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How to prepare your business to hire a virtual assistant

A team of four co-workers in an office space looking at a laptop and discussing how to welcome a new virtual assistant with Virtual Gurus.

Shawna-Kay Thomas

January 8, 2021

2021 is your perfect year to grow and expand your business. One way to grow your business is to hire a virtual assistant. While virtual assistants can help you manage time, you need to spend a bit of time upfront to onboard them and set them (and yourself) up for success.  

Here are four questions to ask yourself before bringing a virtual assistant onboard:

1.  What do I want to outsource?

As an entrepreneur, a startup or a small business there may be many tasks that you need done but your limited time and resources will not allow you to get it done yourself or hire full-time staff. That’s where hiring a virtual assistant comes in! Knowing which tasks to hand over to your virtual assistant can make a big difference in the success that you experience. This may appear challenging at first, but in consultation with your team, you can decide if you want an expert in a couple key areas or you want a jack of all trades. Deciding on what you want to outsource early in the game will keep your assistant engaged and you will experience great results.  Here are a few key areas to consider:

·         Personal and administrative tasks

·         Marketing and social media

·         Web design, development and maintenance

·         Customer service

·         Content creation

·         Research on your competitors, vendors and consumers

·         Sales and prospecting

·         One-time project(s)

2.  What are my expectations?

A good virtual assistant wants to be able to meet your needs in a timely manner, in the way that you would like. After deciding which tasks you want to outsource, make sure that you are clear on the priority areas. Determine which tasks are urgent so that you can share the big picture for your business along with the level of urgency and timelines for various tasks. If you require quick turnaround for some tasks, or will have peak periods where you expect your remote assistant to answer phone calls or respond to emails at short notice, communicate this. Determine which tasks will be assigned daily, weekly or monthly, how these tasks should be done, and the frequency for reporting. Set timelines for providing feedback so that projects/tasks can be completed in a timely manner.

3.  Which methods of communication are best for me?

Now that you have organized all the tasks that you want to get started with, create a clear line of communication in order to benefit from a smoother partnership with your virtual assistant. Your virtual assistant will have many tools at their disposal for communicating with you but not all of these tools may work for you. Decide on your preferred form of communication, along with your work hours, your availability to respond to emails, attend meetings or take phone calls. Are there other people on your team that should be included in all, or some communications? Decide on who these people are and make them aware so that they are not caught off guard by an email from your virtual assistant.

4.  What resources will the virtual assistant need access to?

You may already have some tools and resources that the virtual assistant will need to use. Create a list of these resources with relevant login details, as necessary, and assign a contact person should the virtual assistant need help with getting started with any of the tools. Along with the various tools and resources you may also need to provide standard operating procedures for using them. These instructions will eliminate frequent emails seeking clarification. If you know what you want to get done but do not have the tools, fret not – your virtual assistant will be able to make recommendations.    

As with any new hire, the preparatory work is inevitable. But getting this part done will set you up for success in working with a virtual assistant. Once you establish tasks, expectations, communications processes, and resource needs you will be on your way to experiencing the growth that you desire for your business.

Shawna with Virtual Gurus.

Shawna-Kay Thomas

Prior to joining Virtual Gurus, Shawna-Kay has worked in journalism, communications and marketing for close to ten years. She is a strategic and creative communications professional who is skilled in media relations, writing and editing communication pieces, managing social media and planning events.

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