Dawn Buford

Six Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Help Manage Your Business

By: Dawn Buford | June 12, 2017 | 
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Six Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Help Manage Your PR BusinessSince becoming a virtual assistant two years ago, I have learned to adapt.

For the better part of my career, I worked as an administrative professional (i.e. – executive assistant, project manager, facilities manager, website guru, etc.) in a downtown office building.

When the start-up company I helped build and support was sold after 16 years of steady growth, I found myself looking for a new position.

If you have ever been, or have ever employed, an administrative assistant, you know how dramatically the role has changed in the past 10 years.

Before the dawn of the virtual office, an administrative assistant was primarily responsible for being the boss’ gatekeeper.

Responsible for managing the calendar, answering phones, typing correspondence, and performing general office duties.

But advances in technology have changed the way we all work.

A Virtual Assistant Can Do More

As routine office tasks become automated or obsolete, administrative assistants are being pressed into service as project managers, editors, researchers, and personal assistants.

And because we are all connected by the internet, it is no longer necessary to park yourself in an office building from 9:00 to 5:00 each day.

Email, instant messaging, and video chat are now the tools of choice.

Administrative assistants are being asked to partner with executives to help plan budgets, prepare presentations, compile sales figures and analyze data, research potential new products or leads, and manage daily office operations.

And because we live in a world which has become increasingly busier and less office-oriented, administrative assistants have become virtual assistants.

They work from home, or on the fly, quickly answering inquiries, conducting research, and participating in face-to-face conferences on smartphones.

With these new responsibilities comes the opportunity for a virtual assistant to expand not only their skill-set, but their knowledge of how the company runs on a daily basis.

As a result, this benefits the executives for whom the virtual assistant works, as it frees up time for them to concentrate on more pressing concerns, such as sales and service.

Here are six areas where a virtual assistant can help manage your business.

Administrative Services

A virtual assistant can:

  • Schedule and maintain your calendar;
  • Manage your email inbox;
  • Provide reception service and handle phone inquiries;
  • Coordinate meetings, travel, and events;
  • Buy and send gifts or cards;
  • Handle routine paperwork, filings, and registrations;
  • Order supplies; and
  • Process customer orders.

These are all duties performed daily by an administrative professional, and these duties can be performed anywhere there is an internet connection.

Word Processing and Presentations

A virtual assistant can easily create, edit, and format documents and presentations, and can even use tools such as Google Apps to collaborate on a project with other members of your team.

Documents and presentations can be stored in a Team Drive on Google for easy access any time, by every member of your team.

This ensures you will always have the most current version at your fingertips.

Data Processing and Database Management

A virtual assistant can compile, create, edit, and maintain a database of clients, contacts, customers, business leads, email addresses, inventory—anything you need to track.

Furthermore, your assistant can handle your monthly email marketing campaign, lead generation programs, and reporting.

Writing, Editing, and Desktop Publishing

Your virtual assistant can:

  • Ghostwrite articles and promotional copy;
  • Rewrite client copy to optimize SEO;
  • Proofread;
  • Edit a book, blog, or correspondence;
  • Create marketing or informational materials;
  • Publish a newsletter; and
  • Do design work for logos, certificates, awards, branding materials, forms, and client welcome kits.

Research and Data Analysis

A virtual assistant can do the research for you.

Whether it’s finding out the latest trends in automated marketing, ways to increase revenue-generating leads, or discovering the hottest new restaurant a client has been dying to have lunch at, you can concentrate on more pressing matters while your assistant gets you the information.

Your assistant can also analyze and monitor data and run reports summarizing findings.

Finance and Operations

Your virtual assistant can:

  • Manage your books and bank account using finance software such as QuickBooks;
  • Send invoices and collect payment;
  • Take care of payroll;
  • Help with hiring;
  • Oversee new hire and contractor on-boarding;
  • Manage human resource records and files;
  • Help plan and prepare budgets;
  • Manage your insurance and benefits programs;
  • Manage other administrative staff;
  • Evaluate business efficiency and streamline business procedures;
  • Manage day-to-day operations;
  • Provide help reviewing legal contracts and documents;
  • Monitoring contract renewal and expiration dates;
  • Filing legal paperwork on your behalf; and
  • Much, much more.

Of course, the trick is finding the ‘right’ virtual assistant for your business—someone who has relatable business experience, good character, a strong work ethic, and solid core values.

But most importantly, someone who is willing to help you achieve greater success as you help them grow, learn new skills, and build a stronger career path.

So, have you transitioned from office to virtual admin? If you have, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

About Dawn Buford


Dawn Buford is executive assistant to the CEO at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is the first round editorial check for every piece of content that is published at the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks.

  • I love that you’ve been so willing to work in a new environment—particularly after you spent so many years in a completely different one. I don’t know that staying the VA route would work for all, but I do know it works for you because you’re flexible, nimble, and not afraid of change.

    • Dawn Buford

      Well, I think being successful in this environment comes down to trust. If you have a virtual staff, you must trust that they will get the work done, and you can’t be checking on them every few minutes. Because I have that trust from you and our team, I am comfortable working virtually as I don’t feel that pressure to check in every five minutes. You know I’m right here if you need me. I can get my job done without needing to ‘prove’ I’m working. And I welcome change. Technology is constantly making us better, faster and more efficient. I love learning new things. Bring it on! (It also helps to have the right team…and we do!)

  • Elise Perkins

    Great list and insights, Dawn! Super helpful for those of us contemplating WHAT we can stand to delegate 😉

    • Dawn Buford

      Thanks Elise! It all depends on the person & how experienced they are, of course, but you can test them out by giving them more responsibility at certain intervals and seeing how they handle it. I think it would be wonderful if we could tap the older gen of admins who may be phasing out of the workforce or who have retired and are now looking to keep their mind engaged without needing to commute. Many of these older admins still have a lot to offer the business world, but don’t necessarily know how to become a VA. Perhaps that’s my next blog post for AARP! : )

      • Seriously, Dawn, I love this idea and think having some skills-building courses/resources for life-long admins is a great idea.

        • Dawn Buford

          Thanks Erika! That gives me a lot to think about. : )

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