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Sharon Williams

Recession-Proof Your Small Business With a Virtual Assistant

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As the economy heads toward a recession and business owners express concern about overhead and cutting expenses, it is time to implement innovative, cost-effective, technology-savvy, recession-busting strategies. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a viable solution that saves time, money and frees entrepreneurs to fuel their passion.



Everywhere we turn these days -- television, radio, Internet -- discussion focuses on the economy and growing concerns of a recession. George W. Bush, President of the United States, declared during his January 2008 State of the Union Address that "Our first goal is clear: We must have an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job. After recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals, and stock market declines, our economy is recovering -- yet it's not growing fast enough, or strongly enough. With unemployment rising, our nation needs more small businesses to open, more companies to invest and expand, more employers to put up the sign that says, "Help Wanted"."


How can small business do that when concerns over recession suggest they should be saving money instead of spending it? "Perhaps the best way to recession-proof your business is to hire a virtual assistant", says Sharon Williams, president of the 24 Hour Secretary and chair of the Alliance for Virtual Businesses, the online information portal to the Virtual Assistant industry.


The US government recently passed an economic stimulus plan designed to keep the US economy from sliding into a recession. Many questions remain for small business owners, including, what will this package do for my business?


According to a January 27, 2008 article entitled, Small Business Planning for Slump written by Jim Wyss of the Miami Herald.com; "Among a dozen small business owners interviewed last week, most said they expect things to get worse before they get better -- and many doubted the new economic stimulus package, which includes rebates for consumers and tax breaks on business expenses, will do much for their bottom line." Unfortunately, this same sentiment is echoed by small business owners located throughout the country.


Two suggestions to stimulate income and fight recession overrun are:


(1) to increase the utilization of Internet-based technology


(2) outsourcing administrative responsibilities to Virtual Assistants (VAs).


Virtual Assistants, as defined by the Alliance for Virtual Businesses, are independent entrepreneurs providing long-term, collaborative, professional administrative, creative, managerial, technical, business office and/or personal support services for clients. From their fully functional home offices, VAs use the most advanced means of communication, and the newest and most efficient and time saving office products and work delivery, regardless of geographic boundaries.


Virtual Assistants are paid only for time on task and utilize time tracking software that records duration and billing information associated with the assignment. As a result, the client is not charged for downtime, breaks, lunch, leaving the office when emergencies occur, etc.


The list of tangible and nontangible benefits associated with hiring a VA is extensive. For example:

  • *Elimination of costs related to providing employee benefits and paying taxes, purchasing furniture and equipment, and training opportunities.


*Gaining additional time to focus on income-generating activities instead of time consuming back office administration, recordkeeping and other duties.


*Paying only for time on tasks and compensation is based solely on the contractual relationship.


*Time to concentrate on responsibilities that fuel their passion.


*Development of a partnering relationship with an individual providing fresh insight into projects; an extra pair of administrative hands or an expert in Internet-based technologies.

A comprehensive list of value-adds and benefits are identified in A Virtual Solution for Business Growth, Stability and Profitability a downloadable white paper which introduces small business owners, independent professionals, entrepreneurs and corporations to solutions that resolve business challenges and positively influence a company's growth and stability. "It's clear that small business owners can combat a recession and experience significant savings of both in time and money by hiring a virtual assistant", states Williams.


To business owners who hesitate about hiring a VA because of cost, Williams says, "it's all relevant! If you are only looking at the amount you pay per hour or as a retainer, you may not experience immediate monetary savings, because a typical experienced VA charges anywhere from $35 to $75 an hour, based on the services provided and her specialty. But, if you compare the rate to the cost of hiring a full-time staffer or even a temp, and paying taxes, benefits and other associated expenses, you immediately see the cost savings.


Additionally, you gain hours back of your time to concentrate on responsibilities that fuel your passion, are income-generating, provide a sense of satisfaction and protect your business from recession."


For additional information about the benefits of working with Virtual Assistants, and tips and marketing strategies for busy entrepreneurs and professionals, subscribe to Smart Business = Success, located at The 24 Hour Secretary.



Sharon Williams manages an administrative, secretarial, marketing and internet-based business support firm open 24 hours a day, every day. It helps busy and often overwhelmed executives and entrepreneurs achieve their goals by giving the gift of time.

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Excellent articles-thanks for sharing! If I had a VA website, that would be fantastic information to add to it to help ease other small businesses that during these times, it may be in their best interest to hire a VA. With the rising cost of employee health insurance, etc., it only makes sense to give those small businesses these ideas so that they DO survive these times.

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I am a newbie so I really appreciate all this great information.

Thank you so much :thankyou:


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