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Understanding the True Value of an Assistant in Today's Business World

Understanding the true value of any service or function in today's business world might feel daunting. 


With ever changing needs and requirements, a shift in how we conduct business is fast becoming more personal and unique to each and every individual, with that becoming the USP and indicative factor in what ultimately attracts Clients and more business. 

Assistants, to this day, have brought about change to businesses worldwide and, with careful and considered thought, continue to bring about huge breakthroughs for many. 



The role of the Assistant has evolved over time and even in the space of the 20 year corporate career that I left over 4 years ago, and even since then, I have noticed a sea change in how Assistants are utilised and how they integrate into a person’s business and life.  


An Assistant (much different to a Secretary) was often left to deal with hectic calendars and prioritise emails.  


The senior Executive Assistants, or those who have gone on to build their own business as a Virtual Assistant, have become integral to a business and are often in situ to provide strategic support and operational management so that it frees up time for the person they are working with to concentrate on core business matters and financially generating activities. 


No matter how big or small the business is, essentially an Assistant’s true value can be obtained through a true partnership of trust, effective communication and empowerment as the success of a business can be attributed to include Assistants who play a crucial role as they play the strategic partner. 


The evolvement of the Assistant brings much to offer in today’s world of business so what does that mean?


Cost efficiency 


By providing the person they are working with the space to maximise their time on core activities of the business, Assistants can take essential matters on efficiently (that is likely to take longer by others) and therefore achieve more as a team. 


 A self employed Virtual Assistant reduces costs further as there is no holiday or sickness pay, pension contribution, NI or overheard costs to pay for them to provide the same services that an employed Assistant would. 


The Gatekeeper


A high level of trust allows an Assistant to act as a gatekeeper and confidante.  


 As the first port of call for internal or external contacts often lies with the Assistant, the type and level of feedback they receive multiple times a day can provide a different perspective that can then be disseminated to bring value to the table.  


The insights gained by an Assistant can help form a strategic plan through more detailed decision making. 


This comes with great responsibility and diplomacy, with the required ability to be able to triage everything that is being directed to the person they are supporting (as well as to them). 


The Engine Room 


 Predicting the needs of the person an Assistant is supporting demonstrates the expert skills they have. 


It is often the case that an Assistant has undertaken research of a project to feed back to the person they are supporting before it is even raised. 


Being able to anticipate and hypothesise what might and could happen allows a business to continue as usual, despite the obstacles they inevitably face from time to time. 


Having a well oiled engine that continues to gather and recommend allows for diversions without the seamless operation being disrupted. 




Gauging what can and should be shared and when it should be shared is hugely valuable for anyone being supported.  


An overload of communication and information can be as frustrating as a distinct lack of open channels. 


To correctly time these dialogues is key and the experienced Assistant has a canny knack of knowing when and where to raise particular matters in order to maintain a productive and effective stream of work that does not become overwhelming to the person they are supporting. 


As conduits of useful information, the Assistant is effectively the communication channel. 


Navigational skills


As the ultimate expert navigator of many things, a valuable Assistant will support a person through complex projects and be able to problem solve as matters emerge. 



An Assistant’s ability to think laterally allows for challenges to be overcome in a logical way. 


It is unlikely that every challenge is solved by a cookie cutter approach.  Each and every one requires adapting and flexing with improved approaches applied as learning is a continuous theme to an Assistant. 


The resourcefulness of a valued Assistant allows them to streamline processes, where possible, and manage complex matters as they arise through high level strategies. 


Loose lips sinks ships 



As the saying goes, if people talk openly and indirectly it can either be misconstrued or weaken the trust within the business relationship.  The value of an Assistant’s counsel

is undeniable if the trust and mutual respect within the partnership is strong. 


So much information passes through an Assistant and as that is upheld with respect, the communication lines can and often opens up new ideas for the business. 


The confidence built between each other is key in making the relationship work with an Assistant.  The stronger this is, the better the relationship and ultimately the business will be. 


The Umpire 


Time management is key and the Assistant that can manage complex diaries and placate people as necessary are a true asset to anyone. 


Relationship building is a key skill and rapport built up with a range of people including: potential and existing clients, service providers, suppliers, additional support teams, and the Assistant that can act as a facilitator and keep relationships warm is worth every penny. 


It is often the way that a person being supported by an Assistant can digress and the passion for what they are doing sometimes veers them off course as they get caught up in non essential tasks that truly matter. 


Upward management of the person the Assistant is supporting is essential.  Having the skill to deliver this in a way that is not bossy or impatient is crucial in getting what is needed at the right time. 


The Juggler


Whether or not you believe that multitasking is an effective use of time (more recent studies argue that multi-tasking is not cognitively efficient), a seasoned Assistant can bring significant value to a project by managing the process seamlessly.  


Through coordination of the various business streams, the Assistant facilitates and expedites the necessary processes in order to ensure everything stays on track whilst managing and motivating the team. 


This skill takes a certain amount of juggling, puzzle solving and tweaking so that each responsible person’s output is not negatively affected by others in the process and those working in all areas of the project are able to obtain the results they are tasked with at the outset. 


The Assistant acts as the glue to cement all these matters in place so that the end result is a successful project.  


The Strategist


A valued Assistant will not sit back and be told.  They weren’t brought on for that. 

They will apply their business acumen to consider, review and implement strategies across the business functions and help set goals and objectives. 


 It is often the case that an accomplished Assistant, who has many years of experience working with leaders, have the compulsion to drill down further and in more infinite detail than the person they are working with. 


They are likely to plan and strategise in more granular detail to cover the here and now (as they monitor the fire fighting tasks that have cropped up and require immediate attention) to the hourly, daily and weekly plans as well as the broader monthly, quarterly, yearly initiatives beyond that.  



Understanding the true value of an Assistant in today’s business world is essential so that businesses can set themselves apart with a seamless operational setup. 


Having the support of a proactive Assistant who applies logical business sense to a number of elements within a business allows the person they support the time to focus on core activities and matters only they can do such as Client relationships and business generation. 


What type of Assistant is best for you?


Anyone that works with someone on a one to one basis builds up a strong rapport and it has been often described that an Assistant could step into the shoes of the person they support. 


Any person that has someone on their ‘right hand’ who acts as an ambassador to them, be their second pair of eyes and ears, suggest alternatives to ensure all bases are covered and provide the reassurance they might need will undoubtedly have made one of the best investments any business person can make.  


A true Assistant can prove to be the best value to you and your business. 




If you are ready to take your business to the next level and would like to gain true value by working with an expert Assistant who has decades of experience in business strategy, project management, business support and admin, please get in touch




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