Virtual Experts, also known as virtual assistants, were predominantly used more often in Western countries and were mostly unheard of or had little presence in Asian countries until the pandemic hit in January 2020.
Companies were forced to operate with staff working remotely from home and with remote work being enforced for employees, most companies came to the realization that remote work is actually possible and some roles do not even require full-time employees. In these turbulent times, profit loss margin makes it even more important for companies to evaluate whether they are using resources effectively, and that includes manpower.
The forced evaluation actually became a wake-up call to the C-level executives in many companies. How resources were used and wasted in the past and how they can be used more effectively moving forward, pandemic or not. It is imperative for businesses to maximise their resources to ensure continued success and longevity in the marketplace.
In a 2019 survey done by Statista, 59% of 1,328 working professionals in Singapore said they would chat with their families via mobile apps or speak with colleagues over personal matters during working hours which means productivity was already affected at the office in a way.
Using a virtual expert can shave off hours from your week, believe it or not; but knowing which tasks to delegate can be tricky at times whether you are just starting out as an entrepreneur or in the middle of expanding your business. Most virtual experts are contract or freelancers who work from home but what makes them different from full time employees?
In a nutshell, you can SAVE HUGE on overhead costs (rental, CPF contribution, staff benefits) and time. Tasks inherently get done on time and productivity is not affected at all because virtual experts are basically the professionals in their respected fields of expertise. They know the scope like the back of their hands and are paid by the number of hours they work so you can be assured of their productivity.
Now that you know the great advantages of using virtual experts, we have compiled a list of things you can outsource to a virtual expert.
Here are 10 ways to improving your business turnover:
1. Email Management
Raise your hand if you still have 999 unread emails in your inbox? This is so true for so many of us! Emails flood your inbox everyday without mercy and your mind just automatically shuts down looking at the influx of emails, leading to some important emails being missed and not replied to.
To keep you from wasting time, virtual experts will filter your important emails and respond to the rest on your behalf. However, you will need to give guidance to the virtual expert on which key emails to pick and keep you in the copy loop before sending out any responses to reduce the probability of errors.
2. Online Research
This is a simple but yet time consuming task once you start on it so you can easily assign internet research to the virtual expert. Common requests are finding information on corporate websites, generating organic leads, vetting customer or business contacts and exploring new products etc.
Make sure to send clear instructions on the type of research you are looking at, with your user account details especially when it comes to specialty search tools or paid websites.
3. Graphic Design
Graphic design is a specialised skill and it takes time to edit an image, let alone create one from scratch. Furthermore, you must have learnt the skills and have access to the paid software (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign). You could possibly spend hours just to do up that perfect picture, making sure all the elements are in place such as typography, hierarchy and colour etc.
“Uh…my head hurts”. We feel you and that’s why for such time-gruelling work, it is best to leave it to the virtual expert who can whiff up the design magic quickly for you so you get to have beautiful designs while you use the time to do what you are good at.
4. Social Media & Marketing
Due to the pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of businesses turning to various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) to promote their branding. A virtual expert with stellar social media acumen will understand how to get noticed, liked and shared on all the social media networks. He/ she can even set up the account for you if you have not started.
It is not enough to just tweet or share a post, the virtual expert will be able to write, edit and share content; perform a social media audit, upload Insta-worthy pictures and even answer enquiries. So instead of diving into seemingly easy and unchartered waters, leave it to the virtual expert to handle the social media works for you so you can focus on your priorities.
5. Web Maintenance & E-Commerce
E-commerce has been booming and online shoppers have increased over the years. In 2019, e-commerce sales have surpassed 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide and the pandemic in 2020 caused a surge due to lockdown and many had to shop online for groceries, electronic gadgets etc. Definitely a year to get your e-commerce store up and running or to improve if you already had one!
A virtual expert is not only able to set up the e-commerce store for you, he/ she can also list the products, make improvements on the features, maintain your website and even do the search engine optimisation (SEO), driving increased traffic to your website.
6. Executive Admin
Do you agree that administrative tasks take up a huge portion of your time, leaving you with little or no time to do what you initially planned at the end of the day? Add unexpected elements like phone calls and customer complaints; woah, that’s almost one whole day wasted already!
It is usually the nitty gritty of the daily grind that gets to us so rather than frustrating ourselves with these burdens, you can safely outsource it to the virtual expert to handle most menial tasks. Receptionist duties, sending invoices to clients, creating reports – you name it! The virtual expert doubles your productivity with half the time and effort. That’s what you call the 4X effect!
7. Scheduling and Planning
Sometimes when we are busy, we forget to schedule that important meeting with clients or accept invitations from others. Messing up our schedules and causing an occasional overlap; which might lead to lost opportunities or network contacts.
With many scheduling tools available online, virtual experts can manage the calendar for you including the planning of events. It might be awkward to hand over your work and personal calendars to a complete stranger but look at it this way. You did not know your employee too when you first hired him/ her, right? It is about losing control and letting go to pave the way for boosted productivity and revenue.
8. Expenses and Invoices
Gosh, another daunting task! <shudders> Businesses incur so many expenses and invoices a month; you not only need to make sure the amount is keyed in correctly in creation of expenses and invoices but you also need to label and sort the files electronically in the right categories.
There are many expense management tools available including Xero, Quickbooks and Expensify. All your expenses and invoices can be tracked real time. With the help from a virtual expert, handling all these will be a breeze! You can even retrieve detailed reports easily.
9. Price and Product Comparison
You have been wanting to spruce up your home-based office, making it more liveable to beat the cabin fever. A vibrant red coffee table or a succulent plant will do just the trick! Well, the end of the pandemic does not seem to be in sight any time soon. Even shopping for daily necessities has become a chore with the constant meetings and whatnot.
This can be assigned to the virtual expert too. He/ she can do some internet research to compare prices and products based on your preferences so you do not need to waste hours trying to find that perfect one. You can even leave online grocery shopping to the virtual expert. Just remember to leave clear instructions on your preferences or favourite brands and you are ready to buy!
10. Data Entry
Something that is so mundane I can fall asleep while doing it and 2 to 3 hours are easily gone in a day! If I only do not need to do the data entry myself, I can use those hours to meet another client and close a potential sale. Isn’t this the common train of thought we all have especially for busy entrepreneurs or business owners?
The hypnosis of data entry and its effects should not be underestimated <slight smirk> so instead of making ourselves lethargic with the unproductivity, leave it to the virtual expert to handle the straight down boring tasks for you. The sleep whisperer is here.
In conclusion, these are some of the tasks that can be outsourced to virtual experts but are not exhaustive. We hope this information has been helpful. With good planning and execution, you are on the way to boosted productivity and sales revenues!