Monday, April 29, 2013

There is an alternative to hiring staff.

There is an alternative to hiring staff.
By Dee Matheson

With all the tumult of the world wide economy, there are more and more smaller business owners and entrepreneurs who have seen opportunities and grabbed them with both hands. However, one thing that most of them did not think of at the time when launching their business, was all that admin. Many small to medium sized business owners get bogged down with the day to day running of their office and do not get enough time to focus on what is really important – making their business grow, networking and seeing clients.


Immediately there is the old school of thought  that “ I have to employ someone but I cannot afford a full time person with the type of experience that is needed and  I don’t have enough work to keep that person busy “. Yes, you can hire a temp but often you never get the same person and then you have to retrain each one. Where is the productivity in that? And you have to pay an agency fee.


The alternative is here in South Africa and not many business owners know about it. It is the Virtual Assistant. Yes, that is correct. Nowadays everything is done via email; Skype and the internet so why not use a Virtual Assistant as well?  A Virtual Assistant is a dream come true for small to medium size business owners. You would get a “secretary” with many years of experience that handles everything from answering the phone right up to sending out invoices and following up payments and only have to pay her for the hours she works.


What are the benefits to the business owner?

1.       Flexibility – available as and when needed. If you need 20 hours support one week but only 5 hours the following, a Virtual Assistant can do that.

2.       Pay only for the hours worked – as a Virtual Assistant is dependant on referrals and regular work flow, it’s in their best interest to complete your work as timeously and efficiently as possible. A virtual Assistant will provide you with an experienced service at an hourly rate.

3.       No need to pay employee taxes, benefits or office equipment – since a Virtual Assistant is not permanently employed, you don’t have to pay holidays, sick leave, maternity leave, taxes, training or even office equipment. A Virtual Assistant works remotely whenever you need her so you only pay for the work completed. No overheads as she will carry that herself.

4.       Match your requirements with a specific skill set – if you are looking for someone to transcribe legal or general documentation, look after all the invoicing or have something more specific in mind such as project management, search for someone with that skills set. By working with someone who matches your specific business needs, means you don’t have to ‘make do’ with someone unqualified again.

5.       No need to micro-manage – once you have delegated a project to your Virtual Assistant, you can focus entirely on other things safe in the knowledge that you willl receive the completed work back in time and error-free.

6.       Never miss a deadline – like you, a Virtual Assistant runs a business.  Your Virtual Assistant understands first-hand the importance of a good reputation. When you hand over work to your Virtual Assistant with a set deadline, that deadline will be met no matter what.

7.       Care about your business – your Virtual Assistant will understand the highs and lows, stresses and worries of running a business. They can provide you with support from a business perspective as well as an individual task level.  As your business grows, the likelihood is that so will your support requirements grow. By caring about your business and supporting you while you develop it further your Virtual Assistant will be your biggest support. She will have got to know your business and even use her initiative to help it along.


The biggest benefit is working with a Virtual Assistant that you will become to trust and whom you can build a solid working relationship with. Once you have found that person, you will have all the support you need to keep your business ticking over and reaching new heights.


For more information, contact Dee at or visit my website:

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