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Not sure a VA is for you?


February 6, 2013

How to use and get the best from your VA

Are you running your own business and feeling slightly overwhelmed? You need help but can’t afford to take on staff? Hiring a VA or Virtual Assistant is the answer to your prayers…

You have the best of both worlds, someone who is on hand to help when times are busy, but who can also take a step back when things go quiet. Someone who is as committed to helping your business thrive as you are, after all they are in business themselves, and understand the challenges you face.

Should something happen unexpectedly, illness or an emergency, you always have reliable cover and this is a godsend to sole traders in particular.

So if you are already using a VA or are considering this service then here are some tips to get the best from your relationship…..

  • Make them part of your team – they are business owners too and have vast experience and knowledge that have been gained throughout their careers, so don’t be afraid to use your VA as a sounding board and involve them in your plans. The more they understand your business and become infused into your brand, the more valuable an asset they are to your business and become much more than ‘assistants’. They can sometimes help you win business or reduce costs, implement new ways of working that are less time intensive, or help you to embrace new technology to reach a wider market.
  • Keep them busy – if you’re paying for a service, make sure you get the maximum they can offer. Recognize the asset that they can be, give a certain amount of autonomy and trust, welcome constructive feedback and suggestions, it may open up ideas you have never even considered. What are all those things you really wanted to do but never got around to? Market research, book-keeping, customer surveys, updating your website, these things keep your business operating efficiently but are quite often overlooked when running a business. Using a VA can really take you to the next level.
  • Keep in regular contact – if for any reason you go for significant periods of time between commissions, keep in contact so that they are able to step in at a moment’s notice and don’t need retraining, or require lengthy updates that can be counterproductive. This is easily achieved using free resources, such as Skype/email, or by scheduling regular calls/meetings – putting them in the diary in advance
  • Find out what their niche/expertise is, find a VA that is right for your business. Every person has their own unique field of expertise gleaned from their career to date, take the time to find someone who knows your industry and has the skills to match what your business needs and it can be a match made in heaven

Before you sign up, keep a notebook/diary with the tasks that take you the longest and out-source these. It makes sense to try where possible to keep as close to what your core business is as possible without getting waylaid by day to day niggles. Getting involved in daily operating issues can mean that you lose sight of your customers, your market and the quality of what you deliver and this is dangerous in the long term. Having someone close by whom you can trust to take care of these distractions will reduce your stress levels and keep your enjoyment of your business high.

If you have not considered this service before, initially you may see it as a significant overhead, one more expense that you cannot afford. Or is it? If you examine the true cost benefit, more time to focus on business development rather than book keeping, someone to come up with new ideas and deal with day to day issues, whilst you ensure your customers are happy and cared for, which will result in repeat business, recommendations and increased income. Is it really going to cost you, or is not taking action going to cost you more?

We have a bank of highly trained and skilled VA’s working through various Industries, if you need something specific, don’t hesitate to give us a call 07928 228764 or email joanne@executivevpa.co.uk

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