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Virtual Assistants vs. In-Person Executive Assistants: Understanding What Your Business Needs

By Barbara Beauregard   |    April 24, 2019   |    9:44 AM

Your Small Business Needs an Assistant… Here’s How to Choose the Right Type

Knowing when to delegate is one of the most important skills you can develop as a small business owner. Delegation frees up time for you to work on the things that only you can do, like determining the company’s growth strategy and networking with high-level contacts in your industry.

For many business owners and entrepreneurs, hiring some sort of assistant is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to win back more of their time. But, what type of assistant will benefit your company the most?

It’s not always an easy question to answer, especially since there are more options than ever. Today, we’re going to focus on two of the most popular choices: virtual assistants and in-person executive assistants.

A virtual solution isn’t right for everyone, nor is an in-person solution. These four questions will help you decide which type of assistant will have the biggest positive impact on your business, just be sure to answer each one honestly.

1. How would you describe your communication style?

Everyone communicates differently. Some people hate meeting in person and would prefer to handle everything through email, chat tools like Slack, and other electronic means. A virtual assistant is perfect for this communication style.

On the flip side, some people want to meet face-to-face. This could be a matter of preference or business needs. Some businesses simply need an executive assistant who can be physically present.

However, it may be possible to meet with a virtual assistant in-person, depending on the hiring arrangement. Intelligent Office (IO) has locations throughout Canada, so there’s a chance you can find a qualified virtual assistant in your city.

2. Do I need extensive in-person support?

Before hiring an assistant, you need to think about the types of tasks and projects they’ll work on. If you need someone who can run errands on your behalf, for example, an in-person executive assistant will be the best bet.

If your task list includes a slew of things that can be accomplished online, a virtual assistant is the obvious choice.

3. How much time do I need from my assistant?

When the business needs a full-time assistant who will become an integral part of the team, it’s often a good idea to hire a dedicated executive assistant. Virtual assistants are typically shared amongst several businesses, making them a great solution for businesses who don’t need full-time help.

Again, note that it is possible to get full-time support from a virtual assistant, it’s just not as common.

4. Are my business’s needs time-sensitive?

Virtual assistants who work as part-time contractors will be supporting more than one business, which means you need to assess the turnaround time you need for various requests.

If you expect immediate responses to emails and phone calls and project requests, an in-person executive assistant could be exactly what you need. If your tasks are well-planned or less urgent, a virtual assistant can get the job done in a reasonable time frame. You can also set expectations for what “reasonable time frame” means.

No matter which type of assistant you choose, getting some extra help is a stress-free and cost-effective way to simplify your business.