The word “virtual” comes up in a lot of conversation these days. There is virtual memory (I wish I could buy some of that, I forget everything), virtual reality (isn’t that when the last kid leaves home and the dog dies?), virtual pets (aren’t they they best kind?), virtual makeovers (I’m married so I won’t touch that one!), virtual servers, virtual networks, even something called “virtual earth” – whatever that is.
What I’m going to talk about is “Virtual People.” And no, I’m not referring to cartoon characters or the Avatar movie. What I want to share is how “virtual people” can bring your business to the next level and why you should seriously consider using them. (And isn’t that an annoying phrase? How many times do marketers use “…bring your business to the next level” as a buzz word to get your attention – like I just did?).
“Virtual people” (better known as virtual assistants or virtual staff) can make the difference between night and day in your business. More than that, the impact will often carry over into your personal life as well. Imagine having an employee, or better yet, a team of employees, at your disposal to do all of those chores that typically keep you up late at night, cause you to miss the kids ball games, keep you pre-occupied when you should be relaxing and enjoying yourself, tie up your weekends, cause you to stay tied to your laptop and cell phone when you’re on vacation because you’re worried about missed opportunities, and otherwise take the joy away from owning your own business. (You do remember the excitement and anticipation – and maybe even the fear – you felt when you started putting your business together? The joy of your first sale? I really hope you do!). If you’ve lost that joy, then you need to listen carefully to the rest of this post!
What could that employee or team of employees do for your bottom line? What if they could answer your phones and interact with your customers in a personal and professional way with the same care and concern that you would have? What if you could be assured of not missing important calls and/or potential business? Imagine having someone managing your appointments, ordering your supplies, providing customer service follow-up, dealing with vendor issues, managing your database – basically doing all those necessary chores that keep you from doing the important stuff that only you can do! Suppose you’re stuck in traffic, or a meeting runs late which puts you behind schedule. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone in your office who could call your upcoming clients to advise them of your delay and either get their permission for you to be late, or to reschedule at their convenience? You get the idea.
And what if you didn’t have to pay them for training time as you would a new employee? (How many times have you hired an employee, paid them for training, orientation, etc, only to lose them after a few weeks or months? How expensive and annoying is that?)
Now what if you had these employees available to you 40 hours per week, but you only paid them for the actual time worked? And if one or more of them were sick or on vacation, it wouldn’t matter because they would have a replacement immediately available – AND you wouldn’t be paying for their sick time or vacation time.
If your office is in your home, which is an increasing trend, where do you put your employees? Do they share the family bathroom? Kitchen? What’s your liability if they’re allergic to your cat? Or if they slip on the ice cube that fell out of the glass of soda they poured from your refrigerator? And if your office is in a high rent area like New York City, how much are you paying per square foot for each employee? Imagine the savings if you could reduce the square footage of your office! How much are you paying for their down time? (Studies have shown that even really good, conscientious employees waste as much as 40% of their productive time, and you’re paying for that! Click here to see the study).
Suppose this team of employees is not sitting in your office using your bathroom, complaining that it’s too hot or too cold, or tying up your expensive square footage, but they are “somewhere else”, waiting for the phone to ring while they work on the various tasks that you’ve assigned. And if they’re not doing anything, then you’re not paying them.
What else? Suppose this team is overseen and managed by a Virtual Admin Assistant who is responsible for your account and your satisfaction. This person will become your new right arm. In the role of ‘Virtual Office Manager’, she’ll know your business as intimately as an in-house Office Manager, and will handle some critical tasks personally, and delegate other tasks to her team. You’ll train her (at no cost) and she’ll train her team. Ultimately, you’ll have a small, dedicated team of 3-5 workers who are trained in the policies and culture of your office.
And now the best part: Suppose you only pay for the actual time that they work for you? In other words, if you only need one or two of them a couple of hours a week, that’s all you’ll pay for – even though they are available anytime during the normal workweek. If you only get 3 phone calls a week – one on Monday morning, one on Wednesday at noon, and one on Friday afternoon, they’ll be answered. How would you hire in-house staff for that? If your business slows down a little, you would have to worry about keeping your employees busy – or dealing with hour reductions or lay-offs. Not so with your virtual team. On the same token, if you suddenly embark on a successful ad campaign and your business activity picks up, you don’t have to worry about bringing on additional staff or temps, they’ll be provided automatically – because you have a team at your disposal!
You get the idea: You have access to a fully trained, professional team of employees as you need them. The beauty: They’re not your employees or your responsibility, so you don’t have to deal with all of the baggage that comes with having employees (I know: I’m their employer so I’ll deal with that “stuff” so you won’t have to!!).
AND WHAT ABOUT COST? It’s not as expensive as you might think. In fact, compared to hiring staff, it’s downright inexpensive. We have plans beginning as low as $200/month for small businesses and startups. In fact, the majority of our small businesses pay in the range of $300-$800 per month for the type of coverage we’ve discussed above.
And did I say that ALL of our staff are American based? Absolutely!
Feel free to leave a post with your thoughts about this topic. And of course, if you would like to discuss our virtual staffing solutions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 877-369-0066.
Until the next time,