Interested in virtual assistant business operations?
While all types of businesses need administrative help, having a full time employee solely for that can be costly.
Virtual assistants provide a valuable solution to business owners’ admin woes.
They work remotely and offer a wide range of VA services at a fraction of the cost you’d have to pay a full time employee.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about virtual assistants for business operations and the benefits of hiring them. We’ll also highlight where you can find a virtual assistant online and reveal the secrets to efficient VA management.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to go to a specific section)
- What is a Business Operations Virtual Assistant?
- Why Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant to Manage Business Operations?
- What Does a Business Operations VA Do?
- How Do You Find a Virtual Assistant for Business Operations?
- How Do You Successfully Manage Virtual Assistants?
What is a business operations virtual assistant?
Business operations are activities that companies engage in daily. It’s essentially how they make their money — for example, selling a product or providing a service.
You can optimize these activities to increase productivity by hiring a dedicated virtual assistant to handle repetitive and mundane tasks.
Business operations virtual assistants are usually independent contractors who help businesses with their administrative, marketing, business development tasks, etc.
They often provide virtual assistance by taking on the recurring tasks within your business operations, freeing up time for you to focus on your strategic goals.
So how do they do it?
Virtual assistants help businesses increase productivity by carrying out tasks that aren’t client facing or core to your business.
Some of the tasks they usually undertake include:
- Email management.
- Scheduling meetings and calendar management.
- Answering phone calls, routing calls, and taking messages.
- Managing websites, blogs, and social media accounts for the business.
- Data entry and administrative tasks.
- Find and follow up on leads for a potential client.
(More on these tasks later in the article.)
You can get the right virtual assistant services for your business’s operational needs, which could be anything from general assistance to industry specific services.
Why should you hire a virtual assistant to manage business operations?
Whether you’re starting your own business or already running a successful business, employing a virtual assistant’s services can improve your business’ operational efficiencies.
You can hire a dedicated assistant to focus on a particular area of your business process. You can also hire a personal assistant to help anywhere in the organization that will improve workflow.
So here are some ways virtual assistant business operations can benefit your organization:
1. Cost savings
Rather than hiring a full-time employee or executive assistant to do your administrative, bookkeeping, or other business processes, you can hire a virtual assistant.
Usually, a VA only charges for the work done or per hour — which means you don’t have to pay a full-time salary and other employee benefits.
Additionally, because virtual assistants work remotely, you can avoid high overhead costs from a physical office —like office equipment, internet connection, break room facilities, etc.
2. Reduced onboarding time
As most virtual assistants are experienced professionals in their respective fields, they require minimal or no training at all.
Simply provide them with instructions, and they can do the tasks you assign them.
This saves you the hassle and costs associated with onboarding new employees.
A VA can also start work right away. At the same time, a full-time employee would probably need a few weeks of training before they can do their job.
3. Scale business operations faster
As a business owner, opting for virtual assistants rather than full-time employees can help you quickly acquire the talent needed to scale your operations.
Virtual assistants are essentially remote workers, which means they work from home.
So why settle for talent only in your city when you have access to highly skilled VAs from around the globe?
Virtual assistants can help you launch and expand your online business easily and quickly.
They also don’t require office space to work, so your expansion won’t be hindered by your search and acquisition of office space.
If your business activities suddenly increase, you can quickly hire skilled full or part-time employees, while virtual assistants can handle your everyday tasks.
4. Improve customer relationships
If you plan to expand globally or if you’re already operating across borders, virtual assistants can help you offer 24/7 customer service to your clients.
Virtual assistants are remotely based, so you can hire them from anywhere in the world to cater to the various time-zones in which your business operates.
This way, you can cope with global demands across international time-zones.
Your permanent employees can also benefit here – as they can avoid working shifts, giving them (and you) a better work-life balance.
What does a business operations VA do?
These are some of the tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant:
1. Administrative tasks
Regardless of your industry, you probably have tons of administrative tasks to deal with daily.
Some examples of tasks that a virtual administrative assistant can handle include:
- Data entry and management (developing and maintaining a filing system).
- Answering and directing phone calls.
- Organizing and scheduling meetings and appointments.
- Producing and distributing correspondence memos, letters, faxes, and forms.
- Transcription tasks.
2. Social media management
Every business needs a social media presence to stay relevant in the current environment.
Digital marketing should form an integral part of any marketing strategy, and that includes social media marketing.
Rather than hire a full-time employee or even an entire department, a virtual assistant can handle this for you — especially if you’re a small business owner.
You can trust them with smaller tasks like scheduling posts, responding to messages, etc.
You could also get them to tackle more important tasks like:
- Writing and updating social media content,
- Doing search engine optimization (SEO) etc.
- Running entire social media campaigns.
Check out our guide to hiring and managing digital marketing virtual assistants.
3. Research and analysis
You probably don’t have enough time to spend on researching competitors, analyzing the market, etc.
However, this information is crucial to your company’s growth strategy as you need insights into the business and market.
Fortunately, you can hire research VAs who handle tasks like:
- Analyze consumer trends.
- Track competitors’ services and products.
- Assist in the preparation of sales and industry analysis reports.
- Screen applications for contractors and affiliates.
- Evaluate key business systems for weaknesses, etc.
4. Financial management
If you aren’t a whizz with numbers, the good news is that you can hire a remote assistant who is.
A skilled virtual assistant can help you with bookkeeping and other finance-related tasks with ease.
Companies like Oneresource have business finance VAs who can assist you with processes, such as:
- Credit control.
- Expense paperwork.
- Payroll and human resource management.
- Submission of tax returns.
Curious about bookkeeping VAs?
Here’s our article on virtual assistant bookkeeping services.
How do you find a virtual assistant for business operations?
After you decide to hire a virtual assistant for your business operations, you need to determine the tasks or projects they’ll be doing.
You’ll also need to determine the conditions for their engagement. For example, you can hire a virtual assistant on a:
- Short-term or long-term basis.
- Day-to-day basis.
- Task or project-specific basis.
- Full-time or part-time basis.
You also need to decide whether you want to hire a virtual assistant from an agency or an independent virtual assistant.
To help you decide, let’s take a look at both the options:
A. Virtual assistant agency
If you require someone on an ad-hoc basis, a virtual assistant business is a great option.
A virtual assistant company usually has affordable pricing options available and VAs with diverse skill sets.
Let’s take a look at some of the best virtual assistant agencies:
Wishup offers virtual assistants who are administration, marketing, and business operation specialists.
Wishup also has assistants from various industries, including:
- Research assistants.
- Finance management assistants.
- Real estate virtual assistants and more.
Candidates are vetted based on communication skills, technical expertise, and the ability to multitask.
BELAY is a company that boasts an acceptance rate lower than Harvard’s, so you know you’re getting the best service from their qualified virtual assistants!
Besides general virtual assistants, BELAY also offers virtual assistants for bookkeeping, website maintenance, and social media.
Prialto’s main focus is on supporting business executives.
They evaluate your needs and goals and offer specialized virtual assistant services that work best for you.
Their virtual assistants offer support to:
- Executive teams.
- Business owners.
- Sales professionals
- High-growth startup companies
- Service and real estate professionals.
B. Freelance virtual assistants
Alternatively, you could hire a freelancer or an independent contractor to perform virtual assistant tasks. This could be someone with a VA business who can work with you and several other companies simultaneously.
Here are some of the top places to find freelancing virtual assistants:
There are thousands of freelancers offering their services on Fiverr.
You’ll find freelancers with experience in writing, business administration, design, and more.
The best part is that they offer very affordable rates.
Upwork is a popular freelancer platform where you can find virtual assistant talent for general work like admin support and customer service.
Read more about these two platforms in our comparative article: Upwork vs. Fiverr.
How do you successfully manage virtual assistants?
One of the concerns an entrepreneur may have about hiring a virtual team is that they’re remotely based.
When assistants aren’t right in front of you, communication can be challenging because messages conveyed over email can be misinterpreted easily.
However, that’s not the only issue.
For example, how will you monitor their progress when they could be thousands of miles away?
While these are valid concerns, fortunately, there are simple solutions.
Here are some business tools you can use to manage your virtual assistants with ease:
A. Communication software
For effective communication with your virtual assistant, you’ll need efficient communication systems for:
1. Instant messaging
Instant messaging will probably be the primary way you communicate with your virtual employee.
With these tools, you can share projects and tasks, convey your requirements, edit files, etc.
With advanced messaging tools like Facebook Workplace, Fleep, or Slack, you can easily collaborate on tasks with your virtual assistant.
2. Video and voice calling
While some tasks are best communicated face-to-face, you can’t just pop into a virtual assistant’s workplace and give them instructions.
That’s why video and voice calling tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet are popular with remote teams.
These tools allow you to host meetings to discuss projects, tasks, share queries, etc.
You can also instruct your VAs on how to do a particular task by sharing your screen with them.
B. Productivity management tools
Whether they are freelancing or agency-based, virtual assistants will need to do the work you’re paying them for.
However, how do you ensure they are working productively on your tasks during billable hours?
Don’t worry. You can keep track of their progress and productivity with time tracking and productivity monitoring tools like Time Doctor.
With Time Doctor, you can say goodbye to the old timesheet template method of tracking billable hours.
What is Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a great productivity tracking tool that SMBs like Thrive Market and large organizations like RE/MAX use to monitor employee time and productivity.
You can view your virtual assistant’s performance when they start tracking time in Time Doctor.
Time Doctor also helps you:
- Know how long VAs took to complete a specific task or project.
- See what websites they visited at work – so you know they aren’t wasting time on unproductive sites.
- View productivity reports over a period of time.
- Make accurate payments based on the hours worked on a project.
You’d also be offering them a chance to gauge their own productivity levels and evaluate their performance. This benefits them in the long run, even when they move on to a new client.
Having a virtual assistant help with repetitive business operations lets you focus on more critical business activities.
And while virtual assistants are widely available, it’s essential to find the perfect fit for your business.
Use the tips we provided here to quickly find the right virtual assistant and equip them with powerful tools so they can work efficiently.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.