The support of a strong virtual team can make you a better leader.
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Jeff J Hunter is an author and founder of virtual assistant staffing agency VA Staffer.
He says all business leaders can benefit from hiring a virtual assistant.
Having a flexible and well-run virtual team is key for time management and improved productivity.
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This is a very unique time to build a business. Brick and mortar companies are struggling and local "mom & pop" shops are closing at a record pace. Yet, there's record growth for online service providers like Netflix, Amazon, DoorDash, and Zoom.
The one thing all of these growing companies have in common? They support the "stay-at-home" lifestyle and the "new normal" of working remotely.
Entrepreneurs can learn from an evolving global economy and the new normal of work. Here's how some businesses did it:
Restaurants admitted they can not replace the experience of dining in their establishments. But meals-to-go, with the inclusion of cashless payments, allowed restaurateurs to have a new lifeline.Online shopping has been around for quite some time. When the pandemic hit, the retail industry embraced the new segment of customers – mall-goers – to encourage them to buy. Online purchasing and shipping options made the transition easy for customers, and Amazon has cashed in record profits.Reduced movie-goers spending did not stop the entertainment industry from thriving. Companies pivoted to provide streaming services for stay-at-home amusement. Theaters, on the other hand, got destroyed, for obvious reasons.Local tourism, virtual tours, and travel-to-nowhere flights and cruises allowed travel lust individuals to experience traveling albeit limited. Personally, I think this is an incredible time to travel (by car) because not many are!Tech giants like Facebook and Twitter allowed their employees to work from home. Google has announced their employees will be allowed "flexible work."
What made some businesses thrive and some permanently close? They adapted to the disruption through innovation and hard work. These two characteristics are what entrepreneurs are made of.
My own COVID adaptation
Just like every business owner, I was really worried when the lockdown was announced in March 2020. We had several clients cancel their virtual assistant services that we provided. Nevertheless, my business thrived. Since COVID, I have experienced an over 100% growth in our virtual assistant staffing agency for entrepreneurs and startups all around the world.
That's because last year, building a "virtual team" sounded cool, but today, it's a necessity for businesses to survive the current economic conditions.
Yes, a virtual team is the "new normal" of work. It is about time you hire one.
My secret weapon
My executive assistant Ysabelle, who is virtual, starts working for me one hour before I even wake up. This arrangement works because the first thing I do when I wake up is grab my phone off of my nightstand to check my messages. Now, Ysabelle goes through my emails and clears out all the hundreds of messages that I shouldn't be wasting my time on. She leaves the ones that need my attention marked as "unread" with a flag.
Because I have over 100 people on my team, she knows exactly who's responsible for certain operations in the business. So when I get an email that requires action on someone else's part, Ysabelle sends the email to that team member and responds to the sender that we've got it taken care of. The sender probably thinks I sent the response – and that's the point.
You see, I didn't need to be in that conversation. With Ysabelle's help, I can focus on myself and the really important activities for the day.
Why did I share this with you? I want you to understand that you can only do so much. The biggest lie is "I was about to do something but I ran out of time." It's simply not true. You just don't want to be held accountable, or you don't have adequate help so you have to prioritize what you do and don't do each day.
If you are the only one in your business who knows everything, you are going to be a slave to your business. One of my colleagues once said, "If you don't have an assistant, you are one." Think about that.
Remote work is no longer a thing of the past. I don't believe it's going to go away. The current global crisis was a catalyst for the growing move to a virtually connected world. There is hardly anything we do in our business that can't be done remotely, unless you physically make, or build something. Entrepreneurs who can adapt and evolve to the new "virtual workplace" and see its benefits will be able to future-proof their business as the economy moves remote.
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