In the 21st century, the Internet has become the basis of identifying information and advancing in all fields. “To Google” is now an acceptable verb (i.e. “Google it!” or “I Googled it and I found…”) The information superhighway, however, is often viewed as a time consuming distraction – Facebook, Pinterest, games, chatrooms and gossip columns galore are considered time-sucks. Let’s get back to the ideal purpose of the World Wide Web – if you don’t focus on its business-enhancing potential you may be missing essential and money saving information, thereby putting yourself at a disadvantage in this technologically advancing society.
Your Virtual Assistant can perform all of the Internet research that you could possibly need, ultimately saving money, finding money, and earning money:
- Market Research Your Virtual Assistant can do what we call a “verbal dump” with you – she spends an hour on the phone with you at the beginning of your relationship, after she’s reviewed all of your published material (your website, any whitepapers, your publications or marketing material.) She focuses on really learning about who your clients are and what their purchasing profiles might be. Then, she sets to work researching where they are online, what they read, what they buy, how they make decisions and can draw conclusions and make suggestions from there on where you need to situate yourself to get in front of them.
- Finding the best deals on the services you need. There are countless product and service options for everything procure. Are you getting the best deal on your cell phone and data plan? Could you possibly use an alternate email marketing (e-blast) provider and save some money each month? Are you using WebEx for your promotional webinars while you’ve heard that LyncOnline might be cheaper, better and faster? Assign research projects to your Virtual Assistant and she will save you money every time.
- Identifying Help or Funding Whether you are a non-profit looking for funding or a new business trying to network and grow, you always want to identify any free assistance available. What do you need to learn? How can you go about that for free? Are there organizations which award grants or funding assistance to a company like yours, including entrepreneurial assistance, financial assistance or executive coaching? Your Virtual Assistant can do the necessary research to identify and contact organizations like these and get you some free support.
- PR and Self Promotion Opportunities One of the ideal ways for small businesses to self-promote is through public speaking opportunities. An accountant gives an hour-long free seminar on how to file for the child tax credit (a genuine and informative talk, not a used car salesman pitch on his services) and then signs up three new clients after the talk. His hour of time spent speaking on something which he A) likes and B) is an expert on demonstrated his value to an interested audience. Although he didn’t earn a paycheck for speaking, he earned new clients and that is earning money.
- Finding newspaper, magazine, trade publications and journal articles that are relevant to your business. As is imperative in any social media effort and at the very least to keep abreast of your field, you need to be on top of relevant, current articles and business trends. Not only can your Virtual Assistant learn enough about your business to proactively determine what is relevant, she can also skim “the dailies” and summarize relevant content for you, so it only takes you 10 minutes each day to stay current rather than 2 hours that you simply don’t have.
- Shop your competition. It’s always advantageous to know who your worthy competitors are whether is it merely to compare services and pricing or to get better ideas and help you expand. Either way, your Virtual Assistant can find all of the necessary information for you.
The possibilities of utilizing your Virtual Assistant for research projects are endless and not only save you time and money, but can actually earn money as well.
Submitted by Alyssa