Sunday, March 7, 2010

Virtual Assistant: When to do it yourself and when to Outsource?

Lisa Schenone Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyby Lisa Schenone Ekinci
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Office Divvy

Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs are notorious for attempting to “do it all” instead of delegating. There are a variety of rationalizations that range from “by the time I explain it to someone, I could do it myself” to “no one is going to perform this task the way I will do it”. And of course, the obvious, “delegate to who?” Even though there is some truth to each statement, that cannot be the stopping point.

Effective delegation is critical to most small businesses or entrepreneurial ventures. An entrepreneur or small business owner that is committed to growth is required to dig deeper, and come up with answers to the following questions:
  1. What should I be doing routinely for my business?
  2. Which of the tasks that I currently perform, could (or should) be done by others?
  3. If I am able to shift two, five, ten hours a month or more off of my plate, what could I apply that time savings to and potentially what could my company gain? What could I gain?
Virtual Assistant (aka "VA" –as we are sometimes seeing the abbreviation) is a person or group of people who provide professional services on an “as-needed” basis. As you can guess from the “Virtual” in front of Assistant, resources are sometimes remote, and utilize today's technology to communicate and deliver their services.

A virtual assistant can cost a fraction of a full-time or part-time personal assistant. On-demand services, pay-per-project, or pay-as-you-use basis, is what affords the business the freedom to only spend what is needed at the time and not carry unnecessary overhead month after month.

According to the Entrepreneur Magazine, “Clients are most likely to hire virtual assistants to save money” as virtual assistants pay for their own equipment, taxes, training, healthcare and insurance, or because they need help with a temporary project. Entrepreneur Magazine adds that the industries most often hiring virtual assistants include real estate, coaching, media, financial services, accounting and legal.

Typical services provided by a virtual assistant include:
  • Document Preparation (Word Processing, Presentations, Spreadsheets)
  • Transcriptions (Medical, Legal, Business, Focus Groups)
  • Data Entry (Lead Generation, Contact Management)
  • Document Management (Scan, Copy, Fax, Email, Archive)
  • Online research (Competitive Landscape, Consumer, Business, Product)
  • Literature and Brochure fulfillment (Mail List, Mail Services)
  • Professional & Personalized Phone Answering, Documented Call Routing
  • Scheduling and Calendar Management
  • Social Media projects (Establishing/Maintaining Accounts, Strategy, Content Mining/Programming/Engagement, and Measurement)

Are Virtual Assistant Services Available in Palm Coast, Florida?
Yes. We come in contact with individuals who provide these services. The company I co-founded, Office Divvy ™, provides a broad range of professional services to small businesses and startups. Our members locally in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach within Flagler County, are taking advantage of our team of virtual assistants. We are positioned to offer these services to companies and individuals located anywhere.

We are constantly interviewing, which is necessary in building a team of talented individuals, subject matter experts, and generalists who can be hired on an as-needed basis. We provided the oversight, project management, and QA, so our clients receive a consistent product.

Due to a now larger marketing reach, thanks in large part to our social media strategy (specifically with Facebook and Twitter), we are seeing a trend of businesses outside of our immediate area in Florida all the way to the West Coast in L.A., or internationally (i.e. Costa Rica), and contacting us for these unique services.

The advantages of engaging an organization like Office Divvy ™ for virtual assistance needs versus an independent virtual assistant (an individual) include increased accountability and repeatable results.

Office Divvy ™ champions the use of virtual assistants with our members and prospective clients. As small business owners, we are comrades with our members, wrestling these exact challenges of when to offload tasks and when to drive to completion independently. We bring to bear our personal experience as well as that of our membership collective.

To request more information for Virtual Assistant Packages starting from $79/month click here.

How do you decide what tasks to offload? Please share your thoughts on increasing your team size without increasing your monthly overhead?

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