In this article, we will be discussing assistance, in order to have a successful private practice or a successful business. At some point, you the business owner, are going to need to get an assistant. This is not to say that you can’t do what needs to be done. Rather that, as the business owner , you should be concentrating on the things that are important to you and concentrating on your business.
Getting an assistant helps with the admin side. And it means that you can concentrate on the more important things, which is the growth of your business, the financials of your business, the marketing of your business, those aspects, whilst you know, the day to day operational functions are managed.
If we use the example of a psychologist spending time during the day to do the admin and follow up on overdue accounts. Every hour that you are doing that it’s an hour that cannot be billed. The average psychologists fees are around R900.00 an hour. If you’re spending 10 hours or even 15 hours a month on office admin and unpaid follow ups, that’s between R 9,000.00 and R13,500.00 a month that you are not able to earn.
At some point, every business is going to need to get some sort of assistance and we firmly believe that in this digital age there are several ways to get an assistant or assistants within your business.
Best case scenario when it comes to hiring an assistant
Let’s start with the best case scenario when it comes to hiring an assistant would be two assistants. The reason for this is you have to take into account what happens when the assistant is on leave or off sick? Having two assistants ensures that your business still functions when your assistant is off, without everything falling back into your lap to get done.
Hiring assistants does come with great benefits as well as complexities. Going with the best case scenario you need to hire people, train them which means you have to take time to train them. Basically, they’ve got to understand how your business works in the way that you want it to work, and how you’ve explained it. And you have hope that they get it right every time all the time.
You want to make sure that there is that consistency and the reason I say consistency is your brand, your business/practice has to have that experience to it. If Suzy your first practitioner sends out an invoice immediately after the session. But Mary sends clients invoices two days later, you’re giving clients two very different experiences from your business. So having an assistant or two or three means that you have to make sure that they work on a consistent manner that is accurate.
You need to have people skills or people management skills and understand that hiring someone with comes with its own issues. You’ve got to have PAYE and UIF, be able to understand what the labor laws are, what you can and can’t do. All of this means a little bit more stress on your side. But the ideal will always be to have one or two or three people in your business that are there to assist you in what you need to get done to ensure that the business or the practice continues functioning.
Outsourcing the administration of your business.
A lot of small businesses start to use virtual assistants when the admin becomes too much for them to handle on the their own. In some cases they will outsource certain functions to billing bureau to assist with the management of the invoicing process. This is great, it helps with that side of the business and it allows you more time to focus on a few of the other admin aspects. Some businesses outsource to a complete management company which is also a great option as all the admin functions are dealt with by a company on their behalf.
These options though do come with drawbacks of their own, again you are relying on human nature, hoping they are consistent in the way the manage your business and that they get things done accurately. But it is a good step to help you focus on the business of your practice or small business.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant for admin side of your business
Another option would be to hire a virtual assistant or VA as you can pay them per hour for the work done. This is a cost effective way of managing the admin when you are starting out. And is also a really great way of just getting that assistance that you need, with the administrative side of things.
Like with everything though there are pros and cons to a VA. If you are not one of the virtual assistants, larger clients, you could find that your stuff gets pushed back. Or you could find things that are a bit quiet, maybe what used to take an hour is now taking two hours. So you do have to take these things into consideration when looking at an assistant.
Training your office or virtual assistant for admin side of your business
Irrespective of whether it’s an assistant in your practice, or your business, your reception area or a virtual assistant. You will still have to take the time to train them. How does your billing software work? How does your CRM work? Who are your cash clients who are your consignment or medical aid clients?
They’re going to have to know all of this, which means neither on of these options can start on Monday and just do the job. You’re going to have to take two or even three months to train that assistant, whether it be virtual or in your office. To do things the way that you want them done, go through your processes and procedures the way you want that done.
So when you get to the point where you are looking for assistance, you do need to weigh up the pros and cons of how do you want to do this.
Implementing a Digital Assistant for admin side of your business
So we’ve all heard of Siri, or Alexa or Bixby, even Google Assistant, the technology is out there. The really great thing with a digital assistant is, once you’ve trained them, on how you want things done , it’s done every time all the time, without you having to go back and re issue an instruction, or retrain.
With a digital assistant you would also have a full audit trail on everything that has been done in your business from an administrative perspective. The assistant is not going to misunderstand an instruction or take a sick day and this gives you that consistency and accuracy that you want from your admin department.
You would have dashboards you’d be able to see instantly what was invoiced what has come in for the month what is still outstanding, how much is sitting in 30 days overdue. 60 days overdue, 90 days overdue. All of this is very very important when running your business.
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If you let the day to day operational tasks pile up, it takes more time to get it done, the more time you’re sitting trying to get that done, the less you’re able to spend where you should be. Whenever you get to the stage where you can get some sort of assistance, I would say start there, get an assistant, whether it be a person, a digital or a VA, because it is going to make the world of difference within your business.
Getting an assistant definitely helps with the admin side. And it means that you can concentrate on the more important things, which is the growth of your business, the financials of your business, the marketing of your business. Whilst you know, the day to day operational functions are managed. If that’s done, and that’s in place, and you don’t have to worry about it, you will find the business to start to take off. Because you’re able to concentrate on the important things, the stuff that makes the biggest difference on the overall growth of your business.