One Small Step for Business

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on October 12, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Delegation for Success

Have you ever wondered what separates a headlining “superstar” of an industry from the rest of the pack? What makes Seth Godin or Tony Robbins or Jeffrey Gitomer a thousand times more successful than the rest of us? There are plenty of potential answers (and certainly, I believe it’s a combination of factors), but there is one factor that I believe people have overlooked.

I believe that many successful people seek help early: They realize they can’t do it all so they bring someone else on board. While I don’t know the exact details of the 3 people mentioned above, I do know many successful people and one of the things they have in common is that they have help: They have people to whom they can delegate work and they recognize that they can’t do it all themselves.

I don’t think that’s a new concept to business owners, but many small business owners who might be reading this might be thinking, “but I don’t have the revenue to support an employee, nor do I have the time or office space (or employee liability or software licenses or equipment or desire to post a job opening).

This is where another step comes in that I believe is the perfect step between the solopreneur and the growing multi-employee enterprise:

Assistants. And, specifically (thanks to today’s web-based interaction opportunities) virtual assistants.

Now, you might be wondering: “How can an assistant make any difference?” Here’s my answer: Assistants can be used in every aspect of a business organization to help with administrative work, bookkeeping, and customer support. By taking care of these tasks, the business owner has recaptured time that was formerly spent on important (but non-revenue-generating) tasks. Even though they are spending money on an assistant, they are still earning more money, making their time even more valuable.

As an example, consider the consultant who bills $100/hour and spends 4 hours a day consulting and 4 hours a day on marketing, administrative work, research, bookkeeping, scheduling, and more. While they might bill $100/hour, they only bill 4 of their 8 working hours; so their effective rate is only $50/hour. But when the consultant hires an assistant, they might pay that assistant $20 for 4 hours of work per day and the assistant does the marketing, administrative work, research, bookkeeping, and scheduling. This leaves the consultant spending $80 per day on an assistant, but they now have an additional 4 hours of potential billing time! They could do another 4 hours of consulting to earn an additional $400 per day, or they could do a couple more hours and hit the golf course.

But an assistant can do even more. If you find the right assistant, you can even give them some of your marketing, sales, and customer service work. In some cases, they can do some of your revenue generation for you (depending on the product or service you provide, of course).

This is the concept of “scaling”. Many small businesses stay small because they feel that it’s too big of a leap between solopreneur and multi-employee enterprise. But there IS an intermediate step: the virtual assistant. They’re affordable, skilled in many things, and you can scale up your virtual assistants by several iterations long before you ever hire your first employee.

And that is how you make the step forward.

About the author: Heather Villa, MBA CMA MSM, is a Business Coach and Entrepreneur. She helps business owners achieve success in operations, productivity, project management, and social media. Read her other articles at and visit for more information.

Disclaimer: © 2009 Heather Villa. Permission is granted to repost this article. Article must be published in its entirety, including author bio, and all links must remain intact.

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