The truth is, you can’t afford NOT to delegate to a Virtual Assistant. Of course, for entrepreneurs – your business is your baby. And I know that, because mine is, too. It’s easy to get into the mindset of “It will be faster just for me to do it” or “I am afraid I will forget to tell an important detail.” I’ve also heard clients say “I am too much of a perfectionist” or “I have no idea what to delegate”. That probably sounds very familiar to some of you.
Experts say that in order to have your business grow, you need to continue to grow a solid, proactive, innovative team. I know that as entrepreneurs and small business owners, we like to do it all – and I am confident that you can – but the reality is, it does not make any business sense to do so.
Delegating does not have to feel like handing over the authority to someone else – and working with the right Virtual Assistant will make you not feel that way. The key here is to make it as organized as possible for your Virtual Assistant to perform the task. Here at Virtual Assist USA, we have a “Task Requisition” form. This is a web-based proprietary program where clients can submit tasks. It’s very easy for them and it tells us everything we need to know without any of that back and forth. The form outlines the deadline, the output requested (Word, PDF), any samples to follow, user names/passwords necessary for access and the client’s overall objective.
Now, I want you all to stop making excuses and start delegating – and you will see your business soar!
1. Decide what goes where: Figure out what your strengths are – is it building client relationships? Think of where you are contributing to your business in the best way, to make it the most successful. Whatever that task is, keep doing it. It’s something you’re good at. But for the rest of it – bookkeeping, say – if you are not an expert, and someone else can do it faster than you, by all means, delegate! Think long and hard about this – I have a client who really loves maintaining client relationships. However, he cannot spend everyday sending short emails or calls just to check in with clients. So he delegated his “keep in touch” contacting to one of my Virtual Assistants, and now, he just handles the biggest and most important on his list. Take a 5 day period and write down everything that you do. Highlight what you can delegate and share that with your VA.
2. Be Detailed: Consider exactly how you want the work to be completed. Be specific, and detailed. You only have to do this once. In this case, take some time to create a process. Just like Virtual Assist USA’s task requisition form, determine what the final output and objective should be, and outline specific steps to get there.
3. Give accountability: Let your VA know that they are being held accountable for the end result of the task. Give them that responsibility and have them own it. Think about exactly what you want the deliverable to look like at the end, and then explain that to your VA. It’s helpful, oftentimes, to assign numbers or metrics to tasks. For example, “Get me speaking engagements” could be “Get me 3 speaking engagements per month.” Include goals and results and you will be sure to get them.
4. Have good communication: Check in with your VA – and it doesn’t have to be everyday. They should be sending you weekly reports – take the time to go over them. Set the times that you will check in before hand – say, 15 minutes every Wednesday morning. This keeps you in the loop and also lets the VA know that your work is a priority to you.
About the author: Danielle Cuomo, MBA, was nominated to the exclusive list of the Best 50 Women in Business and Top Businesses to Follow on Twitter. She has also received 3 awards for excellence in Public Relations. Before entering the VA world, Danielle worked in Global Publicity for ESPN, and then for an IT Consulting company. Danielle shows clients how to propel their businesses by delegating tasks. Danielle’s virtual assistance firm, Virtual Assist USA, helps clients all over the world meet business development challenges.
It’s true in many different ways that working with a virtual assistant will prove to be a worthwhile investment in your business. The cost of a professional virtual assistant’s services will ultimately be recouped via saved time as you delegate more and more tasks to your virtual assistant and decreased levels of stress as your virtual assistant is able to handle tasks that would otherwise bog down your own daily productivity.
It’s not enough to simply hire a virtual assistant – as with any business decision you make, it’s important to follow up and follow through – you have to treat the working relationship itself as an investment, at least initially, as you and your virtual assistant get to know each other and more importantly, as your virtual assistant gets to know your business. Here are just a few tips to help you make the most of working with your virtual assistant:
1. Help your virtual assistant do what they do best by providing clear expectations and goals from the start as well as for new directions or projects going forward. A virtual assistant may have great business acumen and insight but can’t read your mind. The more your virtual assistant understands about you and your business, the more he or she can make a positive impact.
2. A virtual assistant can only make a difference in your business growth if they’re allowed to do so. If you have a hard time delegating, or letting go of control in certain areas of your business, get clear with yourself about how you see a virtual assistant fitting into your business.
3. Understand that a virtual assistant is not an employee but a professional, self-employed service provider, and treat them as such. Your virtual assistant comes into the relationship with the utmost respect for you and your business, they deserve the same in return.
4. Be reasonable. A virtual assistant works from home, but they’re still running a business and you are likely one of a group of clients the VA works with. Unreasonable requests for immediate or weekend assistance will quickly burn out a client’s relationship with a virtual assistant. Take the time to understand your virtual assistant’s business policies – it’ll help everything run more smoothly.
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