Well done, you’ve decided you need some help with your administration so you can focus more on running your business. You’ve researched and identified the lucky VA. But now you’re faced with a dilemma. What kind of tasks should you give her?
How to identify which tasks need doing
Sit down and make a list of all the administration tasks you need to do which aren’t making you money. Make an estimate of the amount of time each one takes then choose the top three most time consuming. These are the main tasks you need to outsource. However, if you know you need some help but aren’t sure what with, most Virtual Assistants will offer a free initial one-hour consultation. If you’re unsure of what you want (but know you need some help), use that time to discuss the nature of your business with her, tell her how big it is and what it is you do. She will be able to help you identify the tasks that she can take off your hands to free up your time.
Or you can use this handy guide to give you some ideas.
Every business needs to keep on top of invoicing and credit control. You can set up your VA to run your invoicing and credit control online easily. There are some great online software packages available to help you do this. One of these is Invoicely which is great for small businesses, contractors and freelancers. If your business is bigger, you could try using QuickBooks or Xero which offer a larger range of options. Then if your VA is doing your invoicing she can also monitor payments and chase late-payers for you.
Your VA can also log your business expenses and keep a record of your receipts for your tax return. You don’t need her to be in the office, just pop your receipts and invoices into an envelope and send them over. Or if you’re local, she can drop in and pick them up.
Some VAs will offer full book-keeping services but please do check they have registered with HMRC before you engage with them.
Event co-ordination / management
Many VAs (myself included) will have had experience of organising company or team events in their previous roles. Most of us will have organised anything from a small team off-site to a large conference. These things don’t run themselves, and it’s not just a case of ringing a venue and making a booking. A VA can research suitable venues, negotiate prices, invite everyone from attendees to suppliers, speakers and guests, prepare and consolidate presentations, liaise with the venue and be there on the day to ensure everything runs smoothly. She can also help you with product launches and client events.
You don’t have to employ a PA or an EA full-time in order to have your business diary, inbox and travel and accommodation organised. A VA can do this just as easily as a full-time employee. Technology means that she can add your calendar to her own Outlook or Gmail and can manage your meetings and keep an eye on your inbox. She can also book travel and organise your itineraries including your meeting papers and any presentations you need to take with you.
There are so many small tasks a VA can help you with that come under this heading, it would be impossible to list them all here. However, the kind of tasks I enjoy doing include: building and maintaining your company website and adding SEO (Search Engine Optimisation – so Google will find you easily), planning and writing your social media presence, writing and sending newsletters and blogs or assisting with an office move, whether to a new building altogether or just a new office within your current building. She can also help with minuting meetings – this is a real skill in itself and not all VAs will offer it as many don’t enjoy it. Many VAs will have experience in project support. I myself have a lot of experience in this area and it’s something I really enjoy. She can also organise your end-of-project celebration if you like!
Personal Concierge Services
Many busy company owners just don’t have the time, or the support at home, to keep on top of the things that make their personal lives go smoothly. Or perhaps there are a few things you could use a VA to do which you can’t ask your other half for. Things like Christmas and birthday presents, a surprise weekend away, an anniversary meal, tickets to the theatre or a concert. A VA could also happily organise your family holidays, check on the house and keep on top of your mail while you’re away. Or it could be something as simple as collecting dry cleaning or ironing to ensure you always look your best.
Do check out my full list of services to see what else I can help you with to give you the time you need to focus on your core business.