What’s one of your top reasons for hiring a virtual executive assistant?
For most executives, a huge reason is efficiency. You have a lot of tasks, but some aren’t the best use of your time. If you’re at a point where you’ve become overloaded, there’s a good chance you need some process improvement or process management help, too.
Executive assistants are well-schooled in developing and managing business processes. Streamlining is their specialty and they enjoy helping make the office a more efficient environment.
Here’s how an EA can help you:
Why you need process management
Processes happen in businesses, whether they’re official and managed, or piecemeal and chaotic. For anything you do, you probably have a process around it whether you’ve consciously thought about it or not.
Most executives simply don’t have time. When you’re busy getting key tasks accomplished toward business goals, you’re not usually focused on exactly “how” something gets done, you just need it done.
Process management is vital for businesses and for the individuals who work for them because strong processes improve productivity. The best processes are repeatable, scalable, and easily delegated, meaning you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
Good processes save time, improve compliance, and reduce any associated risks. Where customers are impacted, processes can help to deliver a consistent experience and improved customer satisfaction.
An EA can help create processes which save you time and reduce your risk Click To Tweet
Where your executive assistant comes in…
Business Process Improvement is a field that generally falls under operations management and focuses on improving performance by managing and optimizing business processes. Those processes are what keeps your daily workflow going, and that’s an area in which your EA is an expert.
One of the first requirements of process optimization is to be able to stand back and observe, and record how things are currently being done. This is something that few entrepreneurs or executives have time for. Know who can make the time? Your executive assistant.
EAs can not only observe and record processes, they can often come up with new, improved processes. This is important, even for smaller businesses, because there are often things that would make you more efficient that you simply haven’t had time to look at yet. For example, there might be a technology solution that an EA can check out and implement. Any types of repeatable tasks are good candidates for creating a process around.
Processes your EA can help with
An executive assistant comes with what we describe as an “executive mindset.” They may be able to take care of more processes than you would think as they often have backgrounds in different fields.
You might already have some process priorities in mind, but if not, your EA will get to know you and your business so they can make their own suggestions. They can spot a need a mile off to get started on.
If there’s one thing you need nailed down in a business, it’s strong management of communications. For example:
- How are messages sent and received?
- How is anything that needs following up recorded and assigned?
- How does follow-up happen?
- Who gets what sorts of communications?
- When do communications need to be escalated?
- Who needs to be included in communications?
It’s often one of those things that gets overlooked, but doing so can lead to haphazard processes. That’s when important messages get overlooked or deadlines get missed. An executive assistant is an expert communicator and can sort out your business communications into a clear process.
#2. Client onboarding
Client onboarding is a critical time in the new relationship. Any promises need to be kept and they simply must have good initial (and ongoing) impressions of your business. Depending on what you do, client onboarding can be a valuable process to have.
An executive assistant can assess what happens to new clients and in what order. They can take notes and set reminders so that vital information is sent out on time or follow up is made as promised.
There may also be room for automation in your client onboarding, or any other processes we mention here. EAs can look for the opportunities to streamline. In the case of onboarding, that might involve setting up automated “rules” that send out emails or reminders, for example.
#3. Scheduling and calendar management
Has your calendar gotten out of control? Do you find it challenging to schedule meetings or events and to coordinate with the other people who are needed? Scheduling isn’t the best use of your time and it’s usually something that falls under executive assistant duties anyway, but they can also help you to develop smoother processes.
For example, there are some great technology solutions that allow you to automatically coordinate with others. You don’t need to go back and forth to make appointments, as long as your calendar is kept up-to-date (which your EA will do!).
An executive assistant is a great guardian of your time and can also help with processes and procedures around how your time is managed. For example, if there are things you’ve been doing that don’t necessarily require you (especially if you’ve become the bottleneck in the process!), they can “manage you out” of the process.
#4. Email management
The inbox is often something to be dreaded these days. If you’re like other entrepreneurs and executives, you’ve got constant emails coming in and little hope of staying on top of them. “Inbox zero” is a great concept, but it’s hard to pull off!
Meanwhile, important emails get buried among CC’s and non-urgent pings. If you’ve ever missed something important due to an email languishing somewhere, you’ll know the value of having a good email management process!
Fortunately, this is where an EA can excel. With a ruthless commitment to slashing through the unnecessary chatter, an EA can create a system that ensures you never miss a critical communication again. Sometimes the answer is that it shouldn’t remain in email form, and that’s something the EA can take care of too. Inbox zero doesn’t have to be a dream…
#5. Reports and documentation
How much time do you spend on generating reports or preparing documentation for meetings? Executive assistants can take over those tasks while putting a process around them that simplifies and streamlines.
For example, for most report types, there’s a technology solution to generate reports with the click of a button (or on an automated schedule). Any of your financial or production reports are good examples.
Documentation may not be able to be entirely automated, but an EA can create a process for it. Templates might be a good solution, or something where part of the data is automatically pulled through and they input anything that can’t be automated.
If there’s anything of this sort that you don’t really want your EA to be responsible for as part of their usual work, they could still create and document a repeatable process so that someone else is able to easily follow it.
Business process improvement is a critical task for businesses large and small. Processes mean streamlining and efficiency, so that everyone can make the best use of their time.
An executive assistant is an expert at analyzing your tasks and putting strong, repeatable processes around them. This makes it much easier to manage your time and avoid reinventing the wheel.
Could you use the help of an executive assistant? Worxbee virtual executive assistants are pre-vetted and matched to your specific needs. Schedule an appointment with us here to see how we can help you.
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