One of the biggest issues that we all face as entrepreneurs is that of time. There’s just not enough of it. And there’s always so much that needs to get done.
It’s easy to get bogged down with all of the admin associated with the running of a business and the more time you’re stuck in the weeds, the less time you have to be productive, whether it be doing what it is you’re good at (and getting paid for!) or spending time working on your business to grow.
It’s for this reason I’m always recommending the use of Virtual Assistants (VA’s) and Call Answering Services to other business owners. They can take over those tasks that you shouldn’t be doing so you can focus on the things you should. And let’s be honest, they’ll probably do a better job than we would as well!
So what kind of things could they be doing for you?
- Managing your diary and booking client appointments
- Handling your inbox and responding on your behalf
- Booking travel arrangements
- Social Media management
- Answering calls for your business, filtering out those unwanted sales and marketing calls from someone trying to sell you debt collection services and only passing on those calls that are important.
- Following up on leads and prospects
And that’s just the start. There’s so much more they could be doing for you as well. As I’ve mentioned before, I can be a world-class procrastinator. But my procrastination doesn’t manifest itself in watching cat videos on YouTube or the latest dance craze on TikTok… for me, it’s doing lots of simple tasks that would be better done by somebody else. I’m kidding myself that I’m being productive but in reality, I’m avoiding what I should really be working on because it’s either too hard, too time-consuming or requires a tough decision I don’t want to make.
Now, whenever I go through my never-ending task list I ask myself the following questions:
- Will doing this task help move my business forward?
- Is this a task that someone else could do better than me?
If the answer is no to the first question or yes to the second then I should be delegating or outsourcing. Whether I do or not depends on how strong my motivation muscle is. But I’m working on it.
Whilst there are some companies that will offer both call answering and virtual assistant services, a lot of companies tend to fall into one camp or the other. And this is where I think virtual assistants are missing a trick and probably additional income. Many virtual assistants are reluctant to offer call answering or lead prospecting services to their clients because of one simple practical problem: their phone.
Let’s say a VA is working from home and they’d like to offer call answering services to multiple clients. Most clients would want their calls to be answered in a particular way, perhaps in the company name or with a particular greeting. However, the VA is using their home phone line and when they receive an incoming call they have no way of knowing if that call is for Client A, or Client B making it impossible to answer the call in the right way.
The same issue can arise when making outgoing calls on behalf of a client. If the person that the VA has tried to get hold of calls back in, the VA is faced with the same problem. They could withhold their number when they make their outgoing calls but let’s be honest, these days most people associate calls from unknown numbers as spam or unwanted marketing calls so they just don’t answer.
And then there are the practicalities of using a home phone line for business. How do you differentiate between business and personal calls? And how do you stop your two year old picking up the phone from an upstairs extension?
Virtual Number – For providing simple incoming only call answering services. Each client is given their own unique virtual telephone number to forward their calls onto and when the VA answers the call, the system announces to them which business the call is for using a Call Whisper so they know exactly how to answer the call. No special equipment needed for this as the calls can be received on a normal landline or a mobile and can be set up in minutes.
Virtual Landline – This service is ideal for VA’s who want to receive incoming calls on behalf of their clients and also to make outgoing calls. They simply use an IP phone which could be a physical phone that sits on their desk and connected to the Internet, or an application on a computer or a smartphone designed to work like a normal phone. Each client is assigned their own Virtual Landline thereby differentiating each client’s calls.
So, in summary, if you’re a small business owner and not currently using the services of a VA or a call answering business you should definitely think seriously about it. And if you’re lucky enough to already be working with a good VA but they’re reluctant to offer call answering services then it might be worth suggesting the use of Virtual Numbers or Virtual Landlines.