Working as a salesperson many years ago I had to do a fair amount of cold calling and canvassing for business. In this line of work, you get to know your city and surroundings quite well and you discover numerous small but useful businesses contributing to the local GDP. I’m specifically referring to those business you typically find in obscure business parks or industrial centres – enterprises that specialise in a single product-line or service, and are tenaciously successful despite the size of their workspace and the number of employees on their payroll.
These small businesses stereotypically have a reception area smaller than the average study, and every staff member has the front area telephone diverting to their mobiles as they simply do not have time to man the reception area or attend to cold callers. Order books and receipts are usually stacked high on a corner desk and remain untouched for days or weeks on end.
Imagine for a moment just such a business: a small shipping company in Krameville, Sandton or somewhere in Kya Sands. It’s a place where the manager and staff all wear tool belts and have their hands dirty with grease or sawdust, working away at making sturdy wooden crates to transport a delicate piece of art or machinery to be shipped abroad. Each item marked for shipping is completely unique and so each wooden crate has to be tailor-made. As a result, none of the staff are able to plan their time ahead as their daily tasks are determined by the nature and variety of merchandise sent to them for shipping.
The comedy of success is the long to-do list that fatefully follows it, and the working hours of the day seem shorter and shorter when trying to complete every task on the list. The unfortunate consequence of success is the mounting lack of dedicated time for administration and keeping house. Small businesses have to educate themselves and embrace the possibilities that surround them. Solutions that will not diminish their profits but add value to their work. Virtual assistants are such a solution and a perfect match for these businesses. Without knocking the business finances, a virtual assistant could easily take care of that to-do list. From answering calls and emails to prioritising production schedules and taking care of customer service, leaving you with time and capacity to attend to the actual work that requires your expertise.