No matter how organized and efficient you are as a small business owner, the mountains of paperwork and constant customer demands can really overwhelm you. If your small business is running you ragged, you may be thinking about hiring an assistant. That might not be the best option for you, though, as there are a lot of hidden costs involved in hiring a new member of your staff, especially one that requires a lot of training. Instead, you should consider contracting with a virtual assistant.

The Disadvantages of Hiring a Permanent Assistant

One of the distinctive features of any kind of small business is that work tends to be uneven. It sometimes comes in bunches and sometimes barely comes at all. Hiring a permanent assistant can mean paying for a lot of time during which you don’t really need one. Also, permanent assistants come with a lot of additional costs. Besides the cost of the assistant’s wages, there are the costs of health insurance, vacation pay, sick day pay, and more. Furthermore, you may need to buy office equipment for an assistant you hire, such as computers and printers.

The Advantages of a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is an established, experienced freelance executive assistant. Instead of paying by the hour or on a fixed salary, virtual assistants are often paid by the job. This can be a much more beneficial arrangement for small businesses. You do not have to arrange for benefits for virtual assistants. Virtual assistants also usually have a lot of experience with the skills and professional ethics that any executive assistant needs to have, without needing any training from you. A virtual assistant already has all of the office supplies needed to do his or her job. Finally, having a virtual assistant can help give your small business an air of success and professionalism.

The support of a virtual assistant can be vital to a small business as it tries to get off the ground. The help they provide in dealing with administrative overload and customer needs and bringing in new sales can make the difference between failure and success.

Related: Identifying and Choosing the Right Virtual Assistant for Your Business

What a Virtual Assistant Does

Most virtual assistants can do basic record keeping, contact management, setting and confirming appointments, database management, website maintenance, calling clients, and handling customer complaints and requests. Most will also be willing to handle any specialized administrative tasks that you provide training for. Some even have specialized skills such as statistical analysis.

The Takeaway

Small businesses need all the help they can get. They also need to save all the money they can. The virtual assistant is a way your small business can do both.


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