Some employers have instituted unlimited vacation policies, which allow their staff more flexibility to take time off when they need it. Supporters say this helps boost employee productivity and makes it easier for employers to attract and retain top talent. Critics argue that unlimited vacation policies could create resentment among employees and actually discourage people from taking time off, because it looks bad. What do you think?
#10 Industry Knowledge Prep
With limited time to keep up with industry news, some small businesses have turned to virtual assistants to keep tabs on the most important happenings. Many executives then use the industry information to update their Twitter feed or bring up interesting developments in conversation with customers and prospects. This helps executives appear to have timely news.
**End of this series**
#9 Chasing Business
Prioritizing potential business opportunities can be challenging, but virtual assistants can help with the process.
When deciding what to sell on eBay, for example, asks a virtual assistant to look around for products that can be profitable to resell. Give them a few websites to visit and they will take it from there. A VA will look for clearance items and other types of products.
Because many scheduling tools are available online, virtual assistants are managing the calendars of many clients. Tasks include dealing with meeting invitations from others, scheduling appointments with clients and helping to plan events. It's about being comfortable and letting go of that calendar to a non-staff person working remotely.
#7 Travel Research
Virtual assistants are a great resource for finding hotels, booking airfares and mapping out trip itineraries both for business and pleasure. The assistants can take advantage of the growing number of travel research tools and review sites on the Web. They can also deal with the hassle of navigating time zones when booking or researching international travel options by phone.
#4 Data Presentations & #5 Email Management
#4 Turning raw data into a clear PowerPoint presentation or summarizing research findings in a Word document can be a huge time saver when prepping for meetings.
#5 Managing email: To keep you from wasting time in your email inbox, some virtual assistants will filter your most important emails and respond to the rest on your behalf. Email management is easy to do remotely, but you need to provide guidance on how to pick out key emails and ask the assistant to copy you before sending out any responses to reduce the risk of errors.
#3 Database Entries
Whether it's a slew of new business cards picked up at a conference or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases current is a suitable task for virtual assistants. Be specific about your needs and expectations, and make sure the virtual assistant has done this type of work before so there's less room for errors, Follow up is a huge thing for business owners. Sometimes clients will fax or scan business cards to us, and [virtual assistants] will plug them into the database.
#2 Online Research
You can easily farm out Internet research to virtual assistants. Common requests include finding information on corporate websites, exploring new products and vetting potential employees or business contacts. Be sure to send clear instructions, along with user names and passwords so assistants can get access to specialty search tools or paid websites.
#1 - Bookkeeping
Keeping tabs on bills and other bookkeeping matters can be one of the easiest things to assign to a virtual assistant. Many small businesses choose to share their bookkeeping systems with their virtual assistants who can then follow up on tasks such as outstanding invoices or unpaid bills. You will need to hand over some control [including] passwords and access to accounts.
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