsource to free up your valuable time and put your business in a stronger position.
What’s a virtual assistant?
One of the problems with growing your business is becoming an employer. It is expensive to recruit, and requires you to meet a wide range of legal responsibilities. It also costs you money in overheads, including office space, equipment and training. And, of course, when your new employee moves on, you have to start all over again.
For most administrative tasks, outsourcing to a virtual assistant is a cost-effective and professional option. They work as part of your team, they understand your business and how they can support it, and they already have the skills to get straight onto the job.
In fact, if you talk to many other small business owners, you’ll find they are already using this type of resource. They may use bookkeeping virtual assistant services, or have help with social media management. Virtual assistant services can take on these roles and many more – here’s our handy checklist of all the things you could outsource – starting today.
‘Admin’ comes in all shapes and sizes, and whatever it is, it’s often time-consuming. A virtual assistant can work faster and more accurately than you do, helping you to complete tasks quickly and reliably.
- Supplier management – instead of getting on the phone or email to chase suppliers, sort out contracts and manage deliveries, why not get someone else to do it for you? A good virtual assistant will build relationships with your suppliers, helping you to keep things moving.
- Data entry – outsourced services are invaluable when it comes to managing your CRM, databases, spreadsheets and more. You’ll soon get into a routine that means your files are up to date, helping you to work smarter.
- Telephone answering – virtual assistant phone answering is an absolute must for any business. It means calls are never missed when you’re out and about, and your business automatically gives a great first impression. You can also include voicemail checking, to make sure you never miss an opportunity.
Traditional PA services
If you’ve come from a corporate background, you’ll have worked with professional PAs who help to manage a range of critical tasks that keep the business moving. Virtual PA solutions do exactly the same job, but without the stress and responsibility of employment.
- Diary management – busy business owners often get into diary trouble. Working with someone to manage your diary means you can be confident that appointments are properly booked, and that you still have the time set aside for key tasks, strategy and planning and personal time.
- Email management – there’s nothing worse than coming back to the office after a day with customers and seeing an overloaded inbox. A virtual assistant will manage that inbox for you, clearing out unnecessary emails, ordering important ones, and even replying to agreed emails for you.
- Meeting organisation – some of your meetings will require a bit of preparation. That might be researching a potential client and business, or it might be putting together some presentation slides. It can also include booking rooms, organising equipment and generally making sure everything is ready for you to pitch your business. An assistant can also take notes during virtual meetings to help you stay ahead of the game.
- Secretarial services – this covers most other general admin, and helps you to focus on your key tasks, knowing that all your admin is taken care of. This can include file management and conversion, generating online forms, letters and templates, audio and video transcriptions and checking documents for errors.
- HR tasks – if you are hiring in other areas, you can use your virtual resource to put together onboarding documents and organising interviews, right to work checks and other standard HR tasks.
Many small business owners don’t have financial experience. And yet, managing your finances is one of the keys to business success. It can take hours, though, just to manage your monthly invoicing, or to make sure your books are up to date. And if you’re not confident about managing the numbers, you’re likely to put off these tasks – which isn’t advisable.
- Bookkeeping and invoicing – it’s critical to invoice as soon as you can, as this is what brings cash into your business. Slow invoicing makes your finances trickier. So it’s worth having someone who can manage this for you. Similarly, good bookkeeping is an essential practice, and a bookkeeper will be able to keep your finances in good order, which in turn helps with your legal requirements for financial and tax reporting.
- Credit control – just as important as invoicing is making sure you get paid. No one likes to chase for payment, but it’s essential that small businesses have cash coming in. So having someone who can manage this for your professionally and efficiently is a real bonus. Your support can also pay online bills, helping you to keep that cash flow healthy.
- Expenses – you’ll need to manage all your expenses, and those of anyone else you employ, so that tax returns and financial management are accurate. Again, this is time-consuming to do yourself, so why not let someone else handle it for you?
- Spreadsheets and graphs – to help you make good financial presentations and to understand your data, talk to a VA about creating spreadsheets, graphs and presentations from info you supply.
Marketing is a huge part of building a successful business. Having a targeted marketing strategy is one thing – putting it into practice is another. From managing your website to keeping your marketing databases up to date, this is an area where a virtual assistant can bring real value. Key tasks included here are:
- Market research
- Social media management – across all the platforms you use, including sourcing images, scheduling posts, researching hashtags, repurposing content, checking notifications, creating and promoting events and updating general details. It may also include finding and working with influencers who can help to promote the business.
- Email marketing management – from promotional emails to creating automated responses, you can get help with writing, designing, scheduling, analysing and managing subscriber lists for email campaigns.
- Content writing and support – this includes researching topics, creating marketing materials, proofreading and editing, and responding to comments. It also includes other content such as infographics and video.
- General website management – uploading blogs and other content, editing pages and adding images. Your virtual assistant can also check for errors and be the contact for your hosting or development supplier.
- Ecommerce website management – adding new products, updating prices, loading offers and discounts and replying to queries.
- Updating your CRM or marketing database
Similarly, getting your business known will result in enquiries. Depending on the type of business you run, you may need to arrange a meeting, give a presentation, or organise a demonstration. You may also need to deal with various customer service issues. If this is already feeling like a burden, it may be time to outsource some of these tasks.
- Appointment setting
- Lead generation
- Proposals and quotations
- Sales follow-up calls
- Customer service calls
- Customer service online/email response
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Sales database management
Events and travel
If you need to travel either within your country or overseas for business, you’ll need support booking everything, sorting an itinerary and organizing events or meetings while you’re there. It’s also incredibly useful to have someone who knows your arrangements and can change or manage things for you if they go wrong.
- Event planning – either putting on your own events to help attract new customers to your business, or exhibiting and attending external events to promote your business and meet new contacts.
- Travel support – ticket and hotel booking, transport planning, car hire and itinerary preparation.
Ready to find out more?
If outsourcing even one of these business tasks would make your life easier, why not talk to us? We can help you to put together a virtual assistant task list that works for your business and your budget, working with you to help free up your time for the things that matter most to you.
Feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.
- Working with a reliable virtual assistant to build a robust business
- Top ten tasks to outsource for small business and entrepreneurs
- Stressed about your business? How virtual assistant outsourcing can help.