Listen to Samir Patel from 12.00 min into the show.
By: Lexie Newhouse
This past week, Samir Patel joined Abhi Golhar on Biz Radio 1190 AM to share his insights on leveraging virtual assistants (AV) to grow your business; not without a shout-out to this ENI 3101 students. Patel is a West Point alumnus, veteran, and seasoned investor and entrepreneur that currently teaches ENI 3101 “Entrepreneurial Thinking For Startups” at Georgia State.
“As a business owner, you should only be doing the things that add a supreme amount of value,” said Patel. Here he illustrated the role of virtual assistants to outsource monotonous tasks, or what Patel refers to as “papercuts,” to save both time and effort. He stressed the importance of focusing on $100,000 tasks as a business owner, not $5 ones.
Patel also highlighted the difference between being “in” and “on” the business, ultimately noting the importance of not being consumed with remedial tasks within the business. By delegating those responsibilities to save time, it provides the opportunity to step outside of your business, gain perspective, and begin engaging in activities that help grow the company, like networking.
When beginning your VA search, Patel stressed the importance of proper screening. He suggested conducting technical interviews in order to gain better perspective of their work ethic and critical thinking skills. “Pretend they’re 10 years old,” Patel added, “but not because you’re trying to insult their intelligence.” This simply reminds business owners to provide their virtual assistants with clear, detailed instructions.
Although many virtual assistants are located offshore, Patel noted that it oftentimes presents no interruption as many VA’s work during the night when it’s daytime in the United States. Security was another question brought to Patel’s attention, where he suggested only providing VA’s with access to commercial work addresses, not personal email accounts.
Patel further touched on communication by encouraging the use of videos versus email messages to share instructions, noting that “90 percent of communication is nonverbal.” This ultimately allows business owners to better assert the importance of a task with body language. By building a system of effective communication, virtual assistants can better interpret and navigate unfamiliar situations. “Don’t be afraid to let them make mistakes,” Patel added. It takes time to perfect the system, but Patel asserted that it’s attainable.
Being a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and president of the West Point Alumni Association, Patel illustrated how to leverage VA’s for even the most complex of tasks, like networking. “I wouldn’t be a good president if I were just responding to emails all the time. I need to be strategizing,” said Patel. With guidance, Patel’s VA handles those connections and communications, freeing up additional time for Patel to search for new opportunities for his businesses and organizations.
Throughout his interview, Patel referenced teaching ENI 3101at Georgia State, describing the overall theme of the course as “always iterating.” “Very rarely is the first idea going to be the million-dollar idea,” said Patel. From his students to radio listeners alike, he stressed the importance of identifying problems to create solutions that save both time and effort.
To learn more about our ENI courses, visit eni.gsu.edu