July 18, 2014

Running a Startup? Here’s 6 Reasons why you Need a Virtual Assistant

futuristic female helpline operator with headphones and virtual screenStartups are everywhere—literally. According to an infographic by Mashable, there were 514,000 new business owners in 2012. And a 2013 Forbes article offered some very interesting facts about the rise and popularity of startups:

-More than 50 percent of the current working population in the United States works in a small business

-In 2013, there were almost 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and more than 22 million were self employed with no additional payroll or employees (nonemployers)

-Around 75 percent of all businesses operatingin the U.S. in 2013 were nonemployer businesses

-52 percent of all small businesses in 2013 were home-based

The Forbes article also listed another interesting, yet unfortunate statistic: Although approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month, more employer businesses shut down than start up each month.

We’ve all heard about the high failure percentage rate when it comes to starting a new business and entrepreneurship endeavors, and there are many things that contribute to this issue.

Joanna Cohen, Sales & Marketing Manager at Zirtual, doesn’t want your lack of help to be one of them. Cohen believes that having a virtual assistant can provide immense value for any startup. Read below for her six reasons why you and your startup will benefit from adding these types of workers to your team:

1. You need to be 100 percent comfortable with delegation. If your business is going to succeed, delegation will forever play an active role in your life. As founder you’ll participate in a constant cycle of identifying what needs to be done and delegating those tasks into the right hands. It’s important to master this skill from the very beginning of your business’s young life. Working with a virtual assistant allows you to practice, hone and dominate this skill.

2. You can never do enough research. Never, ever. There will always be new discoveries in your industry, new competitors opening their doors and new whiskey bars nearby at which to unwind. For this reason alone you could justify having 10 virtual assistants.

3. Getting meetings is tough. People are busy. Investors, potential partners and future employees all have a lot going on. It often takes an extra ping (or four) to make something important happen. Your pride and your sanity will be happy you have an assistant to do all that pinging.

4. You need access to honest, no strings attached, guilt-free feedback. You will move through iteration after iteration with your products, but there are only so many times you can pick the brains of your friends, colleagues and family members. Cash in on this feedback only when it’s most important. Use the available, honest and consistent feedback of your virtual assistant to help develop your ideas—and then present them to the rest of the world.

5. Your personal life deserves a shot. Perhaps the greatest victim in a startup endeavor is its founder’s personal life. With a virtual assistant, you give your personal life a fighting chance. The beauty of a virtual assistant (versus in-house help) is that you’re free to ask for help in whatever area you need it most: personal or professional. Your virtual assistant can help you book a holiday vacation just as readily as a business trip. Your virtual assistant can help you keep up with friends and family and make sure you fit these important people into your schedule. Ask your friends in the corporate world — they may not even have this luxury!

6. Having one constant thing in your startup life will be more comforting than you can imagine. While you’re on the wildest ride of your life, it’s nice to know that at least one thing will remain constant. Your business might go from a product to a service overnight, and it could take you from California to New York to Tokyo in a week. Your virtual assistant, however, will be around and providing the same reliable help.

Read more in Entrepreneurship

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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