We still might be a few years away from robot butlers, but that doesn't mean we can't put technology to work to help our businesses. We're talking about virtual assistants. These are outsourced contractors who, through the magic of the internet, can perform tasks from research, making appointments and even customer service without having to be local.
They mostly work from their own home, which can help you cut down on office overhead. They are freelancers with a specific skill set that is needed by your company. Whether it is a virtual content writer or virtual administrative assistant, many business owners are discovering the benefits of working across the internet.
Here are the advantages to think of when hiring a virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant makes a perfect bookkeeper. If you have set up an online bookkeeping system for your business, then there is no reason why you can't share that with a remote accountant. Not only can a virtual assistant maintain your financial records but they can also follow up on unpaid invoices or outstanding bills. You obviously need to work with a reputable person if you're going to turn over your financial information - this is not someone you should find on Craigslist. Instead, look for a professional company who handles this type of work.
Competitive and Customer Research:
You know how easy it is to get lost in online research. One minute you're looking up relevant information about your competitor and the next you're watching YouTube videos of baby pandas. Why not let a virtual assistant handle your online research chores? You can task them with an assignment and set them loose across the Internet. This type of research can cover everything from finding your next blog topic to seeing what new products are coming onto the market that relate to your business. They could also research other businesses or investors to help prep you for a meeting.
Hopefully your business will grow by leaps and bounds very quickly. If so, then your customer relationship database will also be expanding. Not only will you need an easy to access contact list of vendors and business associates but you'll also have a customer email database to manage. With access to your servers, a virtual assistant trained in this type of work can make sure your lists are up to date and error free.
If traveling is part of your business then you'll certainly want to keep an eye on your travel expenses. There are plenty of amazing deals on hotels, flights and rental cars to be had out there in cyberland. Do you have the time to sort through it all? A virtual assistant can make all the arrangements and find you the best deals.
Once you've used a virtual assistant for even the simplest of tasks, you'll find that you have more time to focus on building your business instead of running it.