man from startup using virtual assistant to grow his business

Startups Using Virtual Assistants [a Practical Guide]

In this write-up, we will explore in more depth how startups using virtual assistants by forming virtual teams and growing a startup (quickly and efficiently) by following the following actionable steps.

Firstly – let’s remind ourselves what a virtual assistant is

We should start by debunking the typical misconception of a virtual assistant – no, a virtual assistant is not simply a personal assistant. True that there are personal assistants available; however, many specialize in different fields. What they all have in common is that they are workers working remotely, in most cases from their own home office, which brings cost savings for the employee. Also, since they are not permanent staff members but consultants, they do not demand additional benefits to be paid to them. Therefore a virtual assistant costs the employer much less than an on-site employee.

Real-world cases of how startups can utilize virtual assistants

Startups can benefit significantly by using virtual assistants as part of their employment mix, gaining results.
Dealing with the flow of emails – Emails are a norm for most – and for a business, emails may come from a new client or they may be offering a potential opportunity. However, with virtual assistant services, the first type of work generally delegated is inbox management. Going through emails and responding to them is time-consuming. You may ultimately spend around three to five hours daily just to accomplish this task. The question you need to ask yourself is – is this the most productive way of spending my time?

The risks of delegating this task to an online assistant are minimal, and the benefits are enormous. Also, inbox management is not just about proper time management − it can benefit the business significantly. An email inbox is usually inundated by useless spam, which tends to overcrowd essential emails. Such emails can be overlooked if not suitably managed. For instance, among the many emails might be a sales pitch you can adopt to get your product out to the market. Or a suitable candidate might have submitted their résumé for a position. Emails are only helpful if you get to them promptly. Otherwise, they become merely missed opportunities.

With the aid of an assistant, filters, folders, and rules can be created that can bring order to the chaos. The benefit to the employer or manager is no wasted time or missed prospects.

Remain organized 

A key element of being organized is to have a grip on your scheduling. Most people see schedule management as the job of the business owner. Apps are certainly available to assist you, so you may think you don’t need help. However, startup founders are busy, and they need to multitask, network, and be seen. Not even the best apps currently can be as effective as a dedicated virtual assistant. Such an assistant can ensure that you never lose track of your appointments.

Your scheduling management will be tricky, to say the least.  Let’s make it even more complex – you have two offices in two different time zones. This is where an online assistant will shine, helping you stay on track, ensuring that your time is fruitfully spent, no matter where you are.

Keeping track of your meeting takeaways

If you jump from one call to the next, you may not remember to fulfill all the essential tasks you needed to resolve for each caller. However, meeting notes are required to be organized, meeting your deadlines, and knowing who and when to follow up. You need a virtual assistant. A VA will record all meeting notes for you, allowing you to negotiate and discuss your ideas in a stress-free manner, knowing that your VA has everything under control and ready for you. This can be a game-changer − your VA will be an integral part of your success, giving you peace of mind as you upscale.

Simplify the processes 

With many startup businesses their processes, especially their backend processes, are not sufficiently well developed. This is a common failing that can be disruptive, impeding your success. Remember, time is money, and time wasted is money wasted. However, if you can align your processes to run a little smoother, you could be increasing your chance of success.

You can as a startup using virtual assistants to identify business weaknesses, making suggestions for resolving these issues. However, you may believe that you can rely on on-site staff that can sort out these issues. It is possible that their time is scant, and they don’t therefore have sufficient time that can be allocated to this. If instead you set up your army of VAs to bring forward solutions, you can instal new operational systems within weeks, allowing your business to run smoothly.

Utilize your online aide to document the processes and to help with scaling

Sadly, most startups don’t survive, and in 2019 the failure rate was 90%. They believe in their idea and believe that they are unique, but they are unable to repeat their success, resulting in a one-hit-wonder situation, with means the business cannot scale. Once you can crack the right formula, you should use online assistants to set out the processes needed. These VAs can develop a route map you can use to train and pass on specific knowledge so that you can begin to scale your business. Moreover, for success, a company should document all the legwork, a task that can be delegated to a virtual assistant. As such, your VA will help pave the way to success, especially if your startup is new, or has come to a point where growth has seemingly leveled out.

Stay in a loop about the latest trends

Are you acquainted with the Greek story of Sisyphus? Sisyphus was punished by having to spend the rest of his life pushing a rock up a hill. Once at the top, the rock inevitably ran back down. The same is true about new trends and developments. As soon as you have obtained the latest recent trends, new ones emerge, bringing you back to square one. However, you could use a virtual assistant to help you stay current by creating a select list of articles that can add value to your life. These lists can include a summary of the main points and the article’s key takeaways. As such, you will have a wealth of insights available to you to make better and more informed decisions, which means better outcomes without you wasting your time sourcing these golden nuggets.

owner of a startup using virtual assistants

Accumulate useful statistics and market data

Understanding your market is essential if you want to start marketing to clients. In many cases, companies such as large corporations will use professional firms to gather these types of data for them. In many cases, this comes at great expense. However, an online assistant can help to gather this type of info for you. More so, if you are scaling and have entered a new location or even a new city, you need to update your data. Again, your assistant can help you gather the required information. Also, suppose you are going to network at a conference with the plan of promoting your product. In that case, a virtual aide can do the legwork for you.

The VA can gather as much data as possible about who will be attending the event, so that the time you spend at the conference increases your chances of winning. Also, your virtual assistant can assist with the presentation you will be giving at a meeting or conference by collating all the pertinent information for you. Your virtual assistant will be an extension of yourself, therefore allowing you to achieve more.

Help to look for new talent 

Most startups literally start with only their founders; they then need to recruit staff. Some startups hire an in-house team of recruiting specialists or HR professionals, thinking that is the best route to follow – sadly, however, this is often money wasted. You want to focus on perfecting your product. Any other task can be outsourced and be achieved for less.

Assist with lead generation 

Lead generation is vital for a startup that has zero clients to begin with. Building a solid database filled with good leads is what will make or break you – together with researching for clients on LinkedIn and other sites. Some of the leads can bring instant success; however, in most cases, the leads will take some time to mould into consumers. A virtual assistant can help with this time-consuming, and detailed (if not repetitive) process.

To build your social media following

Similar to your leads, your social media fans will be non-existent. Your virtual assistant specializing in social media can help to increase engagement and thereby increase your following. Social media also offers a great way of engaging and connecting with your new clients, building your brand value. In short, if you convert clients, you could change them to brand ambassadors that will promote your brand better than any complex marketing efforts. Moreover, your virtual assistant can help with a social media calendar, sourcing topics and themes that can be added to this calendar, composing and posting posts on divers social media channels. Many companies do initially adopt this process. However, because this is an ongoing and laborious process, they tend to be negligent, which causes more damage to the brand – one can appear as though expired or not available to one’s client base. However, a dedicated VA can help to keep your pages alive and fresh.

Be your ghostwriter with engaging content

Content is an essential part of effective SEO, which helps you increase your chances of being found on various search engines. However, you need to produce quality content and not just copies of others’ work or, worse still, reposting an article on several platforms, negatively impacting your progress. Also, you need to have blogs of more than 1000 words. Even better would be if you could use pieces that are around 4000 words. A virtual aide skilled in writing can help process this type of content based on proper keywords. Also, there are practical tools such as Grammarly that can be used to check spelling, grammar, and tone, double-checking whether the article is original or not. Besides using a single VA to help, you can use an agency such as Riddle Me Write, which can create a content plan based on your budget.

The last few words

With all the apps, tools, and software available and produced by startups, startups themselves need to increase their productivity − nothing beats the human touch. This is something many startups are experiencing. This article discussed that virtual assistants can cover many tasks, especially labor-intensive work that can be done for less than you would spend on real-time staff. Also, an online assistant can add additional skills to your business. You can change your assistants as your needs change, allowing yourself to remain agile, dealing with the challenges as they come.

Are you keen in learning more about virtual assistant for your startup business? Contact us today!

 

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