What to Delegate to a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) is an excellent resource for saving time, improving focus, and accomplishing more at once. I use them extensively for a number of tasks and projects that would otherwise bog me down, preventing me from accomplishing tasks of higher value. Simply stated, virtual assistants are outsourced labor; they’ll deal with the mundane, simple, and time-consuming so you don’t have to. Your industry, your own personal strengths, and your (gasp!) weaknesses will help you determine what you might personally delegate to your own virtual assistant. If you’re not sure how a virtual assistant might fit in your life, explore some of the more-common tasks people tend to outsource and see how those might apply to you. Here are the top things you should consider delegating to your virtual assistant:
1: Customer Relationship Management
This is at the top of the list for a reason. It’s time consuming, tedious, and really important to stay on top of. It’s also really easy to unload onto a virtual assistant. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a key component of business growth. If you’re not collecting, storing, and actively utilizing the contacts you’ve made, you’re wasting your valuable networking time and likely missing out on revenue as well.
Network Management. Monetize your networking endeavors by collecting, storing, and utilizing business cards from the connections you make. I unpacked this in-depth in another post so I won’t go too much into it here, but it’s definitely worth mentioning twice. A VA can extract and store contact information from collected business cards, creating complete customer profiles for connections easily accessed and utilized. Most importantly, all I have to do is scan, send, and forget.
Social Connections. Beyond business card management, a VA can log into your social media profiles remotely to make connections online. Staying connected to your professional network, socially, reminds people you’re around. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks provide all sorts of useful information you can leverage. Discover birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and never miss a chance to recognize them. Your customers will feel how important and valuable they are to you.
Constant Contact. Staying in touch with your customers and clients is exceedingly important. It can also take up a lot of your time as your network grows and your workload increases. Using software like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or AWeber a virtual assistant can manage your email campaigns, distribute newsletters and new blog posts, or share other important information you’d like your network to see. Direct-mail campaigns can be equally as useful. Your VA can manage the drafting, printing, and distribution of mail outs. Staying in touch creates repeat business.
Relationship Building. After you’ve closed on a deal, sending a gift or card to a client can cement that relationship. Few people ever go the extra mile for their customers; by doing so, you’ll stand out among the pack. A virtual assistant can draft creative messages or craft notecards you can send out to your customers. I recommend taking it even further by picking up a grab bag of fun gifts to distribute – get creative! A thoughtful gift and/or a fun note helps people feel like they matter to you; very valuable in business (and personal) relationships.
2: Digital Management
Account Management. Beyond customer service there are a number of digital tasks virtual assistants can take off your plate. Virtual assistants are often located halfway around the world but with a computer and internet connection, they can accomplish many of the same tasks you could here. This allows the delegation of time-consuming yet important computer-based labor. If you’re concerned about sharing personal passwords or unauthorized access to your accounts, I recommend password management tools like LastPass to control access. With LastPass you can easily grant and remove access permissions without sacrificing any revealing information.
Customer Surveys. Knowing what you’re doing right (and wrong) will help your business evolve to capture more revenue. Knowing where customers found you (and how) will help you tailor your marketing strategy to get the most for your money. Additionally, a clear idea of what your customers liked and didn’t like about their experience means you can quickly make adjustments for the future. Survey Monkey, Zoho, and Snap Surveys are just a few of the tools available for entrepreneurs and small-businesses to reach out for customer feedback.
3: Personal Assistant
Schedule Planning. With so much focus on outsourcing digital clerical tasks, the often-overlooked capacity of virtual assistants is their capability as personal assistants as well. A virtual assistant can handle scheduling appointments, follow-ups, and a host of other planning duties. You can wake up every morning to a pre-filled daily calendar, complete with driving directions or contact information at your fingertips. This is an extension of your overall CRM, as you may have specific follow-ups or recurring appointments that are difficult to keep track of.
Creating Reports. Reports are incredibly useful, but also incredibly time consuming to create. Delegating the creation and management of weekly/monthly/annual reports will not only save you hours of time, it will help you make smarter business decisions as well. With a virtual assistant you need only submit the data and wait for the report. There are only so many hours in the day, it’s important you use them to the fullest.
These are only a few, albeit the most-common and most useful, possible tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant. The most important considerations are finding a VA that fits the profile you’ve created, and then creating a set of written processes built around the delegated work. If you have to explain how to complete each project, every time, you’re not saving any hours. This will also help with any new assistants you hire later on. Clear processes and simple task-management software like Asana will help you get maximum value from your virtual assistant. Expand your capabilities and presence with a virtual assistant. Overseas VA rates are significantly lower than those stateside, and thanks to the time difference your work can be completed while you’re sleeping. I highly recommend that anyone interested in growing and expanding their business explore how a virtual assistant can help make that happen.