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You have diligently been working in your business, maybe for a few months, maybe for a few years. You feel more comfortable in your service offering, you have a steady stream of clients and your profit and revenue figures are looking healthy. However, you know the time has come that to continue scaling your business, or work fewer hours (or both), then you are going to need to bring in some help.
You take to the nearest entrepreneur’s Facebook group and put out a hiring post for a Virtual Assistant because that’s what most people seem to start with. 6574857 people respond. You get overwhelmed and pick someone, kind of at random because you aren’t exactly sure what criteria you are looking for. You start delegating tasks. They’re getting done (most of the time), but something isn’t quite right. The VA isn’t doing them to the standard you’d like, they aren’t responding as quickly as you’d like and somehow managing a VA in addition to your own tasks seems to be taking up more time than if you’d just done them yourself.
You get frustrated, assume that you’ve just hired someone who isn’t as good as you thought they’d be and repeat the process to find someone else. The same thing happens again. You find yourself wondering, “where are all these amazing VAs that I hear other people raving about???”.
I’m going to give you a hint. The problem likely isn’t the Virtual Assistant.
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The Biggest Issue When Scaling Your Business
This is an issue I see facing entrepreneurs time and time again. In this online business space, courses and information abound on marketing, client management and creating sales pages. But there is something that is talked about less and is such a critical element of business growth; creating a strategy for building out your team. It is a HUGE step and one that is massively overlooked and underestimated.
What You Need In Your Business to Create an Environment for Your Virtual Assistant to Succeed
To hire a Virtual Assistant that is the right fit for your business and is going to the deliver the value you require, you need the following pre-requisites:
- a clear business vision, mission and values
- Clarity on the skills needed for the role and duties this person will perform, both of which need to be clearly communicated in a job spec
- An understanding of how to effectively advertise, position and interview for the job vacancy
- Systems and processes for training and onboarding new team members
- A solid operational foundation
- While the business owner does not need to have had previous management experience, some knowledge on the subject goes a long way, even if they have just read a couple of books and have a rough structure for how they are going to approach it.
The reality is that most entrepreneurs don’t have some, if not all of these in place within their business. And that is ok because to start your business and be a solopreneur, you don’t need them. However, that changes when you start hiring, particularly when you are hiring someone that is to be performing specific tasks e.g. a Virtual Assistant, rather than someone that is operating at a management level.
Therefore, if you don’t have these prerequisites in place, I recommend that you start with hiring an Online Business Manager, or investing in a coach or VIP day that specialises in team management.
A lot of people balk at this, as in their head a Virtual Assistant is a safer bet, it’s a lower investment so lower risk right? Well, not if you don’t have the business structure in place to support it.
The Hidden Costs of Recruiting into a Business that is Not Structured for a Team
It can actually cost you a lot more spending 6 months trying to find the right VA when the reality is that your business operations are a significant part of the problem. There is a reason that most corporate companies have employee retention as a key KPI; its because they know how great the cost of recruitment and training is to the business.
An OBM you can hire to come in and address every single one of those pre-requisites for you. You just need to be able to clearly communicate your business strategy and they will figure out the rest for you. If you aren’t sure you can or want to sustain the investment, just hire an OBM for 3 – 6 months to get your business operations in a place that is ready to support hiring and managing a Virtual Assistant.
An OBM can craft job specs that actually attract the right candidates, screen applications and create systemised training and onboarding procedures that can be automated for every new hire in the future. They can create Standard Operating Procedures to reduce the amount of time you spend training, improve quality and ensure consistency and restructure your project management system to make delegation easy and communication clear. They can help craft a strategy on how to motivate and lead your team to get the results and standards you require and then show you how to implement it.
And most of importantly of all, they get all of this done behind the scenes while you carry on doing what you do best, serving your clients.
That’s A Wrap!
Hiring is hard and managing people takes more skills and thought than you’d first think. It also generally requires a fundamental shift in the way your business is set up and the way it operates and to be honest unless you have a few years management experience already, it can be a long and hard lesson.
Is this an area you are struggling in? Are you getting through Virtual Assistants faster than your daily coffee? Click here to apply and find out more about how I can help!