Staying Focussed On Your Virtual Assistant Business Goals – Tip 3

When you are dealing with family in the course of your workday, it is important to schedule your activities as much as possible. With small children, you must take time when you need to, but you should also work hard to make sure you dedicate a specific number of hours to your workday.

With older children, it is much easier to tell them that you will be working between the hours of x and y. Then your children, and even your friends, must understand that certain hours of your day are devoted to the activities of your business.

Staying Focussed On Your Virtual Assistant Business Goals – Tip 2

Remember that owning your own business is not the same as being employed in a job. Some people go to work and coast along, playing games or enjoying online social networking (Facebook and the like), some socialise over the kettle or printer, and others, most often those who are paid in a commission or tip environment, go to work to work to make money.

When you work for yourself, what you make in terms of income is directly proportional to your productivity. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to stay focused on getting as much done in as short of a period as possible? Go to work to work and to make money. Leave socialising for when your workday has ended.

Staying Focussed On Your Virtual Assistant Business Goals – Tip 1

As the owner of a Virtual Assistant business, you will find that hundreds of distractions that vie for your time, energy and focus. Common distractions can include children, family and friends, neighbours, pets, constant telephone calls, post and deliveries, household chores, television (Lorraine Kelly or Loose Women anyone?) and so many more.

As the owner of your own Virtual Assistant business, you must always remember your purpose in bringing your profession home. What was your reason for wanting to own your own home based business? Was your goal to work from home so that you can share more in the lives of your children? Was your goal to be out from under the rule of a dictatorial boss? Was your goal to have the freedom to work when it is convenient for you? Was your goal to reap the rewards of your efforts and make lots of money working for yourself?

Whatever your reasons for starting your VA business, here are a few tips that will help you stay focused:

Stay Focussed Tip 1

Whatever your reason for going out on your own, you must keep your reason in the forefront of your mind. If you forget your reason for starting your own Virtual Assistant business, you will not be working for yourself for long. It is far too easy to let circumstance drive you and when circumstance is in the driver’s seat, you are more likely to crash and burn.   

Creating the Right First Impression Part 2

Make Yourself Clear

Make sure you are prepared for the specific situation. If you are attending a networking group, make sure you have perfected your one minute presentation and are prepared to speak to prospects on a one-to-one basis and have a ready answer to the inevitable question ‘What do you do’. If meeting a prospect who knows a little more about you and your business, make sure you are clear on what you are offering and how your service works and be prepared to explain this in simple terms without jargon.

What Else Can You Add of Value?

When you are meeting a prospect or attending a networking event you will understandably be focused on what you can get out of the experience. But be prepared to give a little too. It could simply be making an introduction to another of your contacts that could be useful to your prospect or offering a free piece of advice or your expert opinion. Small helpful acts like this will create a great impression and ensure you are memorable to your prospect.

Do What You Say, When You Say You Will

It sounds obvious but make sure you follow up. If you have said you will send through a contact’s details, make sure you do it. If you have arranged to send through more information by the end of the day, make sure you do. Nothing will kill a relationship faster than not following up as and when you say you will.

Creating the Right First Impression Part 1

As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to create a good first impression. When you are running your own business, it’s imperative that within the first few seconds of meeting you or being introduced to your business, you create a great first impression.

In this article we’ll give you some simple tips that will have the prospects that you meet being impressed by you, liking you and, critically, wanting to do business with you.

Looking Good?

Is your blouse ironed or are your shoes in need of a polish? It may sound immaterial but in the eyes of your potential client the care you take over your appearance symbolises the level of care and attention to detail you would take over their work. If you turn up with chipped nail polish and lipstick on your teeth they may wonder if you going to send out their letters with spelling mistakes or send emails to the wrong people. Make time to check your appearance before meeting your prospects.

Oozing Confidence?

Now you’re sure you look the part you can walk into any room with your head held high and confidence intact. Arrive in plenty of time for any appointment as you don’t want to be rushed. Stand up straight and tall and look the other person in the eye when introducing yourself, and don’t forget to shake hands firmly – no-one likes a limp lettuce handshake!

Are You Interested?

As well as having the opportunity to speak about yourself and your business, it is equally important to show interest in your prospect and their business activities. You will create a great first impression if you listen carefully and ask questions. By doing this you will be able to find common points of connection as well as identify areas where you will be able to help them professionally.

Look out for part 2 of this article coming soon.

Turn Your Virtual Assistant Clients into Raving Fans!

We all hear about branding and how important it is to your business. But branding is not just about your web site or logo, it’s also about the associations your clients hold with you and your company name. The more positive that association, the more likely they may be to remain loyal to you when times get hard or competitors start knocking on their (virtual) door!

So how do you know how you are perceived by your clients and prospects and how can you set about improving or building on your brand:

What do your existing clients think of you?
The best place to start is by sending a questionnaire to your existing clients and anyone on your prospect list. It’s a good opportunity to ask for their opinion on what they like about your service and what improvements could be made. You should begin to see some similarities in the responses which will give you an idea of how your brand is perceived.

What Do They Like?
When you have identified the similarities, have a close look at what your clients and prospects love about you and your service. These are the positive aspects or your brand and are what you need to be communicating in all your marketing information.

What Weaknesses Can You See?
Some of these may be related to the industry as a whole, for example it may be that as you work remotely you can’t make the coffee ;o) However, be aware if things crop up that you can do something about. Perhaps you have missed deadlines or you are not up to speed with particular software that your clients use. Think about how you can improve on these for the future.

How Can You ‘Delight the Customer?’
Years ago I used to work for a holiday company who used the line ‘delight the customer’. The idea was that you don’t want the customer just to be satisfied with what you have produced for them. In order to get them singing your praises you really need to ‘delight’ them. So what can you do to delight your clients? Where can you add that little bit of extra value or really show some initiative? If you are seen to be going that extra mile, your clients will love you for it and that’s when they start to become your raving fans and tell everyone how great you are.

Better Than Advertising
As you can see, creating your brand or the ‘image’ for your company isn’t about expensive graphic designers or advertising experts. It’s about identifying what’s great about your business and communicating that in a clear and consistent way. If you can turn your clients into raving fans, they’ll not only stick with you through these turbulent times, they’ll also recommend others to you. Now that’s got to be better than spending a fortune on advertising!

Virtual Assistant Business Make-Over Tips

You know how it is, you’ve been in business for a few years, you’ve got a few clients on your books, but things are feeling a bit stale.

You feel that your business needs a Gok Wan style make over, but where do you start?

Virtual Assistant Business Make-Over Tip 1

If you’re not already doing it, create pre-paid packages to entice clients to pay in advance for blocks of time. They benefit from a small discount, you benefit from not having to chase overdue invoices and increased budgeting capacity.

Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business to a Higher Level – Part 3- Choosing the Right Outsourcing Company

As a small business owner it is easy to become frozen in place trying to keep up with all the day-to-day tasks associated with running your business. You cant possibly be proficient in every skill required to effectively run your business so lot of time can be taken up with trying to perform even the “smallest” of tasks. Trying to learn how to do everything can literally take hours of your week away from you. Hours better spent on developing relationships with your prospects or clients, updating your web site content, creating new products, and just being there to respond to new enquiries. Unless you are willing to give up some control, the grind of trying to do everything in your business too often takes priority over the human approach to being there for your customers. Do your initial digging online with a directory such as The UK Association of Virtual Assistants then pick up a phone and call or send email enquiries to those that appear to have the skill set you require. Make sure your questions are addressed intelligently and at a level of understanding that you feel most comfortable with. Look for a company that is interested in what goals you are trying to achieve by outsourcing and how you like to work. The conversation should be an effective two-way open communication and you should come away with a feeling of trust and confidence. By weeding out any company that is vague in their explanations of how they can achieve what you want them to do and you should easily find the best Virtual Assistant company to work with for your business needs. In Summary, don’t try to do everything yourself. You may have many fine strong points, but running your business single-handily should not be one of them. Learn when and delegating responsibility can actually make your business grow by leaps and bounds. Then find an outsourcing service you can work with – one with a complete understanding of your business and one that is proactive and willing to go the extra mile to make your business a success.

Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business to a Higher Level – Part 2 – How To Make Outsourcing Work

To make any outsourcing relationship work effectively, the business owner must be able to step back and make an honest evaluation of his or her talents. We are not all created equal. We all have different strengths. One thing is certain; to ensure business success a business owner must cultivate the ability to delegate responsibility through the use of outsourcing. That’s how a well-run, profit-pulling online business accomplishes its goals.Today’s businesses – large and small – gain immense benefits by finding other companies outside their own arena who possess the technological know how to analyse, plan, and implement target objectives. In the case of the smaller business owner finding an outsourcing service to handle tasks such as marketing, diary management, bookkeeping, and word processing is one such effective strategic move.To discuss the best way to outsource your administration tasks, why not speak to one of the professional virtual assistants listed in the UK Association of Virtual Assistants Directory.

Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business to a Higher Level – Part 1 – What Is Outsourcing and Why Should You Do It?

Today sees the first in a new 3 part series – Why Outsourcing Takes Your Business To A Higher Level.

Outsourcing is a term often used in business and it is gaining popularity on the Internet as millions of web site owners discover they do not have all the tools and skills necessary to handle each and every function necessary to the efficient running of their businesses. Unlike having to recruit, interview, and take on an employee – and thus incur the tax and NI liability of a new employee, not to mention the additional costs incurred such as holiday pay, sick pay, maternity leave, etc – savvy business owners often turn to outside companies. Outsourcing services take on the tasks underlying a business leaving the owner more free time to pursue the front-end of his or her business.Wikipedia states:”Outsourcing” involves transferring or sharing management control and/or decision-making of a business function to an outside supplier, which involves a degree of two-way information exchange, coordination and trust between the outsourcer and its client.”Doesn’t that sound like the perfect client/virtual assistant relationship? Outsourcing, therefore, becomes an integrated part of your business. The importance is to determine what should be outsourced, why it should be outsourced, and who will provide your outsourcing services. If you would like to discuss the benefits of outsourcing a whole range of administration and business support tasks, why not speak to one of the professional virtual assistants listed on the UK Association of Virtual Assistants Directory.

Internet Marketing – Getting Inbound Links, The Testimonial Way!

So we’ve already established that getting quality inbound links to your web site from industry related web sites is brilliant way to leapfrog your way up the search engines rankings. But how can you also get noticed specifically by potential clients within your target industries?

Testimonials. How does it work? Simple.

As an example lets say that you have chosen to work with aromatherapists. Have a chat with your aromatherapist client (or potential client!) and explain that you are intending to write a testimonial about them that they can add to their web site. Customer testimonials on a web site improve the credibility of any business and they will be glad to include your unsolicited one. Book yourself an aromatherapy massage and then write a testimonial saying how great the experience was. Don’t forget to include at the end of it your name, business name and WEB SITE ADDRESS. Send it in an email to your client so that they can easily cut and paste the testimonial onto their web site.

You can also ask for reciprocal testimonials. If your web site could do with a few more client testimonials, ask your clients for a reciprocal one in an “I’ll write one for you if you write one for me” fashion. If they are too busy, ask if you can write both, yours and theirs, and send them back to the client for approval before publishing “their” testimonial to your web site. This is great as you can highlight any service or industry you want to focus on within the text, and the client can just approve the content and their quote before you add it to your web site.

Inbound links to your web site keep the search engines happy and testimonials are great for establishing credibility with any potential clients visiting your web site so using testimonials for inbound links is a real win-win.

For more information, hints and tips for virtual assistants visit www.ukava.co.uk