"What is the secret to your success?"

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions for all the high achievers of the world. From being fledging newbies to skyrocketing to the ranks of the best of the best lists, it is fascinating to hypothesize how some people attain their goals while others fail. And when businesses begin to flounder whereas others still manage to stay in their game, one couldn’t help but wonder how this could be possible. Is this through luck or is this the secret successful entrepreneurs seem to know about? How can we bullet-proof our companies to survive and thrive even in the direst of times? The answer may not actually be a secret at all, for it could very well be about having the foresight to know when, where, how, and whom to invest in. Simply put, the first step to a successful business could be in identifying the difference between saying, “I need a personal assistant” and “I need an online personal assistant”.

Virtual Assistants

An online personal assistant, or more popularly known as a virtual assistant, is a freelance worker who supports businesses and business owners remotely. He or she functions like any personal assistant or secretary with duties varying from general administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, making phone calls, and managing email accounts; to specialized services like content writing, graphic design, and internet marketing.

However, a virtual assistant is unlike a regular assistant whereas he or she could be armed with an extensive array of skill sets that can be applied to a wide range of industries. An online personal assistant is equipped to be of assistance to companies in more ways than one. Additionally, online assistant services are flexible in that they extend to any type of business, anywhere in the world, in any time zone and currency. Virtual assistants, therefore, are fast becoming an investment any company could not go without. Companies who employ virtual assistant services not only reap the benefits of a full-time assistant at a much cheaper rate, they also get so much more along the way.

Still undecided if an online personal assistant is for you? Here are 7 reasons why companies hire virtual assistants, and why you should, too.

Companies Hire Virtual Assistants Because...

Time Savers

1. They Value Their Time

American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, said it best when he mused that, “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

A smart business owner values his time by not letting himself get bogged down by repetitive tasks and instead delegates these to a virtual assistant. By having an online personal assistant manage, oversee, and accomplish undertakings that address his company’s non-essential or non-core day-to-day operations, the entrepreneur is relieved of his workload and is able to focus more on tasks that directly build and grow his business. Office support for supervisors and managers, fielding phone calls, responding to inquiries through emails or the company website, creating spreadsheets and presentation decks and internet research, are some of the administrative duties a virtual assistant can do to alleviate an already overflowing work schedule of an entrepreneur.

Additionally, when a business owner hires a virtual assistant who is knowledgeable and skilled on specific tasks, it enables his company to accomplish more for only half the period it would usually take them without help, thereby saving both time and money. Online assistants who are equipped for more specialized and technical work may be assigned to the following: content management services, SEO, website development and design, blogging, digital marketing, software development, medical and legal transcription, just to name a few.

A company hires a virtual assistant to make every second of its every day count.

Customers

2. They Value Their Customers

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all,” says Michael LeBoeuf, American businessman and author of How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life.

A smart business owner believes that the customer is king and has a bevy of online assistants on hand to help him prove that. One of the biggest reasons for the burgeoning virtual assistance industry is its flexibility. Because online assistants are able to function remotely, they can come from any corner of the world and can operate beyond the usual business hours. By providing customer support 24/7, virtual assistants are, in fact, at your customers’ “beck and call”.

Aside from providing services while in a different time zone, online assistants may also be hired to quickly respond to customer questions, create urgent email responses or Frequently Asked Questions, check on clients who may also be in a different time zone, and deal with complaints or requests for refunds or discounts in a timely manner. Additionally, having virtual assistants who can be tapped to step in for unexpected shortages on manpower, is a definite bonus for companies most especially during national holidays or emergencies.

A company, therefore, hires a virtual assistant to better serve its customers.

Products

3. They Value Their Products

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” As an art critic in the Victorian era, John Ruskin definitely knows the importance of good product development.

A smart business owner knows what his customers and prospective clients need because he employs a virtual assistant to be his “eyes” and “ears” in the industry he operates in. An online assistant helps steer companies into the hearts and minds of their target market by monitoring the online behavior of their customer base, listening in on conversations about their brand, gathering feedback from their clients, and observing their competitors. Moreover, companies are able to keep abreast with the latest news and developments in their industry through their online assistants. Some of these tasks may be simple, but they are essential and can be time-consuming. Businesses who hire virtual assistants to collate and make these data easily accessible to their employees are more likely to come up with products and services that best fit their customers.

A company hires a virtual assistant to improve its products and services.

People

4. They Value Their People

Internationally-renowned business leader and best-selling author Doug Conant believes that “to win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.”

Company productivity is largely dependent on two things: an effective system and an employer who genuinely cares for his employees to guarantee its implementation. A smart business owner hence hires a virtual assistant who will find and develop the right framework for an organizational system that will best fit his company. An online assistant does this by setting up a virtual workplace that provides structure to an organization’s workflow, covering everything from time-keeping, project management, and file sharing, among others. With a well-documented process and system in place, it will be easier to delegate work, track performance, and collaborate effectively within an organization. A virtual assistant enables companies to utilize frameworks that will benefit their employees, and increase their efficiency, while ensuring that mistakes and oversights will be at a minimum.

A company hires a virtual assistant because it cares for its people.

Growth

5. They Value Growth

British magnate, investor, and author, Richard Branson, deems that “a big business starts small”.

Every entrepreneur knows that hiring an employee creates financial, structural, and emotional costs on a company. Unfortunately, not all businesses can afford these expenses like most startups and SMBs. A smart business owner thus invests in virtual assistants to grow his company without sacrificing its capital. Because online personal assistants are essentially business owners themselves, hiring them affords a company with all the advantage of having manpower at a much lower cost than employing domestically. Companies, therefore, are able to allocate more of their capital in expanding their businesses such as starting a digital marketing campaign or upgrading their operating systems.

Moreover, hiring an online personal assistant may not just cost less, but it also brings in more value to companies who are looking to scale up their business. Virtual assistants are either experts in specific fields or experienced professionals who do not need further or rigorous training. A business owner also gets to build up his team while employing virtual assistants, by assigning localized work to his domestic employees. This way, companies are able to increase the value of the work they do without the high expenses.

A small company who hires virtual assistants could earn big time.

Branding

6. They Value Their Brand

A brand is no longer what we tell a consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is,” says Scott Cook, American businessman and billionaire.

A smart business owner understands the importance of having a great online presence that is why he has a virtual assistant to help him with his. An online assistant is a company’s best bet for all things digital. As a key player in the virtual landscape, he or she can assist an organization in implementing effective online strategies. By repurposing content that a company already has, a virtual assistant can infuse new life to old podcasts, blog posts, and webinars into other types of content such as slide shares, infographics, and e-books. Some online assistants also provide content production services such as blog writing, proofreading, and graphic design. What’s more, a virtual assistant can be tasked to keep companies informed on the hottest news and trends which they can use as material for their online content. With this, the company is fully-informed and updated with a wealth of conversation points with their customers.

A company hires an online assistant for his expertise.

Dedication

7. They Value Their Heart and Soul

Greek-American author and businesswoman Arianna Huffington surmises that “we think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work instead of the quality of time we put in.”

A smart business owner knows that investing in a virtual assistant is not only good for his business, but his personal life as well. Entrepreneurs are often swamped with both professional and social responsibilities that it can get overwhelming at times. When people are stressed, they underperform at work and worse, develop health problems. With a virtual assistant, business owners can unload some of his tasks to make room for more leisure time for his family and friends.

With an online personal assistant, an entrepreneur no longer has to spend a lot of time going through his email every day. A virtual assistant filters his inbox, highlights the more pertinent ones, and responds to the rest on his behalf. In addition, social tasks such as sending out birthday cards and thank you notes, and even handling personal social media accounts, can be easily handled by an online personal assistant as well. Moreover, virtual assistants manage calendars. May it be a professional or a personal one, an entrepreneur can be sure that having someone make appointments, deal with invitations, plan events, and remind him of these make a huge difference in his busy lifestyle. And with a personal virtual assistant, one never has to worry about missing a crucial business appointment or an important family event, simply because his schedule has been laid out and managed well.

The heart and soul of any company is its owner and his people. Company CEOs make hundreds of decisions each day and carry the weight of their effect on others as well. It is imperative, therefore, for these high-performers to always be at 100% capacity to make good decisions for his company, for the people working in his company, his family and loved ones, and ultimately, for himself.

One of the most important investments a company can make is hiring a virtual assistant.

The rise of virtual assistants comes as no surprise, not just because of the growing needs for cost-efficient but specialized manpower services, but also due to the rapid changes in the global economic landscape. However, getting virtual assistant services is not a guarantee for success. A smart business owner knows that there is no fool-proof way to achieve this, but having a strategic partnership based on mutual trust, collaboration, and shared goals with everyone you work with, especially your virtual assistant, is a big step towards achieving success.