8 Step-by-Step Guide To Hiring a Smart Business Assistant and Focus Only On Increasing Your Business Value

Although it can be a rewarding journey, being an entrepreneur also has its share of difficulties. You must be a jack of all trades and a master of all hats if you want to succeed in running a business. If you’re managing a tiny firm, this might be a daunting undertaking. You must juggle a number of tasks, including managing finances, providing customer service, developing marketing strategies, and managing daily operations.

In particular, entrepreneurs, who have just started their business, are burdened with a variety of tasks related to their enterprise, including accounting, day-to-day operations, traveling, scheduling meetings, offering basic customer support, handling a variety of marketing-related issues, and maintaining internal documentation and protocols.

While you may be tempted to do everything yourself, the truth is that you cannot do it all alone. At some point, you will need to delegate some of your tasks to others so that you can focus on growing your business. One of the most effective ways to do this is by hiring a smart assistant.

A business assistant could quickly lighten your load by optimizing, automating, and taking on many of those tasks so you can concentrate on strategic planning, sales, and growth tactics, and improving your product or service offering. 

How Can A Smart Business Assistant Help?

Many of the routine tasks associated with running a business can be automated and optimized with the help of a smart assistant. A smart assistant can handle daily activities like managing your email inbox and appointment scheduling, giving you more time to concentrate on the important parts of your company.

Also, investing in a smart assistant might be a great move for your company. By outsourcing your time-consuming and repetitive jobs, you can concentrate on more crucial responsibilities like strategic planning, sales, and growth initiatives. This can then assist you in raising the value of your company and expanding it. Hiring a knowledgeable assistant can help you concentrate on what matters most and grow your business, whether you’re a solopreneur or managing a small business.

Finding the ideal assistant, though, can be challenging. You must make sure that your assistant fits in with your team’s culture, has the necessary talents, and is driven to advance your company. Because of this, we have put together steps to aid you in streamlining your hiring procedure and ensuring a seamless start for your new assistant.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the advantages of hiring a smart assistant and provide you with some useful advice for selecting the best applicant for your company.

(Disclaimer: This post was first published on Entrepreneur.com)

1. List Your Repetitive Tasks

Take a day off and go over your calendar over the past three months. Include your backlog as well and analyze the manual tasks that don’t require specific business expertise. Mark the tasks that could be offloaded to someone else. 

Think about the time you had to plan your conference trip and schedule the meetings with potential partners or clients. Consider your product documentation sprints that require browsing, crafting screenshots, and listing down the user flows. Or find out which partnership outreach tasks could be handled by someone else working for you.

Take it a step further — how about filtering and organizing your emails? Even if you are worried about confidentiality, online tools would help you out with forwarding specific emails or sharing individual labels/categories of your inbox with your assistant.

A smart business assistant can help you list and tackle these repetitive tasks in several ways. Here are some examples:

  • Managing emails: You undoubtedly receive hundreds of emails every day as an entrepreneur. Your inbox may be organized, important emails can be marked, and routine questions can be answered on your behalf by a smart assistant.
  • Scheduling appointments: Organizing schedules can be tedious and irritating. You may set reminders, reschedule meetings as necessary, and arrange appointments with the aid of a smart assistant.
  • Bookkeeping: Keeping a close eye on your finances is essential to the success of your company. But doing so can be tiresome and time-consuming. You can get assistance from a capable assistant with bookkeeping duties including organizing invoices, monitoring costs, and balancing bank accounts.
  • Social media management: For any business, having a strong online presence is crucial. But, it can take a lot of time to plan and create posts. You may manage your social media accounts with the aid of a smart assistant by writing articles, planning content, and interacting with your followers.
  • Customer support: If you’re managing a small business, responding to client queries and support requests might take a lot of time. Your customer care channels can be managed by a smart assistant that can respond to simple questions and bring up more complicated ones for your attention.

These are just a few instances of the routine duties that a smart assistant may help you with. You may free up your time and attention to concentrate on strategic planning, sales, and growth initiatives by assigning these responsibilities to your assistant.

2. Write Down Your Process

Once you have compiled a list of activities that you don’t need to tackle yourself, create a new folder and add a brief for each of them. A great way to prepare your assistant and get them familiar with your work procedures is to document your processes. You’re effectively making a reference guide for your assistant when you make a new folder containing briefs for each assignment that they may consult when they’re unsure of how to proceed. The following are some particular advantages of documenting your processes:

  • Standardizing processes: By describing your procedures, you’re establishing a set of guidelines that your assistant can follow. 
  • Saving time: Simply point your assistant to the pertinent document so you won’t have to keep repeating the same instructions. Your workflow could be streamlined as a result, giving you more time for things that are more crucial.
  • Reducing errors: When your assistant has access to thorough briefs and instructions, they are less likely to make mistakes or overlook crucial information. This might help to guarantee the accuracy and high caliber of your job.
  • Improving communication: A clear line of communication between you and your assistant is established when you document your methods. By doing this, you can make sure that your assistant knows exactly what is expected of them and that your expectations are satisfied.

Even if the new assistant has to craft new content for your blog or manage your business’s social media profiles, they need to get used to your writing style, understand your brand message and follow the guidelines that you have established for your own business.

Putting out your procedures can be an effective technique for preparing your assistant and guaranteeing that your work is exact, consistent, and of high quality. You can help your assistant get up to speed fast and effectively and free up your time to work on expanding your business by setting comprehensive briefs and instructions.

3. Initiate Your Hiring Process

Hiring your new assistant could leverage three different strategies

  • Posting a job with your requirements
  • Reviewing resumes on job boards for people actively looking for a job
  • Contacting a virtual assistant company that specializes in hiring

Companies like Zirtual, Red Butler, Fancy Hands, U-Assist, and Time offer part-time or full-time virtual assistants in the US. Some of them provide additional perks such as conference room access or a part-time office in several different locations, which could be beneficial for client meetings or co-working when traveling.

You can also post a job on your favorite job board or a freelance network like Upwork, which would take care of the billing and invoicing portion for you and provide time tracking tools or the choice to engage the worker full-time under a pre-defined contract.

Most freelance networks as well as international VA websites like OnlineJobs.ph list the resumes, expertise, and payment requirements of assistants looking for part-time or full-time employment opportunities.

4. Shortlist And Interview Promising Candidates

Once you have some incoming leads or possible candidates, sit down and shortlist the most promising leads. Schedule interviews and discuss your business needs with them, asking about their previous work experience and qualifications as well.

The interview process is a demanding one, but working closely with someone requires a particular set of professional and soft skills. You should be convinced that the candidate is motivated, hard-working, and committed to your business in order to allocate some of your crucial activities.

To spot a potential or promising business assistant, look for candidates who have strong communication skills, attention to detail, time management abilities, flexibility and adaptability, initiative and problem-solving skills, and relevant experience. These traits and skills can help ensure that the assistant is a good fit for your needs and can help you grow your business. 

Look for applicants that have great communication skills, attention to detail, time management skills, flexibility and adaptability, initiative and problem-solving skills, and relevant experience to spot a potential or promising business assistant. These qualities and abilities can make sure the assistant is a good fit for your demands and can aid in the expansion of your company.

Thorough interviews and reference checks can provide additional insights into the candidate’s abilities and work style.

5. Start A Trial Period

Once you have selected the winner, initiate a trial period. Many employers believe that they are entitled, and great hires would be lucky to work for them. In fact, excellent candidates are usually sifting through piles of job opportunities whenever they have the right credentials and experience behind their backs.

It is precisely, for this reason, a trial period is a reciprocal process that verifies the viability of a long-term relationship. Discuss the terms of your trial period with your assistant — such as a couple of weeks for the first revision and two-three months before signing a longer-term contract.

You can start a trial period with your new assistant by following these steps:

  • Establish clear expectations: Clarify expectations regarding the assistant’s job and duties. Make sure the assistant is aware of the nature of their duties, the objectives they should be pursuing, and the criteria used to determine their success.
  • Set a specific time frame: Choose a time limit for the trial period. Depending on how intricate the function is, this could take a few weeks or a month.
  • Provide feedback: Throughout the trial time, give the assistant regular comments on their job, accomplishments, and areas for improvement.
  • Evaluate their fit: At the end of the trial time, assess the assistant’s compatibility with your company. Take into account their communication style, work ethic, and cultural fit.

Starting a trial period can certainly assist you in finding the ideal applicant and guarantee that they are able to contribute to the expansion and success of your company.

6. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat

Right after you’ve delegated your first assignment, define a communication protocol for your assistant. Keep in mind that no one understands the semantics of your business better than you.

You are well acquainted with the market, your products and services, the target audience, influencers in the field, notable journals and blogs, and the right strategic partnerships. Cut your assistant some slack and make sure that the onboarding is a continuous process that gives them the opportunity to get familiar with your business and the high-end priorities that you’ve laid out.

Set aside some time for training throughout the initial weeks. Invite him or her to participate by asking questions, making recommendations, and providing feedback by communicating with them. Most business owners who work with administrative assistants delegate a set of duties that adhere to a common structure.

Once you go over several tasks in each category, your assistant should get comfortable with applying the same strategy to ongoing assignments adhering to a familiar work model.

7. Build A Long-Term Schedule

If you start observing some progress and compliance from your assistant, proceed with making a long-term plan for your business needs. Automating multiple activities would free up your time and let your assistant schedule these on a weekly basis. You will spend less time supervising and more time reviewing results and progress.

Organize a longer meeting with your assistant and go over the success stories that they have participated in while working closely with you. Explain the bigger picture and the long-term plan and coordinate the logistics with them.

This would ensure that your assistant is fully aware of the goals of your business and let them handle a complete set of assignments without having to check with you every step of the way. 

As a result, you can focus on improving your product offering, building strategic partnerships, and growing your portfolio of high-end clients.

8. Document And Scale

As your business grows, it’s likely that your assistant won’t have the capacity to handle all of your ongoing tasks. In order to scale further, another assistant may be of use. Instead of going through the very same process, delegate the majority of the hiring and onboarding process to your assistant. 

Ask him/her to document activities and your high-end strategy based on his/her knowledge and experience during the past months working closely with you. A smart and motivated assistant will quickly prepare all of the onboarding paperwork and identify other activities that could be offloaded to another hire of yours.

In fact, it’s likely that they have someone in their network, who can join your team and work closely with your first hire, thus reducing the hassle of going through tons of CVs and applications in your inbox. When you’ve vetted and hired your new assistant, identify the new tasks that you have to coordinate with them and assign your initial hire to lead the rest of the coaching and training workflow.

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