In this VA case study we talk to Simon Cyrus of Cyrus Healthcare and Locum Blueprint.
Simon is a great example of an entrepreneurial individual looking at growth opportunities within his area of expertise. He is a pharmacist who has been qualified for over 6 years and worked in the industry for over 10. He locums (freelances) for several different contractors.
He wanted to launch his own service (www.locumblueprint.com) helping locum pharmacists source work as well as raising awareness of training opportunities and how to diversify their skill base.
Simon also works with a pharmaceutical wholesaler as a business development consultant.
No Time to Grow Your Business
Like many small business owners, prior to working with a VA, Simon found himself in a position of wanting to grow his business but he was restricted by the available hours in any given day. He simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to growth.
Launching the website and growing the business development side of his business were two areas in which he would need someone to help implement his plan.
Employee vs Virtual Assistant
Employing someone directly comes with a host of extra responsibilities that many a small business or start-up cannot simply take on board. Added to this is the fact that employing people directly does not necessarily allow you to scale at your own speed.
A full-time employee is also a huge investment of time, up front. You may not need a full-timer or half-time employee to start and the growth of your small business may require a more subtle scaling of human resources.
The answer to Simon’s growth dilemma was to outsource to a Virtual Assistant, which offered the possibility to start with a number of hours that made him comfortable from a financial perspective and allowed for scaling at his own pace, in rhythm with the added workload that any new line of business brings.
We asked Simon to elaborate on his working processes; how he has worked with a VA, the benefits of doing so and some tips on getting the most from this kind of flexible outsourcing solution.
1. What is the hardest aspect of running a small business?
I find the repetitive but important tasks can be very time consuming.
2. Do you have any direct employees?
No direct employees. I have clients and associates that I deal with on a day to day basis.
3. So what made you look for a VA?
I needed to free up some of my time so that I could work on more valuable, income generating or growth tasks. Since working with my VA I have been able to launch my website and I utilise my VA to search and list prospects for the wholesale business.
4. What sort of tasks do you give to your VA?
My VA has completed a range of tasks for me. Entering expenses and invoices using my accounting tool. Researching online tools for my websites and producing documents for me to review. Prospecting for wholesale clients.
5. Has this changed over time?
This has changed over time. Initially I was apprehensive; however, with time, trust was built and my VA is very smart so I am confident I can train her to do many more tasks as I develop these businesses.
6. What are the key qualities you would look for in a VA?
• Good communication skills
• Flexible to do multiple tasks
• Flexible to communicate on different platforms
• Willing and able
• Pleasant personality
7. Have you found it easy to delegate work to your VA?
Yes, I have, but communication is key so do not be afraid to ask if anything is not clear
8. How do you communicate with your VA?
I communicate using email, asana (task management platform), WhatsApp and on the phone.
9. Ensuring you don’t waste time is critical so how do you manage the explanation of a task?
I tend to send a message via WhatsApp and I try to be as clear as possible. I send links, pictures and clear examples of my expectations and I ask for confirmation of understanding. If it is the first time I am requesting a particular task to be completed I phone for complete clarification. We spend a small amount of time in front of the laptop on both ends until the task is clear. For repetitive tasks I will mainly make requests via WhatsApp.
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