Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to make things run more smoothly and efficiently for your small business could end up being one of the best business decisions you’ve made in recent history. But this isn’t an arrangement that you want to rush into. It’s important to walk yourself through the preliminary considerations before you begin looking for a VA to bring on board.
- What Are Your Objectives?
As with any outsourced task, you run the risk of wasting your money if you don’t have clear objectives in place. Ask yourself what your precise objectives are for the VA, and then make sure that you have enough work lined up to keep that person busy for the time they’re allotting to your business.
This begins with knowing what it is you would like your virtual assistant to do. Entrepreneur recommends outsourcing any and all of the following to a VA:
- Online research
- Database entries
- Data presentations
- Email management
- Social tasks
- Travel Research
- Chasing business
- Industry knowledge prep
Of course, not all virtual assistants are going to specialise in all of the above areas. But if you look at the services that we advertise on our website, you’ll see that we routinely handle many of the above. We also go beyond the above list to offer SEO-related services, social media management and even recruitment.
To help determine precisely what it is that you could use assistance with, make a point of remaining conscious of the tasks you complete in a given day – pausing to jot down those that you frequently repeat. It won’t take long for you to have a strong idea of where and how a VA could best assist you.
- Do You Need a VA or Just a More Efficient System?
When you find yourself so busy at work that you simply can’t keep up, it is easy to assume that hiring a virtual assistant is the answer. Whilst true that an assistant will almost certainly make your life easier, this isn’t always the only solution. In some cases, you may be dealing first and foremost with an efficiency problem.
Repetitive tasks that aren’t sensitive in nature lend themselves well to a VA. Even if efficiency is part of the problem, an experienced assistant will be able to help you streamline the process so that they’ll be able to complete it faster – and often to a higher-quality standard. If you’re in over your head, this may be the best way to proceed.
But what if the business tasks you are struggling with really needs to be completed by you personally, or by a high-ranking member of your team? If this is the case, then the solution is streamlining your business processes. Hiring an assistant is only going to accomplish so much.
There are several ways to accomplish this. Mindtools recommends a six-step solution that involves mapping out, analysing and then redesigning the process – before implementing and reviewing that new design. Chron takes a similar approach, with perhaps more emphasis on breaking each process down into the discrete steps needed to complete them so that you can more easily isolate the problems.
- How (and How Often) Do You Wish to Communicate with your Virtual Assistant?
To begin with, a competent and qualified VA is not going to require micromanaging or even a lot of supervision. They are – almost by definition – highly motivated self-starters who have a talent for completing business tasks correctly and according to tight turnarounds.
However, some ongoing communication is going to be necessary. It is important for you to decide ahead of time how (and how often) you would like your VA to be in touch. Communication is extremely important to us at BPO Virtual Assistant. Once we’ve received your job description, we will compile a short list of qualified candidates. From there, you can interview these candidates via Skype video conference – ensuring that you’ve been in real communication with your VA from day one. Of course, the communication channels remain open after the initial interview. Once you have personally selected an assistant, they will submit process reports to you on a regular basis so that you’ll always know what’s going on. You can also determine if you would like to speak with them by phone or video chat on a recurring basis. This could be daily, weekly, semi-weekly – whatever works best in your situation.
If you haven’t set your expectations for communication ahead of time, you could end up being disappointed by the performance of your VA. But letting them know your expectations from day one will help the entire process run more smoothly.
- What Personality Type Will Work Best with You?
This is an often-overlooked consideration – due in large part to the fact that VAs work remotely. This makes it easy to forget that the professional you are working with has a full-fledged personality. But you’ll be working (sometimes closely) with this person on an ongoing basis, so it’s important that you select someone who meshes well with your own personality type.
Of course, this begins with knowing yourself. If you’ve had an assistant before, you probably already have a good idea of the type of person you work well with. If not, it’s worth pausing to consider whether
– for example – you prefer to work with a driven, type-A personality or someone more laid-back and adaptable.
Knowing this ahead of time will make it easier for BPO to present you with the most suitable list of candidates. And it also means that you’ll go into each of your Skype interviews with a better grasp of what you’re looking for in a successful applicant.
Contact BPO Virtual Assistant Today
Do you think that your business could benefit with the help of a virtual assistant? Once you’ve taken the time to answer the four questions above, get in touch with BPO Virtual Assistants. We’ll help you find the perfect candidate for the job!