Did you notice that people rarely state their job as secretary anymore? There are new job titles to replace outdated functions such as “Girl Friday” and secretary. A receptionist answers phones and greets people, an administrative assistant does the receptionist’s job and performs all of the office miscellaneous functions, and an executive assistant manages both, does both, and now, finally, gets more credit than a secretary for her contributions in her/his respective position.
According to the Alliance for Virtual Businesses data the rise of the Virtual Assistant (VA) is replacing the administrative secretary type of position. The organization A4VB works primarily with small businesses and they have found that for the majority of companies, the virtual assistant makes perfect sense.
Finding, training and supervising a person in the critical first impressions department can be frustrating and disappointing. Not just in the finding the right person with experience which requires time consuming interviewing and research, but matching that person with a specific skill set and competence is something you often have to take a chance at when hiring someone. Many business owners have experienced an employee (or former employee) that has overstated their abilities. If you are lucky enough to find the right person, there’s also the matter of keeping them busy and happy during their work day, a challenge especially for the average small businesses fluctuating work day.
By utilizing a virtual assistant a business owner is able to eliminate the most common challenges immediately, even if it is only on a temporary basis. Virtual assistants are experienced, flexible, manage their time efficiently and therefore also incentivized to fulfill your needs competently and timely. Their paycheck often does not rely solely on your payment for services which alleviates the pressure of getting your money’s worth or keeping your assistant busy for 8 hours a day. Being a virtual assistant can be whatever type or volume of help you need, and often when you need help, let’s face it, you needed help yesterday.
A4VA survey found that 90% of virtual assistants have extensive experience and/or on the job experience. In another A4VA survey, over 80% of virtual assistants go into business for themselves contracting their own services to manage clients and work schedules.
Even the though the scope of the secretary, administrative or executive (and now virtual assistant), has grown and evolved, it is a critically important position for businesses large and small. The role of first impressions, efficiency and professionalism often rests on this position; a mistake in judgment could be costly. Historically, virtually assistants were primarily utilized in transcription and data processing services. The prevalent use of technology and mobility in today’s global market has opened the opportunities to qualified and talented virtual assistants the world over. The scope of work for virtual assistants is now often heavily utilized for social media duties, as well as traditional administrative functions. Many business owners believe that they cannot afford to hire an assistant, virtual or not, but the reality is that often a business can’t afford not to. Small business or not, having a social media presence is like having an answering machine in your office and a P.O. Box for an address. Who are you?
Forbes has compiled an expanded list of great ways to avoid making a bad first impression, some of which are common sense but worth revisiting.