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How Virtual Assistants Could be the Key to Your Small Business Staying Afloat through COVID-19

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Why You Should Hire Virtual Assistants to Help Expand Your Reach

These are not easy times to be a small to medium business owner. In the face of the rising COVID-19 global pandemic, many of us are left with questions about what moving forward during and after this crisis means. Perhaps the biggest question of them all being:

“How do we move forward, quickly, before getting left behind?”

We get it. Many small businesses are in the process of having to completely re-structure their day-to-day operations, which is a lot of work and takes a great amount of logistical coordination. Think about some of the changes we’re seeing in so many small businesses in the past months:

  • In order to just stay open, restaurants are shifting over to online ordering with take-out and delivery only.
  • Yoga studios are moving their classes to Zoom, Skype, and other platforms.
  • Accountants are telecommuting with their clients and solely accepting digitized documents.
  • Various places of worship have begun to offer streaming services and private video counseling rather than meeting in person.
  • Many small retail shops are finding themselves jumping into online e-commerce, some for the very first time.

These kinds of expansions can feel intimidating to small business owners, even given appropriate amounts of time and under the best of circumstances. However, whether your business is considered “essential” or not right now, it is probably time for some overhauling of your processes. Our world is changing and adapting to that fact is more important than ever.

At this moment, the common thread we see in businesses that are thriving amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability to adapt and incorporate technology into their daily operations and in their deliverable products. Technology is more accessible than ever before, and it’s allowing so many businesses to reach wider audiences and brand new markets.

Remote work has never seen such high numbers – and it’s not just in the U.S.; it’s around the world, and the current global pandemic has created an increased necessity for it. While there is no way to make your small business completely “pandemic-proof,” there’s one easy step you can take to keep the chaos of the moment at bay as you move forward – you can hire virtual assistants (and do it without breaking the bank).

Regardless of what kind of business you run, chances are that you need extra help right now and aren’t necessarily in a position to hire more in-house staff. Do you dream of being able to delegate tasks like email or database management? Is a ringing phone keeping you from managing other tasks? A Virtual Assistant might be the solution to many (if not all) of your problems.

What Are Some of the Benefits to Hiring a Virtual Assistant?

Probably the single most important thing a virtual assistant can do for you is provide relief from the day to day processes that slow you down from actually running your business. We are all feeling a little overwhelmed these days, but imagine if you had an assistant who could take a few tasks off your hands every day and lighten your workload? There are many benefits when you hire a Virtual Assistant, some of which you may not have even imagined (yet).

Virtual assistants already know how to work remotely

In a time when remote work is new to many, it won’t be to your virtual assistant. It’s likely that they’ve been working remotely for much longer than most. Virtual assistants can help streamline the process for you and won’t need the training or long “onboarding” time that is typical of a new employee, especially in a remote environment.

If your entire business is shifting to a remote-work model, as many are, they can also help you train your current employees to do so efficiently. This is vital in maintaining clear communication within any company, and a virtual assistant is just the kind of person who can facilitate this for you.

Handling all of your marketing tasks just got easier.
Do you spend an inordinate amount of time writing promotions and putting together other marketing content? There are virtual assistants who specialize in this and can handle the work for you, from afar. This includes:

  • Web Design
    Many small businesses don’t update their websites as frequently as they want or need to due to lack of time and/or ability. If you hire virtual assistants, they can do this for you. They are well-versed in most standard webtools and can quickly update your website to reflect the daily changes in our lives (and your business) during a global health crisis and beyond.
  • Social Media Monitoring
    One of the major time-sinks that many small business owners lament having to worry about is social media. Whether it’s post updates, keeping stories current, comment monitoring, or responding to customer questions and reviews, it’s time consuming and not necessarily the best use of your working hours. Virtual assistants know their way around social media, since, in addition to having formal backgrounds in technology and media, most of them have grown up with it. They can help you improve your content, increase engagement on your posts, and chat with your following.
  • Blog or Newsletter Writing
    If your small business maintains a blog or sends out a newsletter, you know how easy it is to get behind on updates, especially when daily operations take precedent. Whether you’re a flower shop or a property management company, chances are, you need to be reaching out more to your clients, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let your virtual assistant help create regular blogs or newsletter posts to keep your public informed and aware of what you offer and what (if anything) is changing.
  • Branding, Graphic Design
    If you are one of the many businesses moving to e-commerce, you have undoubtedly realized how important both branding and graphic design are. Many virtual assistants specialize in these areas and can do the work for you at a fraction of the cost of a graphic design firm.

Aside from the various marketing-related tasks you can have taken care of when you hire virtual assistants, there are still many more daily and weekly items to consider being able to free yourself of.

  • Payroll
    Managing payroll can be time consuming, especially for small business owners who may not have a dedicated division or staff member to handle it. This is another task that a virtual assistant can take on, so you don’t have to.
  • Customer Support
    Virtual assistants can and do regularly handle customer support for small businesses from property management companies to yoga studios and even accountants. If your accounting firm were to go entirely online, wouldn’t it be nice to have a dedicated staff member to contact clients and prepare them for what they’ll need to have digitized before your video chat with them?
  • Employee Support
    If you are changing day-to-day operations of your business but keeping your staff on (remotely or otherwise), this is a really great way to make sure they feel supported. A virtual assistant can field any questions your staff might have and be the central hub for announcements, changes, and updates.
  • Market Research
    Even if you are unsure which direction to take your small business in during a global pandemic, a virtual assistant can find this information for you! Market research on similar business types is essential to see what is working and what isn’t in these highly unprecedented times.

Other Reasons to Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Those are the most common tasks that bring businesses to seek out virtual assistants, but they are more aspects of running a business that they can take off your plate. Here are a few such tasks.

Scalability
Virtual assistants work within your budget, on short-term contracts, so there are no hidden fees or obligations. For example, if you are a restaurant owner looking for lots of tech support for the first month or two of implementing on-line ordering, your virtual assistant can help you establish a system that works for you and your staff, then decrease their hours as needed. This is a big selling point for many small businesses because it allows them to have an expert consultant involved in the process, helping to increase revenue, but with diminishing labor costs over time. Of course, once you start working with a virtual assistant, it’s entirely possible that you’ll find more for them to do, as it becomes clear what a valuable asset they are to your company.

Handle any tasks you might not know how to do, and/or don’t have time to learn
With time and study, of course, you could become a social media guru or an expert programmer, but most small business owners don’t have that kind of time, especially right now. If, for example, you need to convert your small retail storefront’s website over to e-commerce, and fast, you’ll want someone who already has experience doing this. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Virtual assistants can help facilitate making this transition and set it all up for you, so all you have to do is mail your product out to your customers. They can even set up and schedule any video conference calls you may need to have but were too busy to figure out how to organize.

Increasing your company’s reach through website localization
Many virtual assistants are bilingual, which means that they can also help you to localize or translate your website and services into another language and provide support in that language – organically growing your business. With there currently being more Spanish-speakers in the United States than in Spain, this is a huge market reach that you may not have considered before. Think about being able to reach 50 million more consumers, instantly.

Whether Your Business Is Retail or Accounting, Virtual Assistants Can Help

From marketing tasks to employee support and market research, a virtual assistant could be the key to adapting and growing your business in uncertain times. Many of the businesses we see thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic are doing so precisely because of their embracing technology. Top virtual assistant services are leading in many of these technological charges, as they have the expertise that most small businesses need with years of experience in the field.

If you’re wondering how to hire a virtual assistant, Virtual Latinos can help! Our certified team is at the ready for any of your virtual needs and can help you start growing your sales today.

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