“Is It Time to Hire an Assistant?”
I build and manage small business websites, many for “mom and pop” companies. I interact with my clients on a daily basis as we maintain their websites with regularly updated content, implement strategic social media management, and convert leads into sales through sophisticated automated follow-ups.
I know small business owners. Consequently, I know that many of them would benefit greatly if they took the plunge and hired an experienced assistant. For far too many of my clients, their most significant hindrance is that they insist on remaining just “mom and pop” businesses, despite their potential for significantly expanding their reach. This is exactly the type of business that desperately needs to add an assistant to their payroll.
Why do these small businesses need to hire an assistant?
While there’s certainly a charm to a small, tightly-knit team taking on the world of business together, the fact of the matter is that once a business reaches a certain size, the operation of the business becomes unmanageable for just one or two people.
It comes down to two things: workflow and organization.
If you’re simply too busy to answer the phone every time it rings, you’re missing out on sales and leads. What’s more, you’re not providing the level of service that you want to be able to offer. Having a dedicated team member handling administrative tasks means that you are free to focus on the work in front of you, while new sales are being generated at the same time. I can’t offer more effective advice for workflow management than having an assistant whose job it is to make things run smoothly for you.
Perhaps the most important role an assistant fills is that of the organizer. You might make the best widgets and provide the gold standard of customer service, but if your business is disorganized, it is leaking money like a sieve. An assistant can help you stay on top of your accounts receivables, manage your appointment calendar, and keep you abreast of communications with vendors.
It’s no wonder then that three-quarters of struggling small business owners report that a lack of organization is a driving force behind their lack of productivity. What better way is there to get your business organized than to hire an assistant whose responsibilities include doing just that?
So why don’t they hire someone?
Well, there are a lot of different reasons from what I’ve observed. For one, small businesses (especially the “mom and pop” types) are often driven by the passion of the owners. As a result, many small business owners feel territorial over their companies.
They don’t like the idea of an assistant telling them where they need to be and what time they need to be there. Their books might just exist in their heads, a maladaptive coping mechanism for a lack of resources and proper instruction that they’re reluctant to surrender. They might not recognize the importance of being an effective delegator of responsibilities. Honestly, they might feel embarrassed by how disorganized they are.
Whatever the reason might be, it’s important for small business owners to realize that if you hire an assistant, you'll sell more, you'll stress out less, your customers will be happier, and you'll collect more of your receivables. Assistants aren’t an encumbrance; they’re a lifeline for struggling businesses.
Where should they start?
Remember that the internet is your best friend when it comes to hiring. Indeed is currently the best option for hiring sites. Just run an ad on the site for an assistant position. You’ll pay around $25 to $35 per day for the promotion, but the payoff is well worth it. Avoid agreeing to pay by the applicant; you’ll end up spending much, much more.
If you’re in the website or digital services industry, let us be your virtual assistant. It’s one of our specialties. We provide call-answering services and back-office support for web designers across the country, freeing them up to concentrate on their projects, so they can deliver the best possible products to their clients. We’ve got clients all over the US and Canada, 290 and counting!
If your budget is a concern or the local talent is less than impressive, offshoring is an excellent option. Your project manager can give you pointers on that and provide you with sound advice. You can hire someone offshore who is extremely qualified, and who is an incredibly diligent worker, for less than $1,500 a month (full-time). These folks speak immaculate English, they are super friendly, and they are happy to work on your schedule.
Do yourself and your business and seek an assistant. Once you take the time you train them - time we know you don’t think you have - they will supercharge your business. Don't keep trying to be a one-man show. Hire, hire, hire!