For many small business owners and entrepreneurs, delegating isn’t always an easy task. Choosing what to outsource can be a tough decision, especially if you have been used to doing it all yourself up until now.
You had the great idea for your business, planned, launched and started running your business. How can anyone know how to do it as well as you can?
However, hiring a Virtual Assistant could be the best business decision you make. Once you work out what tasks to outsource, you can refocus on what’s important and gain the freedom you need to start developing your business.
Choosing and learning what you can delegate can be tricky for many entrepreneurs who have been used to doing everything themselves.
To help, here are 5 tips to help you successfully hand over to your Virtual Assistant:
1. Work out what you can outsource
Write out a list of everything you do daily and how long you spend doing each task – from checking emails in the morning to recording receipts at the end of the week and everything in-between.
Next, highlight the list with the tasks you could comfortably outsource – consider the ones that take you away from your core business needs; the ones that you procrastinate over; the ones you enjoy but don’t need to do.
- Is time spent researching travel arrangements or insurance comparisons really the best use of your time?
- Do you have a huge pile of filing waiting to be done?
- Are you wasting hours filtering unimportant emails or do you have umpteen business cards on your desk still not entered into your database?
- Which of the jobs on the list aren’t your skillset?
You’re not an expert at everything and don’t need to learn every skill to be successful. Outsourcing these tasks means you can focus on where your strengths lie – overseeing that project or working or business growth.
What do you like doing but know it’s a time suck? You may enjoy social media but are you finding time to maximise your business profiles to their best potential? A Virtual Assistant can support your marketing strategy, creating and scheduling posts.
If you can maximise your productive time by delegating these jobs, put them on the list and hand it over!
2. Give a clear brief
Communication is vital when you first begin to outsource. Your Virtual Assistant may have many years of experience and worked on similar tasks with other clients, however, to achieve the best outcome, you need to be clear on what you would like to achieve. Working virtually may mean you need to have several Skype calls to talk through the tasks, and further communication by phone or email. Using a shared project tool can help you both keep track of where tasks are up to.
Do encourage questions and ask the Virtual Assistant to clarify any points they are not sure of. It is also worth documenting in an e-mail the task details, deadline and expected duration. Make sure you factor in extra time in case plans change.
If you have a very set vision of the result, make sure you communicate this. If you wish to have reports or research in a certain layout, font, or format, send examples or advise your VA in advance so they can follow this brief. Receiving data or facts & figures back in an unfamiliar way may leave you frustrated. Communication at the outset is key. Your VA is there to support you and your business and wants to work in the best way to benefit you.
4. Be accessible
Once the task has been delegated, make sure you are available to the Virtual Assistant, especially if working to tight deadlines. You may need to ask for drafts and re-writes, wish to approve decisions and documents or confirm travel plans and payments – confirming your availability will help the process run swiftly and issues can be dealt with as they arise.
5. Monitor and evaluate results
Having a regular check-in with your assistant can help you see how tasks are progressing. You may like regular summary emails or copies of insights for campaigns, so you can monitor results. Ongoing reviews of the processes you are using, looking what is working well, can help you continue to work well together.
Starting a relationship with your new Virtual Assistant with clear expectations and communications can lead to a successful and rewarding collaboration. Your VA can begin to work and support you efficiently and you gain time to move forward with your business.
Interested to see how delegating can help you achieve more?
Get in touch and see how Cotswold Colleague can help.