As Virtual Assistants, we provide support services to businesses/entrepreneurs and even when working solo, we are operating as a business ourselves: hence we face similar challenges.
A SWOT analysis helps in understanding and assessing where we stand today and where we can be in the future: our own internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats.
What are your VA Strengths and Weaknesses?
Strengths: Your strengths translate into solutions to your clients, assess your unique ones:
- Your specialist skills & expertise (languages, research, e-marketing…)
- Quality processes
- Advanced technology skills: knowledge of Microsoft Office and Apple suites
- Strong Communication skills: ability to communicate regularly
- Time Management
- Cost advantage
- Any other aspect of your business that adds value
You can profit from your strengths by fully understanding your competition and then doing something different and/or better. Take a look at your knowledge or services and figure out how to leverage that knowledge in your niche, in other words what is your competitive advantage?
Weaknesses: Be honest to yourself, where are your weaknesses?
- Lack of marketing expertise
- Undifferentiated products or services (i.e. in relation to your competitors)
- Poor quality communication or services
- Lack of training or technical skill sets (Web Development, Social Media Marketing, etc.)
- No clear direction
- No systems
- Weak communication
Three common mistakes virtual assistants can do:
- Trying too hard
- Being too general
- Employee mindset
Always keep an eye on your own pipeline. We are business partners, and can add value only when needed; when there is a dip…it is time to move on
Identifying External Opportunities and Threats:
Opportunities: The VA industry is an emerging one, opportunities are endless:
- A developing market
- Smart technologies
- Promising industry potentials
- Team building
- New market segments
- Ability to tap on different geographical markets: with languages
- Training and Professional Development
Threats: Like any business, being a VA presents threats and disadvantages
- Price wars with competitors: many virtual assistants cut prices to win jobs
- Entry of lower-price competitors (from emerging markets)
- Risk of driving yourself out of your market/niche: the “virtual” landscape and cloud computing is constantly evolving (project management, e-marketing tools etc…): a virtual assistant needs to stay current
- Slow growth
- Rates: Your retainer fees are too low because your skill sets are not where they should be
- Reputation: research your prospective clients and be selective
For a VA to sustain a level of success, commitment and good communication are essential: and systems are essential to support a growing number of clients and eliminate some of the challenges we all face.
Zeina Barker is a virtual assistant, working remotely from her home office since 2009, providing a wide range of support services to start-ups, small business owners and entrepreneurs. Prior to becoming a VA, I worked in London in various support roles for international companies. Educated to degree level, trilingual I then decided to use my skills and experience and started as a solo VA. It was a leap of faith to a new amazing journey, extremely challenging at times, but also rewarding, and yes successful. I have worked for clients from all walks of life: high-net-worth individuals, driven entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-ups, and have been part of various teams simultaneously, changing several hats in the same day, without losing focus on providing an efficient level of service. Passionate about flying the VA flag and creating awareness where business owners have been slow in appreciating the benefits of working with Virtual Assistants. Being trilingual helped me develop a niche, I have been technically running an international VA business from my tiny home office 🙂 yet still scratching the surface. The opportunities are unlimited in our ever emerging industry, and the outlook is very positive.
Visit Zeina’s website at http://vefficient.com/