How Can a Virtual Assistant Help You With Store Inventory Management?

74% of businesses have experienced shipment delays and much longer lead times. This gap represents the urgent need for improvement in the industry. Store inventory management is a complicated process, and it serves as the backbone for the optimal functioning of retail businesses. Present market conditions require firms to step up their game. However, hiring support doesn’t come cheap; that’s why most companies hire virtual assistants to complete their tasks. Read more to discover how outsourcing store inventory management to a virtual store assistant can cut your expenses and worries in half.

store inventory management

The Growing Significance of Virtual Assistants in the Retail Landscape

The expansion of the retail industry has created a growing need for virtual assistants to support back-end processes like store inventory management. From stocking to order management, the end-to-end process is handled by them. Apart from affordability, the aspect that makes hiring retail staff different from full-time employees is their scalability and flexibility. The working model gives them the added advantage of working remotely-anytime & anywhere. 

store inventory management

Essential Skills Your Virtual Assistant Needs For Store Inventory Management

What skills do you need while hiring virtual assistants for store inventory management? Well, we have done a quick rundown of the top ten mandatory skills that your VA must have. This list makes it easier for you to sieve through the resumes and find one that suits your needs.

 

1. Communication 

Communication is one of the most effective and powerful skill sets. Especially in the retail industry, solid communication skills are required to complete daily store inventory management tasks. Your VA should have written and verbal proficiency to easily handle all client and vendor communication. Whether sending emails, daily update reports, 

coordinating with vendors, etc., your VA should be on it. It helps bring uniformity in terms of communication in the workplace and accelerates retail operations.

 

2. Technical Expertise 

Joining the digital transformation wave is the only way to keep up with the growing competition. This process requires every candidate you hire to have basic IT knowledge. Fortunately, most virtual assistants are well-versed in technological advancements and have experience using a powerful software tool suite. Excel, Powerpoint, CRM, and inventory management applications are some of the areas your VA should have proven experience in. Being capable of using these apps can automate basic tasks in your store and reduce human error in store inventory management. 

 

3. Email Management 

Running a business comes with a messy inbox. This is where most VAs come in. Regardless of your virtual assistant's role, email management skills are a must. Your virtual store assistant sieves through your emails and organizes them based on your priorities. It saves you the hassle of searching through important emails and responding to them. They are also responsible for timely replying to client emails, customer inquiries, orders, vendor reports, etc. You could also ask your VA to execute email marketing campaigns, which includes monitoring them and using analytical parameters such as click-through rates, open rates, subscribe/unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates. 

sTORE INVENTORY MANAGMENT

4. Time Management 

Smart business owners hire virtual assistants that successfully manage their time on their own and with their clients. You're hiring a VA to work as an independent individual who can improve your business's overall efficiency and productivity. It means the virtual assistant needs to be caught up with daily tasks, keep up with deadlines, streamline workflow, and realistically plan daily task completion. Virtual assistants generally create calendars to monitor and coordinate store inventory management and other retail operations. 

 

5. Typing 

Typing skills come very much in handy, especially while working remotely. Your virtual assistants must have professional typing skills to take notes during meetings, transcribe client meetings or reports, or accurately perform data entry. Store inventory management requires handling a lot of data; mishandling could cause problems for your business. However, a VA with sharp skills can fasten the data entry process so your company doesn't have to face retail hassles. 

 

6. Mathematical Skills

Your virtual assistant will be dealing with numbers all day, so they need to be quick with their arithmetic skills. Store inventory management can be hectic and time-consuming, so a virtual assistant who is comfortable working with numbers. This makes it easy for them to look at Inventory data all day and process them with minimal human error. Therefore, it's a significant advantage if your virtual assistant has this skill.

 

7. Detail- Oriented

Virtual assistants responsible for store inventory management should ideally have a keen eye for detail. The retail environment is fast-paced, and you need someone who doesn't miss out on the details among it all. Being detail-oriented comes in handy when dealing with stocking, customer complaints, inbound and outbound inventory, shipping, etc. Your virtual assistant should meticulously handle and store the data in an organized manner so it's easy to retrieve them when needed.

store inventory management

5 Tips That Will Streamline Your Store Inventory Management

An efficient and well-maintained inventory system is the core of any business. Not only does this significantly reduce operations costs and increase margins. Implement these five expert tips to make your store inventory management effective & efficient. 

 

1. Maintain Safety Stock

Lack of stock can affect the profitability of your business. That's why business owners use statistical methods for accurate sales forecasts. It helps them determine stock for each item in the inventory. In addition, it's crucial to maintain safe stock options, which means keeping a minimum in-stock count for each item in the inventory. Software applications like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems help business owners track this information for each item so they can maintain safety stock.

 

2. Leverage Technology 

Technological advancements are a vital differentiator in giving you an edge over your competitors. As a business owner, you must stay on top of inventory tracking and management techniques. It helps in making informed decisions regarding which technologies to invest in. Integrating the latest technological tools and platforms will facilitate the company's rapid development.

 

3. Cut the Excess Inventory 

Excess inventory lying around in your warehouse is just dead weight. It occupies unnecessary space, making storing or moving new stock challenging. Products no longer being sold or used or in demand must be unloaded. Research shows that reducing stock-outs and overstocks can lower inventory costs by 10%. An inventory audit is the fastest and easiest way to single out products underperforming in the market. Offering special discounts like buy one get one free or 50% off will help you free up storage.

 

4. Order Processing 

Order processing and efficient store inventory management go hand in hand. Implementing advanced strategies for order processing management is pivotal for providing efficient services such as shipping, receiving, and storage. Introducing a new layout to the warehouse and reliable personnel will ensure orders are processed quickly without delays or errors. There are software tools available that help business owners simplify order processing and management.

 

Also read: Are Virtual Assistants Necessary for Efficient Order Management Process?

 

5. Contingency Strategies 

Running a business is complicated, to say the least. Retail operations, specifically store inventory management is not an easy task. Several things can go wrong, such as running out of stock, no working capital to purchase items, fluctuating demand due to seasonal hikes, etc. Thus, it's necessary to have contingency plans to be prepared for such unforeseen circumstances. This way, you have a plan of action to help you get out in an emergency. 

store inventory management

Conclusion

Why struggle with store inventory management when you can outsource it to a virtual retail assistant? The retail industry is vast, and you need backup support. So, business owners choose outsourcing as the most convenient and cost-effective solution. Flowz has domain experts with considerable knowledge and skillsets to meet your requirements. Outsourcing from Flowz gives you the benefit of an exceptional online store assistant at competitive rates.

Should You Really Hire a Virtual Personal Assistant? Here’s Your Answer

With the growth of a company, its demands, and needs also grow. Therefore, keeping track of daily mundane tasks and expanding your business becomes difficult. There comes a considerable need for external support that you might not get from your in-house team. It is where virtual assistants come in. 

Thanks to the pandemic, their popularity has increased, and more businesses have realized the true impact of hiring a virtual personal assistant. Let’s look at what these virtual personal assistants can offer and if hiring them is worthwhile.

What Do You Mean By Virtual Assistants?

As the name suggests, a virtual assistant is a remote working employee that offers additional support to your business. Their goal is to free up your time so you can focus on crucial tasks like increasing the profitability of your business. 

 

A virtual assistant performs a myriad of valuable tasks, such as managing emails, handling administrative tasks, scheduling meetings, and more. They are well-versed with the latest tools and software that may help them work smart and offer quick turnarounds. A virtual assistant can help you improve productivity by 13%, making them a valuable asset for your company. 

What Are the Responsibilities of a Virtual Personal Assistant

VA expert Tips

Let’s say you want to hire a virtual personal assistant, but you don’t know how their services can be relevant to you. In a broad sense, a virtual personal assistant can carry out any back-end or admin task, remotely. Read below to understand a few basic tasks a personal assistant can help you with. 

 

1. Email Management

As a business owner, your inbox is often flooded with promotional messages, client queries, meeting requests, and whatnot. There's not enough time to skim through the spam and reply to each mail. A virtual personal assistant organizes your inbox, so you can quickly respond to the priority emails and ignore the spam. Furthermore, the assistant can reply directly to simple customer emails and carry out mundane communication tasks to free your time.

 

2. Social Media Management 

If your business has a social media presence, it's imperative to build on that to increase brand awareness. Virtual personal assistants help you strengthen your social media strategy through regular social media posts, responding to customer queries, and even running social media ads. 

Responsibilities of VA

3. Bookkeeping

Don't have the budget to hire a full-time accountant but need someone to carry out your basic bookkeeping tasks? Hire a part-time personal assistant to take care of such needs! Most virtual personal assistants can complete bookkeeping tasks such as entering data, reviewing inventory, reconciling bank accounts, maintaining financial records, approving invoices, etc.

 

Also read: 9 Practical Ways Virtual Accounting And Bookkeeping Can Improve Your Bottom Line

 

4. Travel Arrangements 

Constant traveling is part of growing your business, but it can get tricky and time-consuming if you take care of such arrangements yourself. Hire a personal assistant to complete such tasks while you focus on other essential things. From booking tickets to arranging a comfortable stay, a virtual assistant makes your life easier. 

 

5. Scheduling Appointments/ Meetings

As a busy entrepreneur, you do not have the time to keep track of your daily engagements and coordinate with other parties. Moreover, delegating this task to any of your employees will waste their productive time. A virtual personal assistant is a team player who will take care of back-end tasks to enhance your company's productivity. They will create e-invites, coordinate with clients and organize meetings/appointments at a suitable time for you.

Outsource Your Day-to-Day Hassles to an Flowz Personal Assistant

The Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Personal Assistant

Hiring a virtual personal assistant has been a game-changer for several business owners. Essentially, they are the external support your business needs to complement what it lacks internally. Here are some compelling benefits that will convince you to hire a virtual personal assistant today.   

 

1. Work-Life Balance

The constant hustle of running a business can often blur the boundaries between work and personal space, making it challenging to balance both aspects of your life. Hiring a virtual personal assistant will lessen the workload, giving you more space to stay balanced and focused. According to the Harvard Business Review, learning how to delegate puts you one step closer to being a great leader. It enables you to spend time on other priorities like building your business and focusing on your personal life. 

 

2. Cost-Friendly 

Hiring a full-time employee is cheaper than hiring a virtual personal assistant. Full-time employees need high salaries and are entitled to employee benefits. At the same time, a virtual assistant doesn't require high-end benefits. Furthermore, your virtual personal assistant wouldn't need an office or other physical resources because everything would be done remotely. Thus, hiring a virtual personal assistant is not only beneficial but also affordable.

 

3. Expertise 

 Virtual personal assistants usually specialize in multiple domains due to the nature of their work. However full-time employees generally come with a special industry background. Thus, your versatile personal assistant can replace multiple in-house positions at a nominal rate. This is especially useful when you are cash-strapped or just starting up. Virtual personal assistants are a sure-shot way to get more done with minimal expense.

 

4. Time-friendly 

Hire a virtual personal assistant to work on time-consuming administrative tasks and decrease your workload. They specialize in several areas and can quickly adapt to your business requirements. As a business owner, it helps you quickly free up your time and focus on your core responsibilities. 

Scale Faster with Flowz

5. Flexibility 

You can hire virtual personal assistants from anywhere, so they are compatible with working in different time zones. You are not limited to your business hours to complete your workload. These hardworking virtual personal assistants are available according to your schedule and can complete the job within your deadline. 

 

6. Scalability 

Another attractive benefit of hiring a virtual personal assistant is that you can tailor their services according to your needs. As your business grows, you can scale the assistant's workload. Whether adding more tasks or decreasing them, the assistant will adapt to your needs accordingly. 

 

This flexibility makes it easy to manage your budget and ensures you only pay for the support you need when needed. Additionally, by scaling your virtual personal assistant's workload, you can ensure they can always provide high-quality support and that you are getting the best possible value for your investment.

The Drawbacks of Hiring a Virtual Personal Assistant

Here are some foreseen challenges you might have to face if you're hiring a virtual personal assistant.

 

1. Potential Miscommunication 

Working with a virtual personal assistant eliminates the possibility of face-to-face contact, which can result in miscommunication. Dealing with delicate or complex jobs that demand a high degree of knowledge and clarity can make it more difficult. These risks can be minimized by following clear communication guidelines and scheduling frequent check-ins.

 

2. Security Concerns 

Most business owners are worried about data breaches when they hire a virtual personal assistant. Sharing highly confidential information becomes difficult and interrupts the workflow. Putting data safety measures in place or outsourcing these assistants from a company that guarantees data protection is recommended.

 

3. Technological Problems 

Since all of their work is online virtual personal assistants must have reliable access to technology. Any technological problems will interfere with their daily communication and completion of tasks. These assistants must have some knowledge or training to troubleshoot simple tech issues to improve their workflow.

 

4. Building Relationships 

It can be challenging to connect and build a strong working relationship with a virtual personal assistant as they are not physically present at work. Moreover, they might feel alienated as they don't get a chance to socialize with other employees and participate in the company culture. Virtual social events and team-building activities can help you solve this issue.

The Solution to Your Pain Points

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a virtual personal assistant, you have a good idea about their potential. However, these drawbacks may hold you back from hiring them. What if we told you there's a way to hire a virtual personal assistant without any hassles? 

 

Flowz is an industry-leading company that helps businesses outsource required services. Our virtual personal assistants are heavily trained and have years of experience working in several industry verticals. We have legal checks in place to protect any sensitive client information that's shared. Moreover, our assistants are internally managed, so you don't have to go through hiring, managing, or training them.

Get your time back with Flowz VA

To Conclude

It is fair to say that in today’s competitive landscape, virtual personal assistants have become indispensable. Many business owners have attested to the fact that hiring a virtual personal assistant has changed their life. Not only are they observing much more positive changes in their business, but they also have time to relax and focus on their personal lives. Based on the information presented above, it is highly recommended that you should hire a virtual personal assistant from Flowz.

Why Every Small Business Needs A Virtual Assistant

Small businesses start with big dreams. An entrepreneur must keep track of many daily tasks. These include managing customer service, marketing, advertising, and website maintenance. Additionally, these routine tasks take time, making it difficult to focus on business progress. To this end, budding businesses need an extra pair of hands to do tiresome work so they may concentrate on more important goals.

Hiring a full-time employee accounts for expenses. These include a desk, computer, the cost of employee benefits, and payrolls. In comparison, hiring a virtual assistant would help businesses avoid these expenses and save the firm 78% annually.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Find your Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) is a qualified and knowledgeable individual. They support businesses with administrative, accounting, marketing, technical, creative, and personal support.
In this competitive world, it becomes difficult for entrepreneurs to handle administrative tasks. To this end, virtual assistants allow businesses to stay on top of their daily tasks.
Hiring is one of the most challenging processes for firms to master. While hiring freelancers is risky, recruiting long-term workers is expensive. Businesses can use virtual assistants who knows what would be most good for your firm.

Employees vs Virtual Assistants vs Temporary Employees vs Freelancers

Employees vs Freelancers vs Virtual Assistants

Employees

Businesses hire workers as permanent employees to grow their company, uphold their workplace culture, and concentrate on their corporate goals. Hiring a full-time employee comes with:

  • The cost to recruit – advertising, interviewing
  • Monthly salary 
  • Employee benefits - insurance
  • Office equipment – desk, IT, phone, stationery 
  • Holidays, and other statutory payments 
  • Training & skill management costs

Temporary Employees

These workers' employment conditions are predetermined. Companies hire temporary workers for a range of projects and any period.

Pros: It is a great technique to locate staff when companies require them immediately. Additionally, it is an excellent option to augment personnel when permanent employees are on leave during periods of high business activity.

Cons: The lack of passion and demand for shorter working hours among temporary workers causes productivity challenges for businesses.

Freelancers

Freelancers are independent contractors that work for businesses on specialized projects locally or remotely.

Pros: Most freelancers are skilled professionals who exhibit high levels of skills and deliver projects on time.

Cons: Since freelancers come with different skill sets and salaries, finding the ideal one to meet the company's objectives can be challenging.

Virtual Assistants

A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who provides support to businesses remotely. They handle a wide range of business tasks, including:

  • Calendar management
  • Virtual admin services
  • Sales support
  • Travel and event management
  • Accounts and Bookkeeping
  • Marketing 

Pros: Hiring a virtual assistant is beneficial for companies as they only pay for the number of hours a virtual assistant works. Also, hiring a virtual assistant doesn't incur any overhead or travel expenses.

Cons: The best part of virtual assistants is that they come with the best skills and work remotely. So, hiring virtual assistants is not a good idea if businesses want someone to work internally.

3 Reasons Why Hiring Virtual Assistant Can Add Value to your Small Business

Hiring a virtual assistant is very beneficial for businesses. Virtual assistants are proven to add value to any business by reducing the workload, driving business growth, increasing efficiency, and enhancing productivity.

Here are the top 3 reasons why hiring a virtual assistant can add value to a small business:

1. Virtual Assistants Fuel Business Growth

Some virtual assistants have a wide range of specialties. While some VAs are specialists in marketing, scheduling appointments, bookkeeping, sales, social media management, and other fields. As a result, virtual assistants with a wide range of skills and the capacity to adapt to highly competitive business environments can foster the growth of budding firms.

2. Virtual Assistants Work 24/7

Virtual assistants can work around the client's schedule and are flexible with their time. Additionally, a competent virtual assistant completes and delivers assignments on schedule. They free up enterprises from administrative duties and provide them more time to unwind, network, and establish business strategies. As a result, virtual assistants help small businesses become more productive and efficient by handling different administrative and other business tasks.

3. Virtual Assistants Save Small Business Money & Time

Each year, process inefficiencies cost businesses. These are frequently the routine activities that virtual assistants (VAs) may carry out, from scheduling the workday to handling accounts and more tasks. Hiring a virtual assistant saves businesses time and money. With a VA, businesses don’t have to deal with a time-consuming recruitment process and can hire a VA as an as-needed contract worker instead of a full-time salaried employee.

Top 10 Businesses Leveraging Virtual Assistants for Growth

Virtual assistants help businesses be more productive by taking care of recurring and crucial business tasks. Here are the top 10 industries that are utilizing virtual assistants for growth.

1. Real Estate

Real estate companies must deal with a tonne of paperwork, create listings, and more. A real estate virtual assistant handles the repetitive tasks that a real estate agent performs. They make significant, valuable contributions to a real estate business at a fraction of the cost of regular staff. Virtual assistants in real estate organize meetings with prospects and edit digital marketing materials for properties. Additionally, they handle buyers under contract agreements, update MLS listings, close deals, and more.

Related: Real Estate Virtual Assistants: Why Do You Need Them?

2. Accounting & Bookkeeping

Businesses need an expert to maintain and interpret financial records. Since full-time accountants are so expensive, they are not an option for small businesses looking to reduce expenses.

Virtual assistants manage different tasks, including calendar management, bank reconciliation, data entry, record organization, and accounts payable and receivable. They oversee ledger entries, reconciliation of transactions, and bills. Consequently, virtual assistants look after the financial stability of small firms and assist with regular administrative responsibilities.

Flowz offers skilled accountants and bookkeepers adept at handling all accounting and bookkeeping business needs.

3. E-Commerce

Entrepreneurs, especially those who are just starting, find it challenging to run an online store. Managing orders, stocks, and live situations present challenges for businesses. E-commerce businesses can benefit from a virtual assistant's fast handling of duties, including order processing, product description, returns and exchanges, and product listing.

Small businesses who wish to promote and sell their products on online marketplaces can do so swiftly and affordably with the aid of virtual assistants.

An e-commerce virtual assistant can help small businesses with the following tasks:

  • Creative Designing
  • Photo and Video Editing
  • Website & App Development
  • Data Entry
  • Accountant & Bookkeeping

4. Information Technology

Find your Virtual Assistant

The IT industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Small enterprises must effectively manage their business operations to establish their brand presence in the competitive marketplace. To this end, a virtual assistant can aid IT companies in website development, administrative support, technical assistance, customer support, and more. They ensure the business has zero downtime and runs on a secure and reliable network.

5. Database Management

Database management is a tiring and never-ending task for any business. Also, it is the most critical aspect to run any business smoothly. Companies need to keep information on prospective clients, business contacts, order details, inventory lists and more. For this, businesses need experts to update their database with new data and manage the data. A virtual assistant can help businesses in preparing data, checking the accuracy of data, updating records, data management, data presentation, data backup and all the data needs with ease.

6. Human Resources

Every industry needs an HR specialist to handle human resources. Virtual assistants are an extension of an in-house HR and help businesses to manage their everyday HR activities. They keep HR records up to date, ensure the employee needs are fulfilled and act as a point of contact between the company and its employees.

A Human Resource Assistant can help small businesses with the following tasks:

  • Screening Job Applicants
  • Preparing Job Offers
  • Recruiting New Hires
  • Candidate Onboarding
  • Recording Employee Data
  • Performing Payroll Duties

Flowz's skilled Human Resources virtual assistant can help businesses to focus on their growth by handling all the HR tasks effectively.

7. Law Firms

Law firms use virtual assistants to enhance productivity, achieve profitability, and save costs. An executive virtual assistant can help law firms with all the activities that optimize business efficiency. They perform the following tasks:

  • Compiling Critical Data 
  • Preparing Evidence Charts 
  • Collecting Documents for Subpoenas
  • Monitoring Cases & Documentation
  • Performing Research & Analysis
  • Drafting Documents of Legal Disciplines
  • Managing Schedules
  • Reviewing Legal Documents
  • Understanding Legislation Trends
  • Writing Legal Briefs
  • Maintaining Research Database 

8. Entertainment

The entertainment industry comprises many tasks that involve finding venues, working with vendors, scheduling events, and managing registrations. A virtual assistant can aid businesses in the entertainment industry with administrative support, social media management, tracking supply inventories, and more.

9. Marketing

Hire a Virtual Assistant

The marketing sector is significant. However, managing marketing activities may be challenging for small businesses. It takes a lot of effort to plan brand marketing strategies, from conceptualizing the products to publicizing them. A virtual assistant can aid marketing firms with different jobs, including managing social media, running and managing ads, graphic design, customer service, and other duties.

A virtual assistant can aid a marketing company with the following duties:

  • Content Management
  • Social Media Management
  • Website Maintenance
  • Lead Generation
  • Email Marketing
  • Public Relations

10. SEO

Businesses seek SEO services from the very beginning to establish their brand presence, engage with their target audience, and uphold their reputation. Hiring a full-time employee with expertise in keyword research, running Google ads, managing social media ads, graphic design, and other similar duties is expensive. A virtual assistant could be a lifeline for small businesses trying to achieve their SEO objectives.

A Search Engine Marketing assistant can help businesses with:

  • Collecting & Analyzing Data
  • Identifying Trends & Insights
  • Maximizing ROI in Paid Campaigns
  • Managing Campaign Expenses
  • Launching & Optimizing Various PPC Campaigns
  • Overseeing Accounts On Search Platforms
  • Monitoring Budget And Adjusting Bids 
  • Tracking Kpis To Assess Performance

Conclusion

Every industry, especially those that are just getting started, requires a virtual assistant. Businesses can concentrate on the critical tasks that fuel growth by outsourcing business operations to a capable virtual assistant.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Delegate These 8 Virtual Assistant Tasks to Reclaim Your Time

Liam Martin hit home when he shared what business owners don’t get about virtual assistants. In his words, “when clients ask me about virtual assistants or remote staff, the first thing I get them to understand is what they as clients are good or not good at doing. This is often quite difficult for entrepreneurs, as they’ve usually been doing everything in their business themselves.” 

Sounds familiar? Read on as we share a list of (eight) virtual assistant tasks you can outsource today to leverage domain expertise while focusing on the business core. You will leave this post with a better understanding of how to delegate effectively and find virtual assistants. Let’s go! 

CTA to download Flowz's virtual assistant service guide

1. Accounting and Bookkeeping

No non-core task is a bigger time sink than accounting and bookkeeping. When they should be focused on finding product-market fit or growing sales, startup founders get routinely stuck reconciling expenses and statements.

You can learn bookkeeping basics to save money. But not only a few transactions can complicate accounting but any errors can prove very costly. Expert general assistants help you avoid that and ensure compliance with the latest laws.

2. Search Engine Optimization

You may have a great website, with stunning visuals and copy. But if it’s not optimized, it won’t rank and bring leads. Google is the world’s favorite search engine and gets over 270mm US unique visitors.

With a monopoly spanning geographies, Google offers businesses a tremendous opportunity to reach more people worldwide and expand their customer base. A search engine optimization expert performs a host of services like white-hat, black-hat, gray-hat, on-page, off-page, technical, international, and local SEO to ensure your website performs.  

Check out what Liam Carnahan has to say about SEO and what it takes to drive results!

Liam Carnahan's LinkedIn post on what SEO means

Image Source: LinkedIn

3. Image and Video Editing

Thomas Watson Jr, the second president of IBM, put it best when he said, “good design is good business.” But many skilled designers fail to tie design with business objectives. A strong web design helps you build a solid brand identity and win customer trust.

Be it online or at a brick and mortar, quality product images and videos are necessary to drive people to action. Best designers use the latest software and editing techniques to create visual assets for your needs.

CTA to book a call with Flowz team

4. Content Marketing

Marketing exists to make sales easier. And content - whether written or visual - plays a key role in generating leads and nurturing them through the sales cycle. If you share long-form content or post on social media without understanding the modern marketing landscape, you risk losing your target audience to others and denting revenue.

But expert marketers perform thorough research, create a strategy, and set success metrics to track the impact on the bottom line.

5. Social Media Management

Think a combo of creatives and copy is enough to grab eyeballs on social? It’s not. Unless you perform painstaking research to brainstorm ideas that may appeal to customers and support business goals, social media management is best left to virtual assistants.

They find the right channels and formats and follow algorithm best practices to ensure your content works. Tired of misconceptions around Duolingo’s s social media presence, Zaria Parvez, the brand’s Global Social Media Manager, offered some great insights into what social management is really like!

Image Source: LinkedIn

Let’s take another example. You may own a restaurant in California and need people to visit. Striking photos on Instagram and funny TikToks may incite visitors to check you out. But the same strategy won’t work for a B2B SaaS selling a tool to manage employee databases.

And which may need to post thought leadership content via carousels on LinkedIn to reach HR leaders. Similarly, employer branding and establishing credibility are two different business goals that need vastly different efforts. 

6. Customer Service

In saturated markets, exceptional customer service can prove to be a differentiating factor. Buyers have higher expectations from customer service than they did a few years ago, and more than half of them recommend a brand with great customer service to friends.

A tepid response to their concerns can invite resentment and cause churn. Skilled virtual sales staffing helps you offer quality support and avoid the following aspects of a bad customer experience!

survey result on the frustrating aspects of bad customer service

Source: Zendesk

7. Website and App Development

Irrespective of industry, digital platforms like websites and apps are necessary to take your business online and can have a massive impact on its success. In a digital-first world, people prefer visiting a business website before converting into customers.

But having these platforms doesn’t generate results if they are not sleek and designed keeping user experience in mind. Seasoned software staff uses top technology to build high-performing platforms for your firm.  

CTA to download a handout on the tasks you shouldn't delegate to virtual assistants

8. Email Management

Many advocate for email over in-person meetings or phone calls for business communication. While helpful, it has led to “email overload,” with executives reporting feeling bogged down by the number of emails they receive every day.

I can’t find anything in my inbox and I could spend my whole day responding to incoming emails are common refrain. But you can reclaim control over your email and stop it from hampering your productivity by working with a personal assistant. They organize emails, clear spam, send follow-ups, and flag important ones. 

Tips to Delegate Effectively

Delegation leads to a win-win situation since you can focus on the ‘core’ while tapping into expertise for secondary business functions. Yet, many leaders don’t delegate properly or at all.

Founders either lack the delegation skills or the time to explain tasks, follow up, take questions, or offer feedback. But that’s a clear sign you must delegate something out of your schedule. Consider these four tips:

  • Identify projects to outsource and define their scope in advance to avoid scope creep.
  • Fix OKRs and KPIs for virtual assistants to help them understand what success means.
  • Delegate to the right talent. Checks skills and experience before assigning tasks to a VA.
  • Build trust. Set clear deadlines and avoid micro-managing your virtual assistant. 

Note that successful delegation isn’t just about what comes before going hands-off. What comes after you cede control is as important. To ensure projects and tasks remain on track, remember to set a schedule for checking in and conducting a mutual review to identify hits and misses. 

How to Find Virtual Assistants

Entrepreneurs get so immersed in daily operations they mistake needing help with busy work. If you are working in your business more than on your business, spending time on routine tasks, struggling to maintain a work-life balance, or missing opportunities to scale your offerings - consider hiring a virtual assistant. They help you reclaim time and focus on growth levers.   

Juha Liikala, a business owner, shares when he decided to hire a virtual assistant

Image Source: Huffpost

But remember hiring a bad fit can do more harm than good for your business. Unless you have assessed needs, spotted skill gaps, and developed elaborate SOPs before hiring independent talent, communicating and collaborating with them may be challenging.

Likewise, if your job description is not built keeping virtual assistant cost and virtual assistant skills in mind, you may have to sift through countless irrelevant applications before finding the right person for the job. 

A clear idea of why to hire a virtual assistant helps you create a solid virtual assistant job description and choose the right platform for sourcing talent. Depending on the business model and maturity, you can choose freelance marketplaces to hire workers. Or, you can partner with a virtual assistant provider to save on hiring, training, office upkeep, and managing contractors. 

Final Word

Independent talent brings incredible value to the table. They can perform many common virtual assistant tasks and help business owners unlock their full potential. Book a call today to learn how Flowz’s virtual staffing solutions empower busy founders and executives to accomplish more in less time, hit deadlines, focus on what matters, and crush business goals. 

5 Tips To Write Your Virtual Assistant Job Description In No Time

Businesses found that using a virtual assistant instead of a full-time employee is more beneficial. Startups, in particular, have discovered the importance of VAs for sporadic projects and time-consuming, tedious administrative tasks.

Virtual Assistant Statistics

Image Source: Statista

In the US, there were approximately 67 million independent contractors in 2021. By 2028, this figure will surpass 90 million. Thus the market for independent virtual assistants will increase by $4 billion between 2021 and 2025, growing at a CAGR of 12%.

How a Perfect Job Description Can Aid in Attracting Qualified VAs

Companies struggle to bring the best virtual assistants onboard mainly due to poorly-written job descriptions. About 76% say that recruiting qualified virtual assistants is their biggest issue.

Virtual Assistant Job Description

A well-written job description:

1. Attracts the Right VA

By creating a compelling job description, businesses may locate the best virtual assistant to fit their needs. Thus, businesses can save substantial time during the hiring process and improve the quality of virtual assistant applications.

2. Aids Adequate Training

A qualified virtual assistant is usually well-trained. However, businesses need their virtual assistants well-versed in their work culture. With the perfect job description, companies can pinpoint where virtual assistants’ skill sets are lacking and create specialized training to fill those gaps.

3. Helps Gauge Performance

A thorough job description serves as a tool to gauge the performance of the virtual assistant by taking job competencies and responsibilities outlined in the description as guidelines.

What Skills & Experience Do Virtual Assistants Require?

Hire a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can perform different tasks, including managing several clients and ensuring that business owners get the best assistance possible. Therefore, before hiring a virtual assistant, it’s critical to understand their roles and their wide range of skills.

Here are the top virtual assistant skills:

1. Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills are essential in any industry where there is interaction with customers, employees, and other parties. In this sense, whether or not virtual assistants have years of expertise, they should possess excellent communication skills.

2. Project Management

A VA may need to have abilities in project management to develop and implement specific strategies, support firm projects, write emails and other marketing material for projects, or provide online support like website maintenance.

3. Time Management

A virtual assistant needs to handle several tasks at once as a virtual assistant, and good time management skills are a prerequisite. The ability to prioritize their workload to meet business needs is a quality trait in a virtual assistant (VA).

4. Attention to Detail

A virtual assistant’s main task is not only to complete tasks but to meet the high-quality standards of businesses. For this, a virtual assistant needs to be attentive to detail.

5. Tech Savviness

Virtual tools enable virtual assistants to function quickly and effectively. For this, virtual assistants must keep up with technological advancements and get practical expertise with tools such as Asana, Hubstaff, Trello, and others.

6. Customer Service

Virtual assistants must be able to deal with clients directly. Thus they must possess strong customer service abilities. VAs must maintain composure in all circumstances and perform well under pressure. Additionally, providing excellent customer service will strengthen client relationships and enhance brand reputation.

7. Data Entry

Data entry is the essential skill of a virtual assistant. A VA does document formatting, file organization, research, transcription work, and data presentation. A fantastic talent is also being able to type swiftly, especially if you require a virtual assistant for data entry tasks.

8. Subject Matter Expertise

A virtual assistant needs not to be a jack of all trades. They need to be good at two or three areas of expertise that give them an edge and a focused job search plus experience level.

Virtual Staff

9. A Learning Mindset

The desire to learn new things is the top attribute of a virtual assistant. Also, virtual assistants should be open to criticism and look for innovative ways to structure or streamline their work to fulfill business needs or KPIs.

10. Reliability

Finding trustworthy virtual assistants who can quickly put their expertise to use is difficult for businesses. A reliable virtual assistant assists businesses with crucial activities that raise production and efficiency.

Why You Need a Job Description for Your Virtual Assistant

Contrary to popular belief, companies should still create a job description for virtual assistants just like they would for full-time employees. Organizations typically designate an HR team to hire a candidate when employing a full-time internal employee.

Businesses usually don’t prefer and sometimes cannot afford to hire a dedicated workforce for the hiring process when it comes to a virtual assistant. A well-written job description may be sufficient for firms instead of a devoted team. To successfully hire a virtual assistant, a company must have a convincing job description.

Also read: Top 10 ways to Boost Business Growth by 10x

1. A Job Description Outlines Business Expectations

The objective of the job description is to attract the right virtual assistant by emphasizing the business needs, goals, and expectations.

For this reason, businesses need to write about candidates’ qualifications, experiences, and desired traits in an easy-to-understand manner.

Further, businesses can better control their expectations when they write job descriptions. It can become challenging if a company is hiring unaware of what they want the virtual assistant to handle. A thorough job description ensures that organizations are aware of their hiring goals.

2. A Job Description Aids In Narrowing The Job Search

A compelling job description can aid companies in sorting through competent candidates so they can schedule interviews that result in recruiting the right candidate who adds value to the team.

Job Description

For instance, a PR firm would want someone knowledgeable about the subtleties of the PR sector and who can match their skill set to fulfill organizational objectives.

3. A Job Description Aids In Finding Individuals With The Same Interest

A well-written job description acts as a tool for applicants to analyze whether or not their skills match up with business needs. However, it won’t dissuade every unqualified person from applying.

A qualified virtual assistant will be committed to achieving the company’s objectives, sharing your interests, and caring about building long-term relationships with clients.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

How to Write the Perfect Virtual Assistant Job Description

Any company wants to avoid wasting time writing ineffective job descriptions that don’t add value. There are a lot of virtual assistants available; you want to choose one that complements your business and has the talents you require.

The following are the steps in writing the perfect job description:

Step 1: Understand the Target Audience

Quotes

Zig Ziglar, a legendary sales trainer, once said, “People buy on emotion and justify on logic.”

It is accurate since people make emotionally charged decisions while looking for jobs. Therefore, when creating job descriptions, organizations must appeal to the target audience’s emotions (i.e., the qualified virtual assistant you want to hire). Recognize the candidates’ expectations and professional aspirations.

Example:

Create a persona for your virtual assistant that describes the traits, outlook, aspirations, and requirements. These profiles can help businesses better customize and target their hiring process to find the right virtual assistant.

Remote Employee Persona

Image Source: UXPressia

The image shows a sample employee persona demonstrating the employee’s skills, accomplishments, and objectives.

For instance , if a business wants to hire a social media virtual assistant, look for:

  • What are the virtual assistants career goals?
  • What are the strengths of the virtual assistants?
  • What are the challenges of virtual assistants?

These are sample questions. Businesses can create a corresponding job description to guarantee that possible applicants would fit in with their firm both professionally and culturally.

2. Optimize the Job Title with Keywords

Millions of job seekers use the Internet every day to conduct keyword searches. Now, companies must optimize the job title with keywords to reach out to potential candidates.

Include the keyword ‘virtual assistant’ including the specialization you are looking for. Here are some examples:

  • Virtual Assistant Needed for Busy Entrepreneur
  • Tech-Savvy Virtual Assistant with Excellent Communication Skills
  • Real Estate Virtual Assistant
  • Sales & Marketing Virtual Assistant

Instead of merely entering the headline, specify what assistance you require. It will make it easier for those who are qualified to find you. Furthermore, it will save you time by preventing ineligible individuals from clicking the job description.

3. Include Company Summary

The next step is to have a short blip about the company, including the company name, what the company specializes in, how fast the company is growing, what the candidate can expect from the company, and more.

Here is a perfect example from a KodeKloud job posting.

Job Description

Through this job description, a virtual assistant can discover more about the company, what it does, the company’s growth, goals, and more. It is an excellent way to find a skilled virtual assistant with similar ideals.

3. Get into the Details

An outline of the job description is crucial to attracting top personnel. Businesses must accomplish this by briefly stating what the position entails.

In the job description, the employer can briefly outline the duties, team members, and other specifics of the role.

4. List Responsibilities

A fantastic job description should include a list of the virtual assistant’s responsibilities.

After reading this part, the candidate will understand their responsibilities. As a result, the virtual assistant would find it simple to start working after hiring because they are already aware of their duties.

The following are just a few examples of duties that a general virtual assistant might have:

  • Schedule meetings
  • Answer calls
  • Organize calendar
  • Book tickets
  • Manage contacts
  • Provide customer service

5. Explain the Application Process

The CTA, which includes instructions on the application for the position, must be in the job description following the job description overview, responsibilities, duties, and competencies.

If a business uses a job board, instruct the applicants to apply by clicking the link in the job description. Employers should clearly state how potential applicants can access their website.

Conclusion

Hiring a virtual assistant is one of the best ways for businesses to get back their productive hours. For this, businesses shouldn’t spend too much time hunting for the best virtual assistant. With a perfect job description, companies can hire top talent.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant Cost: 4 Crucial Factors to Keep in Mind

Virtual assistants handle routine and taxing back-office tasks. Busy executives and founders hire them to perform both general and niche services so they can focus on core business functions and accomplish more in less time. If you want to hire a VA but are unsure about typical rates, read on. We share four major factors to help you gauge the virtual assistant cost accurately.  

But first … 

Is a Virtual Assistant Worth It?

Virtual assistants are incredibly beneficial for growing businesses. They boost productivity, improve work-life balance, and offer an affordable way to work with best-in-class talent. Virtual assistants also help you save on additional expenses incurred on full-time hires. But unless you have set up proper systems, they may not be the best solution for your needs.

Before hiring a virtual assistant, ask yourself these four questions: 

  • Have you prepared clear guidelines and step-by-step instructions for the hire?
  • Do you need help with admin tasks or a specialized virtual assistant service?
  • How much time can you invest in training and giving feedback?
  • What level of technical expertise do you need?

Virtual assistants don’t have access to insider knowledge and company resources. If you haven’t devised protocols to help them seamlessly collaborate with your in-house employees, consider a virtual assistant provider that not only finds the perfect fit but also has seasoned project managers to train and supervise talent to ensure your virtual assistants work efficiently. 

With that covered, let’s get down to the factors that impact virtual assistant costs.

Factors Determining Virtual Assistant Cost

Unlike in-house employees, virtual assistants don’t expect clients to pay hefty compensation. You don’t need to provide health and life insurance, travel allowances, competitive 401K matches, paid time off, and learning reimbursement to hire and retain top-notch talent.

But the following key factors can help you accurately estimate the cost of hiring a virtual assistant for business:

1. Scope

A virtual assistant can perform various tasks for your business. They can book meetings, manage social media, create websites, and design creatives.

You can club services into categories like marketing, customer support, sales, financial planning, or administrative work when planning what to outsource. The day-to-day virtual assistant tasks and the hours required constitute scope - a major factor determining the cost of hiring virtual assistants. 

2. Location

Virtual assistants work remotely which lets you hire talent from anywhere in the world. You may be in California and hire an independent worker from New York. Or you could delegate tasks to an assistant located in the Philippines or India.

The cost of living is different for all three areas. A virtual assistant in New York will cost more than their Indian counterpart and may also bill for the time spent on discovery calls and meetings.

CTA to book a call with Flowz team

3. Expertise & Experience

The core skills possessed by independent talent help them stand out. While some are beginners, others command substantial knowledge from previous in-house roles which lets them perform demanding work without supervision or detailed instructions. Expert virtual assistants know their worth and charge as per the complexity of the work.

4. Frequency

Virtual assistants can work full-time or part-time. They may come aboard for a specific project or dedicate a fixed number of hours each week. Depending on the arrangement and how hands-on you want the virtual assistant to be, the independent contractor may charge different rates.

For example, an assistant working on a one-off email campaign will charge less than a more involved consultant helping out with a business strategy.

infographic detailing the four factors determining virtual assistant cost

Other Key Considerations

Besides the above factors, virtual assistant skills and pricing options can also impact costs. Seasoned contractors can be picky about work and may charge monthly retainers. Whereas, beginners looking to build their portfolio may be happy to take up one-off projects and invoice hourly.

Growing startups that don’t have the budget to build an in-house team outsource their back-office tasks precisely because of the flexibility to hire talent as per business needs. As you calculate the virtual assistant cost and budget to hire independent talent, factor in: 

1. Virtual Assistant Skills

A virtual assistant may be a generalist or offer niche services. In-depth knowledge, experience, and familiarity with industry best practices also influence virtual assistant costs.

A good rule of thumb to go by is this - the greater the skillset, complexity, and expertise required for the job, the higher the pricing. For example, specialized virtual assistants would cost more than a back-office specialist handling data entry and billing111.

CTA to download Flowz's virtual assistants' service guide

2. Pricing Options

Virtual assistants do hourly, project, or retainer pricing depending on scope. If you need part-time help, you can pay by the hour or on a project basis. But a sabbatical leave may require you to hire talent full-time and pay a fixed retainer.

Freelance marketplaces and gig-based job boards are pocket-friendly options to find independent contractors but they require significant HR work. A dedicated virtual assistant provider like Flowz can match you fit the right fit and mitigate HR concerns and overheads on office upkeep.

How to Pay a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual assistants often work with multiple clients and use invoicing software for billing. Before hiring an independent contractor, ask them about their payment method.

While many still prefer the good old direct deposits, the rise of platforms like Stripe, PayPal, and Wise has changed the way virtual assistants accept payments and manage their finances. And that’s a wrap! Do you plan to hire a virtual assistant in 2023? Let us know in the comments below. 

Top 10 Virtual Assistant Skills to Look Out for in 2023

Virtual assistants add incredible value to the lives of busy business owners. Besides boosting productivity and improving work-life balance, virtual assistants help you cut overhead costs and optimize resources. But here’s the thing.

Though remote workers are immensely valuable for growing companies, you may end up with a bad fit due to a lack of clarity on the virtual assistant skills you should look for.

In this post, we highlight ten basic (but vital!) virtual assistant skills. These may vary as per role and job requirements but nonetheless are a good referential point for your next hire.

Whether you source talent directly through company channels or rely on referrals, industry networks, or managed marketplaces, ensure your virtual assistants possess the following skills to enjoy a long-term and smooth working relationship with them.

1. Domain Expertise

Subject matter expertise is the top virtual assistant skill to test. Your virtual assistant must have a strong grasp of industry trends and best practices to ace their job.

Freelance marketplaces and communities have both emerging and seasoned talent. Depending on business priorities and budget, you can hire beginners, intermediate, or experienced professionals to manage your tasks. 

CTA to download Flowz's service guide

Firms hire independent workers for many duties, but the most in-demand virtual assistant services include:

Bookkeeping

Different from accounting, virtual assistants offer invoicing, data entry, billing, reimbursement, reporting, payroll, and reconciliation as part of virtual bookkeeping services. They help you manage day-to-day company finances and ensure your accounts are accurate and up-to-date.

Email Management

A virtual assistant handles your personal or company email to review and resolve customer queries. They check all incoming emails, send follow-ups, and flag emails that need your attention. You can also entrust them with email marketing and reporting. 

Content Writing

Content writers create short and long-form content for both digital and print publications. They write blogs, email newsletters, brochures, ebooks, guides, digital ads, and website copy to strengthen your digital marketing.

Social Media Management

It includes tasks like creating and managing social media profiles, creating strategies, and posting and curating user-generated content to build a brand online. A social media virtual assistant also runs paid campaigns and collects user feedback via polls.

bookkeeping, email management, and content writing represented as the three most in-demand virtual assistant services

Back-office Administration

Virtual assistants handle non-core tasks that don’t add to the bottom line directly. An umbrella term for inessential activities, a back-office specialist helps you maintain employee records, prepare reports, and manage office equipment infrastructure, and supplies.

Audio & Video Editing

You can hire virtual assistants to remove unwanted background voices, synchronize audio and video tracks, add special effects, adjust color balance, and create soundtracks to enhance the quality of your multimedia assets.

Web Development & SEO

Independent website and app developers deploy leading technology and best practices to build intuitive websites and apps. Whereas SEO specialists offer on-page, off-page, and technical SEO audits to improve your platforms’ visibility on search engines and app stores.

Customer Service

Businesses rely on customer service reps to answer customer questions, provide information, and solve complaints. They trust reps to deliver exceptional customer experience and ensure complete satisfaction by processing returns, exchanges, and refunds.   

CTA to book a call with Flowz team

2. Technical Acumen

Website and software developers need high technical prowess to create scalable world-class digital solutions for your business. But even for non-tech roles, basic IT knowledge is essential for day-to-day tasks.

Your virtual assistant must be able to collaborate seamlessly over modern communication and project management tools and track new updates, without needing daily reminders from your team.

Likewise, good command over marketing technology comes in handy when you need your virtual assistant to create excel reports, presentations, design collaterals, or manage CRMs like Salesforce or HubSpot.

Computer literacy and comfort with trying new tools would make it easy for them to be on your software stack.

3. Communication

Virtual assistants often have to context switch and multitask while collaborating with clients. Being remote, they collaborate on project management software and attend video meetings in real-time to brainstorm and discuss ideas.

When hiring, check your potential candidate’s experience with sync and async communication tools and if they can communicate effectively. 

4. Attention to Detail

Detail orientation is a critical skill for virtual assistants handling administrative tasks like payroll, scheduling, or managing projects. They should be sharp-eyed and active listeners, able to distill complex ideas into handy notes for reference.

Businesses rely on virtual assistants to create error-free content, emails, and presentations. Whatever the role, ensure your virtual assistant can minimize distractions and turn in the best quality work on time. 

CTA to download handout on mistakes to avoid when hiring a virtual assistant

5. Team Collaboration

You may be looking for a personal assistant to plan and manage your calendar. Or your marketing team may need a designer to create graphics and videos for social media. Either way, both roles require a virtual assistant to collaborate with your team to understand priorities and act proactively on them. 

Probe into shortlisted candidates' work experience in a global and remote team setting. Do they come from a background of collaborative culture and are skilled in the practice of collaboration?

Glean their responses for awareness of, as Harvard Business Review puts it, “appreciating others, being able to engage in purposeful conversations, productively and creatively resolving conflicts, and project management” for team performance. 

A pro tip on working style. Some thrive in groups, others prefer to be one-person teams.

6. Time Management

Nothing kills productivity like procrastination. And with the rise of the digital era, it’s almost impossible to ward off distractions, with our devices constantly lighting up with the latest news and the next big breakthrough.

Virtual assistants are not immune to this sensory assault. Add multiple clients into the mix and the ability to manage time effectively to maximize productivity and hit deadlines is apparent.

Top-rated contractors are masters of the art of effective time management and know how to manage their schedules to get more done in less time. To test for time management skills, ask candidates to run you through their approach to handling big-ticket projects and high-priority tasks all due around the same week.

7. Organization

Organization and time management go together. It’s hard to be organized without effective time management and vice-versa. Many independent contractors are solopreneurs who juggle multiple clients at once and chase competing deadlines.

If your virtual assistant doesn’t have strong organizational skills, they’d struggle to prioritize deliverables and likely miss deadlines.

Ask prospective hires open-ended questions about their daily workflow and preferred style of working. Do they schedule tasks and create to-do lists? What systems and tools do they use to streamline administrative duties and manage projects? Check answers for insights into their working style and if it fits yours.

A pro tip that freelance marketplaces are a pocket-friendly option for SMBs but finding the right fit needs a lot of effort. A better option is a virtual assistant provider like Flowz.

8. Self-Motivation

In-house employees trade full-time jobs with alternative opportunities to work on their terms. The freedom to pick flexible working hours, clients, and projects is a strong incentive. According to a 2021 Upwork survey, American freelancers contributed $1.3 trillion in annual earnings to the US economy and more than half of non-freelance respondents expressed an interest in freelancing in the future. 

But freelancers also go in-house in search of a steady and predictable income.

Image Source: Superpath

Independent work is appealing but it also has its fair share of challenges. To successfully navigate the ins and outs of a virtual work environment, your hire must have solid self-motivation and concentration skills. Screen the resumes for the potential hires' experience in a virtual environment and the client history.

Their work experience on LinkedIn can also hold clues to reliability and credibility.

9. Analytical Bent

One common element between successful businesses is the will to measure performance and pursue effective strategies. Unless you hire a virtual assistant who’s comfortable with data and can interpret it to discover what’s working and not, you’d face difficulty identifying the right channels and tactics to focus on.

Let’s take an example. 

Social media is a powerful channel for SMBs to find traction with new audiences online. If you are a B2B company, LinkedIn paid ads may work for your business. Whereas for a B2C firm, Instagram may turn in good results. But without data to support either of these decisions, your virtual assistant may undertake social media activities that don’t yield any results and waste resources in the process.    

10. Creativity

Creativity is not a hard skill for most jobs - unless you are hiring for a creative role. Think writing, design making, or audio and video editing. But beyond these functions, creativity is also necessary to discover novel solutions to complex business challenges.

If you don’t have the time to share detailed briefs or offer constant supervision, your virtual assistant must be able to test and run with unique ideas that solve on-the-job setbacks. 

Bottom Line

Virtual assistants are an indispensable part of the post-pandemic workforce. Before hiring independent talent, identify skill gaps on your team and determine whether your business needs a full-time or part-time virtual assistant.

Get in touch to learn how Flowz empowers emerging businesses to build flexible teams and hit their goals.

Virtual Administrative Assistant: A Definitive Guide for Entrepreneurs

Administrative tasks are often tiresome, consume valuable organizational resources, limit productivity, and harm businesses. In-house workforce administration typically costs businesses more than per person annually. 

Consequently, businesses fail to devote enough time to focus on their clientele since 72% say they spend most of their time in tiresome administrative activities.

Outsource Business

A virtual administrative assistant can be what you need if you want to make the most of the time to expand your company rather than keep it afloat.

What Is a Virtual Administrative Assistant?

A virtual administrative assistant offers administrative support services such as database upkeep and organization, calendar management, appointment scheduling, email management, and more.

They work remotely by offering businesses a robust menu of assistance and handling the day-to-day tasks they don’t have the time to do.

10 Tasks A Virtual Administrative Assistant Can Handle

Virtual Administrative Assistant Tasks

A virtual administrative assistant helps businesses to keep their administrative efficiency in an optimal state 24/7. They handle administrative areas of your business, saving you time and money. Their tasks include:

1. Appointment Setting

As an entrepreneur, umpteen priorities vying for your attention, often make it hard to schedule appointments. A virtual administrative assistant sets meetings with prospective customers so that your best closers can seal the deal through personalized communications.

2. Document Formatting

A virtual administrative assistant ensures that your documents are formatted correctly and according to your specifications. Along with fonts, indentation, and margins, they check to see if the formatting components are correct. A virtual assistant can manage your document format requirements for both legal and corporate documents.

3. Transcription

If you want to get away from manual transcription or planning to swap traditional transcription methods, it’s time to embrace virtual administrative assistant service. Virtual administrative assistant services have certified transcriptionists who can work as an extension of your team, transforming the content from voice format to written records within the stipulated time.

4. List Management

It might be difficult for an entrepreneur to keep relationships with every client when they have a vast consumer base. A dedicated virtual assistant manages your contact list and can furnish an up-to-date contact list without duplicates or outdated contact information.

5. Custom Reports

A virtual administrative assistant can provide tailored reports for each recipient at every level of the hierarchy if your in-house team is overburdened with report creation. To make reports to your specifications, a virtual administrative assistant also handles the presentation elements.

6. Data Entry

Businesses must frequently manage their data, which takes time. For e-commerce, bookkeeping, CRM, or simply a simple spreadsheet, a virtual administrative assistant provides virtual data entry, maintenance, cleaning, deduplication, or manipulation.

7. Secretary Services

Administrative tasks may quickly take up most of your working day, neglecting more key duties. A virtual administrative assistant can perform different activities, including editing and formatting reports, setting up mail merges, and creating tables, images, and charts.

8. Market Research

While it takes time, market research is essential to any organization. A virtual administrative assistant conducts interviews, creates and analyzes surveys, and researches target audiences online.

9. Email Management

Every firm deals with a barrage of emails every day. Managing these emails can take a lot of time, which causes you to get behind on projects and end up working longer hours to catch up. A virtual administrative assistant can relieve your workload by ensuring you don’t have to sift through spam and send out quotes and bills on your behalf.

10. Answering Calls

Businesses rely on a virtual administrative assistant to handle calls, qualify prospects, and address client issues. A virtual assistant ensures that your company’s operations operate smoothly, providing more time to concentrate on business growth.

Why Hire a Virtual Administrative Assistant?

Productivity for Business

Often businesses remain in a dilemma of whether to hire a virtual assistant. So why exactly do you need a virtual assistant? Take a look at some powerful benefits of hiring a virtual administrative assistant.

Save Time

Every business owner wants more hours in their day. However, clerical tasks eat up their time. To this end, a virtual administrative assistant handles a gamut of recurring duties, leaving you with more hours in a day.

Reduced Operational Costs

Entrepreneurs spend oodles of money on administrative operations that include office space, office supplies, and more. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can substantially reduce your capital needs.

Studies reveal that virtual administrative assistants can save a business up to 78% of operating costs.

Preserves Entrepreneurial Sanity

Mindset is everything for an entrepreneur. When administrative work gets piled up, entrepreneurs become overwhelmed, which affects their work. A skilled and reliable virtual assistant can take the burden off your shoulders by handling all the administrative work.

Press For Attention’s founder, Greg Simpson, is aware that his strengths “are in invention and text.” He claimed that when he concentrates on his core competencies, he is “much more productive as a business owner and far more innovative as a consultant.” Considering it a win-win, he outsources all administrative work in his company.

Access to Skilled Staff

A virtual assistant understands your business. They are adept at fulfilling administrative tasks, enhancing productivity, and helping you meet your business goals. Flowz offers vetted virtual assistants with experience in catering to the unique needs of businesses.

Also read: 7 Unbeatable Reasons Why You Need a Virtual Assistant

5 Signs You Need a Virtual Administrative Assistant

Administrative Virtual Assistant

Entrepreneurs often encounter this thought “When do I need a virtual assistant?”  How can you tell whether you’ll get enough productivity from a virtual administrative assistant? Here are some signs that you may already need one and didn’t know.

1. The Exorbitant Costs of Hiring Employees

If you’ve been stressed out and burned out doing work. And, you often realize that you need assistance, but cannot afford to have a full-time employee. In such situations hiring virtual assistants can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee.

When it comes to the in-house employee, you have to manage long-term payroll with employee benefits irrespective of workload. In contrast, when you engage a virtual assistant, you only pay for the tasks or hours needed without paying for any additional advantages.

Full-Time Employee vs Virtual Administrative Assistant

2. You Lack Time to Commit to the Important Tasks

After addressing all the administrative responsibilities, business owners have no time left for work related to making money or pursuing their passions. Administrative tasks are necessary, but if you want to boost sales and revenue, you should focus on your areas of expertise.

If you don’t have enough time to handle your essential and high-impact activities, hiring a virtual assistant is the best decision.

84.4% of business owners claimed that hiring a VA has improved their operations.

3. You Lack the Skills to Handle Certain Tasks

Another reason for hiring a virtual assistant, you might not have any specific understanding of your field or business tool. You might take a while to perform research, leaving you with less time for important tasks. A good decision in these circumstances is to hire a virtual assistant.

4. You Often Miss Out on Business Opportunities

Making business decisions won’t be possible with your skills alone. Additionally, administrative work takes up much of your day. You can use the extra time a virtual assistant gives you to pursue your professional goals and do the research to create a better business plan.

5. You’re Failing at Customer Retention

It is difficult for businesses to achieve goals when they are short on time. You might have more time to devote to improving customer retention with help from a virtual assistant. Using a virtual assistant could make creating new plans and executing them easier.

12 Essential Skills to Look for in a Top Virtual Administrative Assistant 

Virtual Administrative Assistant

How can VAs become skilled administrators? What qualifications should entrepreneurs look for in a VA? The following are the twelve administrative support skills that make the best virtual assistants stand out:

Technical Skills

  • Software competency
  • Well-versed with online tools
  • Filing & records management
  • Research skills

Conceptualization

  • Time management
  • Problem solving
  • Organization
  • Resourcefulness

Interpersonal Skills

  • Communication
  • Negotiations
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Adaptability

How to Get Started with A Virtual Administrative Assistant?

These are some reasons why you might need to work with a virtual administrative assistant. It’s more productive, saves money, and guarantees that you can have a skilled staff without taking on the risks of hiring a full-time employee.

Then what are the steps to hire a virtual assistant today? Here are the key steps:

  1. Choose a trusted outsourcing partner, like Flowz.
    • Over 22 years of experience & expertise
    • Trusted by 4000+ clients
    • 5,500+ staff offering 150+ operational support services
  1. Book a call: Schedule a day and time that works best for you to learn more about the Flowz services.
  2. Relax. 
  3. Flowz’s team will analyze your business goals and identify your staffing and software needs.
  4. Flowz will source the perfect virtual assistant/s who can meet your specific requirements.
  5. The team lead sets KPI expectations, trains and monitors your staff, and oversees your project.
  6. They share weekly quality reports and bi-weekly feedback emails on your staff’s progress.

Conclusion

A skilled virtual administrative assistant can be an asset to your business. They save you a lot of time and money. Many entrepreneurs presume that they can manage alone. However, instead of wasting time on trivial tasks, you can hire a virtual administrative assistant to help you scale your business without exhausting your budget.

Find your Virtual Administrative VA

7 Unbeatable Reasons Why You Need a Virtual Assistant

The pandemic transformed the way businesses operate, causing them to adjust and adapt to the ‘new reality.’ They realized the need to outsource back-office tasks to meet business needs and goals. As they laid off full-time staff and went remote, they explored budget-friendly options, which led to a 41% hike in hiring virtual assistants through offshore agencies. 

Find that unbelievable? The below graph highlights the increase in inbound poll queries for virtual assistant services between 2019 and 2020. Check it out! Virtual assistants possess valuable skills and perform many in-demand services that add incredible value to the lives of busy business owners.

A piechart, with the breakdown of data trends on inbound queries to virtual assistants between 2019 and 2020

Image Source: NanoGlobals

In this post, we highlight the top seven reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant for your business. If you are on the fence about onboarding virtual assistant(s), read on. But remember, successful collaboration depends on well-defined tasks and goals. A mismatch in expectations could lead to a mutually unsatisfying relationship later. 

CTA banner for Flowz virtual assistant service guide

Before discussing the benefits of hiring virtual assistants, let’s start with the question - what is a virtual assistant? Virtual assistants are remote workers who handle your non-core operations.

They may offer generalized services or hold expertise in tasks like accounting, marketing, or social media management. A virtual assistant may source clients on a freelance basis, on managed marketplaces, or work in-house for a BPO, helping you with:   

1. Lower Overhead Costs

In-house employee hiring requires you to create hefty packages and benefits. Besides a base salary, organizations are responsible for health insurance, 401K plans, accidental coverages, workspace allowances, team offsites, and paid time off. Emerging businesses don’t have the resources to meet these demands.

Virtual assistants help you cut these overhead costs and focus on scaling.

2. Domain Expertise

Virtual assistants are subject matter experts who are constantly perfecting their craft. You can find the expertise you need and leverage it to build your business. The more seasoned the virtual assistant, the higher the value they bring to the table.

You can work with top talent without adding a permanent position to the payroll. 

3. Quality Work

Unlike most in-house employees, independent contractors compete for projects and constantly upskill themselves to remain in demand and attract premium clients. High-quality work helps them build a reputation and collect testimonials.

When hiring a virtual assistant, you can check their portfolio and determine if their skills and expertise match your quality standards and needs.

4. Quick Delivery

This one is no brainer! Virtual assistants balance quality with timelines. Full-time employees often juggle multiple priorities and struggle to prioritize effectively, which leads to delays and missed deadlines. But since most virtual assistants focus on one project at a time or operate within shorter timeframes, they share deliverables comparatively faster. 

5. Diverse Talentpool

DE&I initiatives are as important as ever. Most SMB businesses can’t afford to hire global talent due to logistics concerns. But hiring virtual assistants is a great option to engage with a larger talent pool without confining yourself to local areas.

Besides cost savings, a diverse team - comprising individuals from different cultural and educational backgrounds - leads to better business ideas and outcomes.

6. Lower Company Risk

Hiring someone in-house means investing in their career growth at your company. You invest time and resources in onboarding and training them to be successful in their role. But it can go to waste if the employee decides to leave. With independent contractors, you don’t run that risk. 

You can build contracts with clear deliverables and payment terms, without affecting your internal processes. The absence of a long-term commitment lets you optimize resources.

7. High Flexibility

Often, virtual assistants work flexible hours to serve clients in different time zones. While in-house employees are available only during specified working hours, independent contractors may also be available for last-minute emergencies.

Their flexible work schedules enable them to step up and offer support as and when necessary. 

CTA banner to book a call with Flowz team

Virtual Assistant Skills to Check

Besides core competencies, virtual assistants need soft skills to win at their jobs. Soft skills are a mix of people skills, emotional intelligence, personality traits, and social qualities that help them collaborate effectively and hit KPIs, especially when working in groups.

Whether you are hiring virtual assistant services to directly engage with you or in a team, check for these five crucial virtual assistant skills:

  • Communication: Your virtual assistant must be familiar with the latest online collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, Airtable, and Notion for async updates and should know how to communicate efficiently over video meetings in real-time.
  • Time Management: Seasoned virtual assistants stay on top of the schedule and know how to prioritize efficiently. Your contractor must have solid time management skills and a realistic understanding of how much they can complete in a day without getting burned out or missing deadlines.
  • Organization: Without a well-organized virtual assistant, it’d be hard to follow project timelines. Project management is a valuable and in-demand soft skill. If you are a busy executive and hiring a personal virtual assistant, check if they can work independently with minimal supervision.
CTA banner to download Flowz cheat sheet on the perks of hiring a virtual assistant

  • Self-motivation: The freedom to work from anywhere and on their own terms leads many to leave their full-time jobs and become independent contractors. But a virtual environment can get dispiriting quickly. When hiring, check your virtual assistant’s experience with remote work. 
  • Reliability: Trust is a big consideration factor when working with virtual assistants. Regardless of whether they charge hourly, by project, or a monthly retainer, they must be available during the agreed hours for any updates and catch-ups and take new assignments as per business needs.

Tips to Find the Right Virtual Assistant

Organizations have always been privy to the drawbacks of traditional staffing solutions. But the pandemic brought them to the forefront once again as remote work and flexible workforces - distributed teams and independent talent - became the norm. Onboarding virtual assistants is a great way to cut exorbitant recruitment costs and employee churn. Virtual personal assistants can also play a role to equip large team managers with a helping hand in many scenarios. 

But to enjoy a fruitful long-term collaboration with contractors, consider these tips:

1. Spot Skill Gaps

Unless you have identified business needs, it’d be difficult to find the right fit for the job. Do you need help with marketing, programming, design, or something else? Hard skills require job-specific and measurable competencies.

Let’s take an example.

A programmer turned writer can create highly technical product documentation but a content marketer may not have the coding expertise to write authoritatively on the subject. Once you identify the role and skills, determine if it’s an addition to the existing team or to support a new business unit or department launch.

2. Assess Goals

A well thought-out hiring strategy takes long-term and short-term staffing needs into account. Before you hire a virtual assistant, consider which roles require full-time help and which are better suited for a one-off project or hourly contract. 

That way, you can fill skill gaps quickly and scale or downsize your team as needed. 

3. Created Detailed JDs

Develop a job description featuring the role’s core duties and responsibilities. It’s easy to work off templates but ensure you tailor them before sharing them in your networks. 

A detailed JD is key to attracting the right talent and saving hours on combing through a high volume of irrelevant CVs. Don’t forget to add the soft skills and an “About Us” section - highlighting your company values and mission - to help potential candidates check the mutual fit.

4. Perform Extensive Research

Freelance websites, gig-based job boards, and outsourcing companies are all great options to hire virtual assistants. But in-depth research is necessary to steer clear of potential hiccups like misalignment on job requirements or hidden fees. 

A trusted virtual staffing provider like Flowz sources top candidates and takes full charge of employee training and management, without levying any additional charges.    

tips on finding the right virtual assistant

Take the Leap

The Pandemic pushed the frontiers of what the business world thought possible. No longer restricted to traditional hiring channels or strategies, companies can now access top talent and build scalable and flexible teams quickly. Hire a virtual assistant today and stay ahead of the competition curve!

Did this article answer your questions about why hire a virtual assistant? Tell us your challenges and goals below.

Our Customers Say Excellent... 4.6 / 5.0 Trustpilot

Choose Remote Staffing and Join Our Diverse Group of 4000+ Customers Today!
Employees
0 +
Delivery Centers
0
Services
0
Years of Milestones
0

DATA AND SECURITY

Your Data is Safe With Us

We provide top-notch security and compliance, keeping your data safe from leaks.