Small Business Trends: 7 Ways A Cloud Based Virtual Assistant Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur
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Did you know that more than half of Americans want their own personal AI assistant, and why not? Having a cloud-based virtual assistant to hand your tasks off to is like a dream; your own guy or girl Friday that can handle everything from scheduling to research, project management, and even sales.
Happily, with the rise of cloud based virtual assistants, this dream is coming true. And, for entrepreneurs, there are many benefits to using one.
What is a Cloud Based Virtual Assistant?
Before we jump into the benefits however, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page as to what a cloud based virtual assistant is.
A cloud based virtual assistant is an app that understands “natural” language text or voice commands and can complete tasks on your behalf. In other words, you can talk to the app using real, everyday words. In addition, the app can live online or on a device like your smartphone.
What we’re not talking about here is a human virtual assistant. While those folks can provide many benefits of their own, they’re not part of this conversation.
Whether online or on a device, one critical feature of a cloud based virtual assistant is its ability to connect to multiple systems and sources of data. For this reason, they are “cloud-based” because they can reach into the cloud to access what they need. As you’ll see below, this is how they get work done for you.
Cloud Based Virtual Assistant Benefits
Cloud based virtual assistants help you be a better entrepreneur by taking on the tasks that can fill your time so you can focus on higher-value work like delighting your customers and finding more of them.
Here’s a look at some of the ways you can use a virtual assistant.
Onboarding Sales Leads
You can waste a lot of time with tire-kickers, folks who download your sales materials but aren’t really interested in buying anything.
Tools like Conversica help you discover your most promising sales leads by starting a conversation that eventually leads to contact with a human. Once you’ve got them on the phone, the business is yours to win.
One of the most time-consuming tasks is setting up a meeting. You send the invite, they say they can’t make it and off you go with that lovely game we call “let’s see if we can find a time and place to meet in under 10 emails.”
Wouldn’t it be great to hand off that whole process to someone else? Well, thanks to the rise of virtual assistants like x.ai, you can. This tool handles all the back and forth to set up meetings and all you have to do is provide some basic input at the beginning.
Now you can spend more time actually meeting rather than trying to set the meeting up.
Once your meeting is set up, a virtual assistant can help you make the most of your time together. This technology is still evolving, but we get an interesting peek into the future of virtual meeting assistants in the infographic below from Cisco; a future that is starting to arrive today. The future looks pretty sweet from here.
Cloud Based Virtual Assistant Benefits
Project Management Assistant
Project management is a key element of a well run business. Using project management helps assure that work gets done and delivered on time and as promised.
However, finding out what’s going on at any one moment can mean a lot of time spent running down updates and statuses.
Now you can get around that problem by using a virtual assistant like the one created by integrating Redbooth and Cisco Spark. This “virtual project management assistant” can run down questions like, “Where’s everyone with their tasks,” “How much time is left before this part of the project is done?”, and “How many hours should I bill my client this month?”
It’s nice to be able to spend your time working in your business rather than on your business, right?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to get critical information on the fly just by asking a question? That’s exactly what Dickey’s Barbecue is starting to roll-out to their chain of franchise restaurants.
Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of the Dallas-based company, says franchisees can use an Amazon Echo to ask Alexa for “up-to-date data on daily sales, inventory levels, scheduled deliveries by suppliers, customer ratings, and even optimal smoking times.” And that’s all without leaving the kitchen.
Outside of the work area, folks can still access visual data as well.
Aside from scheduling, cloud based virtual assistants can make it feel like secretaries have come back in style. Some examples include:
Providing reminders so you never miss a meeting,.
Adding items to your to-do list,
Reading your email to you and even replying,
Making conference calls for you so you don’t have to remember to bring the number,
Finding flights, lodging and restaurants for you locally or when you travel,
Finding out the weather forecast and reporting news you’re interested in hearing.
After a hard day at work, wouldn’t it be nice to come back to a comfortable home? Using cloud based connections with smart devices, a virtual assistant can make sure that the lights are on, soothing music is playing and the temperature is just right.
A well-rested and relaxed entrepreneur is an effective entrepreneur and a cloud based virtual assistant can help you enjoy your time out of the office.