Picture this: You’re in need of help for your business– someone who will work with you everyday, someone to take the load off your shoulders so you can focus on the things that only you can do. He or she’ll have access to your business email (she may even answer on your behalf) and will take on multiple key tasks– responsibilities that will directly affect your bottom line, your business growth, and your professional reputation.
So naturally, you hire the very first person to walk in off the street, right? (Or the first candidate recommended by your third cousin’s friend-of-a-friend, or the first suggestion of your recruiting agency, or the first classified ad response to pop up in your inbox…) It doesn’t matter that your new hire expresses little interest in your company, or even that she has no experience in the tasks you require: she’s here now, she’s available, and you need the help. Anyone will do; it’s only your company’s success at stake.
This may sound like a completely fabricated and ridiculous hyperbole, but the fact is, it’s close to the truth: more and more startups and small businesses are opting to work virtually, and many small business owners start working with a virtual assistant with nary a glance at a résumé, let alone an interview.
Virtual Assistance is Personal
Somehow, the novelty of VA companies that can provide vetted virtual assistants ready to get started, makes entrepreneurs and small business owners think that working with a virtual assistant is different – that VAs somehow fit into the Impersonal Assistance category, like a sandwich delivery guy or online business card printer. It doesn’t help that many VA companies assign you an assistant without you getting to meet them – the assumption being that since its just basic admin, it’s not important. And that’s the problem, the concept of VA as ‘just good for basic admin’. It overlooks the opportunity offered by skilled business-grade VAs who can do so much more.
So a word of advice…don’t just accept who you are given. Your virtual assistant may not sit two desks away from you, but her services are just as personal as in-office help, and if you want the kind of serious help that a business VA can offer, of course you need to speak to them first. When you choose one-size-fits-all without choice, what you’re really getting is round-peg-in-a-square-hole kind of assistance: you have to make it work, even when it doesn’t fit quite right.
The truth is, the long-term, professional and trusted relationship you build with skilled VA can become your own secret weapon. Opt for a company that will match you carefully.
7 Reasons to Integrate Your Virtual Assistant into Your Long-term Team
Business-grade VAs are highly skilled, responsible and driven. They are capable of much more than you may have originally considered: beyond basic admin, they can help you grow your business with skills in social media, website administration, project management and more.
When you make your VA an integral part of your team – a trusted collaborator, distance be darned – you dramatically enhance his or her potential to contribute to, and benefit your business.
Even (and perhaps especially) if you are a team of one, involving, integrating and including your VA will allow you to fully benefit from her skills and expertise. Consider this:
- When you give your VA a chance to learn the inner workings of your business, she will grow to know you and your business better. This, in turn, helps your VA help you better.
- When you build a personal relationship with your VA – when you get along well and trust each other – you are much more likely to trust him or her enough to delegate sensitive tasks. This means you’re much more likely to take advantage of the possibilities afforded by skilled, business-grade virtual assistance.
- When your virtual assistant understands your business – your values, your brand, your communication style, and your goals – she better represents you, be it in customer service or in fielding calls or in speaking to suppliers on your behalf. Your VA becomes an extension of your company.
- A trusted VA is your link to better, more efficient operations, eliminating bottlenecks and unnecessary delays. She can communicate with other team members to move projects forward; manage web developers and designers; and do what is required to keep your team on task.
- When you include your VA in your business, she feels loyalty to you and your company. This intangible element creates motivation – drive that is absent in an impersonal approach. You are much more likely to build a meaningful, trusting and long-term relationship with a VA whom you integrate into your company.
- As your assistant grows to know you, she will understand your requests and requirements easily and with little explanation. Things get done quickly, on time and accurately.
- For many solopreneurs, it feels good to have a right-hand. It’s a relief. Your VA has your back, always, and in the sometimes-lonely world of the entrepreneur or small business owner, this relationship can truly benefit your confidence and ability to get things done.
We believe in the power of the entrepreneur-VA relationship. We encourage small business owners to have a skype meeting with several “perfect fits” – business-grade VAs with the skills and experience to match your needs – to choose the virtual assistant whose expertise and personality fits you and your company.