A successful business can not survive on good ideas alone. Robust infrastructure and administrative processes are essential to growing your business and providing a professional service to your customers. So, if you’ve identified the need for help, you might be wondering if you need a Personal Assistant (PA) or a Virtual Assistant (VA). On paper, they can provide many of the same services. So, what’s the difference and which is the best option for your business? Here are some things to consider when deciding.
A Person Assistant is a long-term commitment, a Virtual Assistant is a more flexible solution. If your business is fully established and you need someone in the office 7 hours a day, 5 day’s a week, a PA is probably your answer. If you only need someone at month end, for a few hours a week or to help during a project, a VA could be a better alternative. Some businesses have a full-time PA and call upon a VA to perform specialised tasks or when their PA is absent, so the two can also work well together.
When you first look at the hourly rate of a Virtual Assistant, you might be surprised. However, before you compare it directly with the cost of a PA salary, you should consider that this is fully loaded rate and you will not be using them for 35 hours a week. The cost of hiring a Personal Assistant is not only about their salary. There are many other costs to consider. Benefits, pension contributions, National Insurance, training costs and office equipment should also be taken into account. If you hire a Virtual Assistant, you pay for their time and that’s pretty much it. You pay only for the hours they spend working for you and as a result, it could be a much more economical choice for your business.
An in-house assistant needs office space to work in, not to mention a PC with the latest up-to-date software packages. You are also responsible for ensuring their workstation and environment meets health and safety requirements. By contrast, a Virtual Assistant works remotely from their home or other location, reducing your costs and level of responsibility. This set up does not suit every business model however, so you need to weigh up if it is practical for yours. Although, if your VA is local, they may be happy to visit your office as the need arises.
Experience and knowledge
Any help you bring in to your business needs to add value. Whether you have a limit on your time or if there is a gap in knowledge, you need someone who will take care of the things you can’t. A PA can be a great addition to an organisation and if you get the right person, they will grow and develop along with your business. The chances are, you will hire a PA based on your business needs at the time. Maybe that’s email management or preparing your expenses. But what if your needs change? Could your PA take care of your credit control, your social media management or design a company newsletter? As a freelancer, a Virtual Assistant not only works for you, but also other clients. As such, their knowledge and experience is always evolving, keeping it relevant and up-to-date. They are more likely to have a broader range of skills for you to access which is a great resource for small businesses. They have a network of other VAs to call upon for advice and may even defer business to someone with more specialised experience.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to hiring an assistant. Some companies have an in-house PA and use a VA as needed. Others only need help occasionally, so can scale their operations accordingly by using a VA. Both PAs and VAs can be a wonderful addition to your business. By delegating your administration, you can benefit from smoother running operations and more time to concentrate on doing what you do best. If you decide a VA is the way to go, please feel free to contact me for a consultation.