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Need Help? Consider An Assistant (Part I)

One of the most important rules of synergy marketing is to determine which tools are more effective than others. An assistant can certainly be considered a tool. You may have the best marketing plan in the world, but if you are spending your day stuffing envelopes and do not have the time to speak to customers as a result, you are unlikely to achieve your goals.

How can you tell if you need an assistant? If too much of your time is spent on tasks not directly related to the development of new business you are a candidate for considering an assistant. For example, if you have been meaning to keep in touch with previous customers and cannot, this is a major indication of need. Try making a list of your most important priorities. How much time are you spending addressing these priorities as opposed to keeping your head above water?

On the other hand, the need for an assistant may show up in other areas of your business. Have a marketing or technology project you have been meaning to undertake for years–but never get around to it? Perhaps you need to automate your office or build your database. Or perhaps you are looking to break into a new market. If you have a goal to grow your business but never seem to find the time to implement the activities to reach this goal, you may very well need an assistant. You can understand that the most successful businesses put systems and people in place to assure the achievement of goals. It is no secret as to why top producers have assistants–not because their production requires such, but because they think like successful business people. Many times the assistant is hired before the production comes.

Does having an assistant make you a manager? If you work for a large company, your assistant may not even report directly to you. While this may seem like a drawback, it is likely that the company has systems in place that will help support an assistant. On the other hand, if you are a self-employed real estate or insurance agent, your assistant may be your direct employee or an independent contractor who works with you. In either type of situation, it is imperative to develop a recruitment plan and job description for your assistant before you take the initiative to hire one. If you don’t know what they are going to be required to accomplish, it will be much harder to find the right one. And much more difficult to implement your long-term plans.

Do you have to hire someone to have an assistant? The answer is no. You may hire an individual or you might subcontract with a company to accomplish certain tasks. For example, instead of stuffing envelopes you might hire a mail house to accomplish this task. Instead of delivering flyers to offices, you might hire a flyer-delivery firm. Or, you might contract with a company to automate your office and then maintain these systems. As an example, this company may be responsible for setting up and maintaining your contact management systems.

The important thing to determine is what tasks and functions can be best accomplished by someone other than you and the most economical and effective way to accomplish these activities from the standpoint conserving your most precious resources of time, energy and money. If hiring and supervising an assistant utilizes more resources than the additional benefits they are adding, then the exercise will not help.

How do you determine your goals with regard to your assistant? First we should return to the aforementioned priority list. Where are you falling short? What areas can be most effectively improved upon. For example, if you are worried about paying for an assistant, there may be “low-hanging” fruit out there for the taking. Unfortunately you are too busy to pick this fruit. Your assistant should be required to go do some “picking” or should free up your time to reach these opportunities. If you are successful, then your income should rise to help you accommodate the extra expense. On the other hand, don’t get the impression that an assistant is always about more marketing. Sometimes the assistant is there to help you decrease your stress levels and/or to give you quality time with your family. The important thing is to determine your goals.

Making a decision is one thing. Successful implementation is another. In the next segment we will continue our coverage by discussing recruitment activities, successful delegation of tasks and the ultimate utilization of synergy.